Our kids are usually pretty clear about what they want for their big gifts for Christmas, so I often have the most fun thinking about those smaller gifts that are total surprises for our kids. So, we wanted to share one of our favorite affordable gifts our kids actually love: custom photo memory games from our super cool partner, Pinhole Press.

– Don’t miss a special¬†discount from Pinhole Press for our¬†readers below –

In fact, we shared this idea¬†last year and our readers totally went nuts for it. So we’re thrilled to have such a wonderful sponsor that we know you all like too! In fact, we thought we’d take last year’s custom memory game gift suggestion one step further, and come up with some¬†creative twists on how to make this sweet, affordable, personalized gift something even more special for your kids.

Affordable Christmas gift idea: A custom memory game from Pinhole Press. So much fun for your kids.

Custom photo memory games from Pinhole Press make great Christmas gifts for your kids.

It’s really just a matter of uploading 12 of your favorite photos (you can even do it right from Facebook or Instagram) and letting Pinhole Press do the rest. You can even pick from some really cool back designs, from graphic black and white to pink ombre to robots. And while sure,¬†pictures of family and pets are totally wonderful on the front, if you want to get creative, check out these 6 ideas I put together for you all. I’m so happy with how they all turned out!

And, more importantly, so are¬†my kids. Could a few moments of quiet play be in the cards (ha) for us this holiday season? Here’s hoping.


Use funny photo-booth props

Use photos of your kids with wacky photo booth props for a custom memory game gift they'll love.

Have a photo booth party at home with the kids and take their pictures to use as¬†your memory¬†game photos. (Of course, we’d¬†keep our reason for the party a secret.) You can find¬†photo booth props at your local party store, or print cute,¬†free photo booth printables like these that I found from Oh Happy Day.

My tip: just make sure each child is represented equally among the 12 photos you get to use. Because¬†they will notice if they’re not. Big time.


Show off your kids’ amazing art

Custom photo memory game ideas: Use your children's original art like this one from Kristen's 11 year old! | Photo © Kristen Chase for Cool Mom Picks

We are¬†big fans of preserving¬†all our kids’ artwork — digitally, that is, to cut down on clutter and make sure those masterpieces live forever. Using their work¬†as the focus¬†for their own personal memory game is a great way to celebrate their creativity and will make your kids feel so amazing. So, whether your child loves to paint, makes anime drawings¬†like Kristen’s daughter above, or is a whiz with LEGO creations, take 12 photos of their best work and create a game they’ll be proud to play for a long time.


Photograph your kids’ favorite loveys

A custom memory game your kids will love: one that features their favorite loveys.

While your kids are taking a nap or out at school, borrow their loveys for a quick photo session, whether it’s a favorite doll, stuffed animal, or just a torn piece of blanket. I¬†found that some stuffed animals look great¬†laying flat, but others work much better sitting up, so prop them that way as if¬†you’re taking their portrait. I’d suggest just playing¬†around with them to¬†see what looks best — then be sure to smuggle¬†them back to the kids’¬†rooms before they wake up.

It’s no surprise that this version was my own¬†kids’ favorite, since they love their¬†toys¬†so very much. And now the memory game cards will be a really fun keepsake when they’re older and have (mostly) forgotten about these little guys. Maybe I’ll even frame them. Sniff.


Celebrate your holiday traditions

Custom photo memory game idea: Use images from your kids' favorite holiday movies! | Cool Mom Picks

Create a custom game that captures everything your family finds really special about the holidays. Maybe it’s all the dreidels your grandma pulls out every December;¬†vintage ornaments that have been handed down for generations; CD covers from your tried-and-true Christmas albums; or photos of the characters from your kids’ favorite holiday movies, like shown above.

Who knows, maybe playing this memory game together will become the new family tradition you love.


Highlight books your kids read over and over again

Celebrate your child who loves to read with a custom memory game featuring their favorite book covers.

My¬†kids love to read. And I¬†love that they love to read. So we’re all loving this version of the game that includes all¬†their favorite book covers. You can grab your camera and take shots from the books on your own shelves, or just browse online and right-click on the book covers you want to¬†save straight to your desktop (for your own personal use only, of course), to¬†make it a little easier. The result is so graphic and amazing!


Document your kids’ collections

Focus on what your child collects for a fun, custom memory game gift this year.

Custom memory games from Pinhole Press: one of our favorite classic games, now even more memorable.

Maybe¬†your child¬†has the world’s largest LEGO¬†minifig¬†collection, Beanie Boos up the whazoo, more sports trophies than LeBron James, dolls from around the world,¬†or dozens of backpack keychains and charms. Whatever it is they collect, they’ll love seeing it all¬†on a custom memory¬†game this holiday.

As for me,¬†I¬†set up my¬†kids’ action figures on the table, then used an¬†iPhone to take close up pictures. It helps if you tap the screen to focus on each subject,¬†to keep¬† blurry pictures to a minimum.¬†As you can tell, my son is totally in love with this idea. And so am I.


Thanks to our very cool sponsor Pinhole Press for making the most wonderful custom photo gifts like these photo memory games that make the holidays affordable and special. 

Special offer for Cool Mom Picks readers: Use the promo code COOLMOM for $5 off your custom photo memory game at Pinhole Press now through November 25, 2015. Your kids will be thrilled!