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Creative Ideas for Capturing Baby’s Milestones

If you’re a frequent visitor to these parts (thanks!), you probably know by now that I am a HUGE lover of creating keepsakes for my son.  As my Project Gallery shows, I am a keepsake junkie, for real.

They are such nice ways to not only capture all those milestones, but also (and probably more importantly) to remember those special moments from your little one’s first days, months, and years.

Because time goes by way too fast, I want to try and document my baby’s early days before they’re gone for good. Keep reading to see of my favorite creations that anyone can do for their own little one!

Creative Ideas for Capturing Baby's Milestones | Where The Smiles Have Been


Creative Ideas for Capturing Baby’s Milestones

Like I mentioned, my Project Gallery is filled with all kinds of crafty creations, and a good chunk of them are keepsakes for my son, who is now three.  I also just had my second son last week (!!!), so the keepsakes are already starting with him too….ya know, whatever you do with the first, you gotta do with the second. ;)

Here’s a collection of some of my favorites that I’ve shared so far.  They cover a wide variety of time frames, seasons, special events, or other fun moments that I want to cherish forever:

  • Newborn Stats & Memories
  • The First Year
  • First Birthday
  • Holidays
  • School Fun
  • Other Major Firsts


Newborn Stats & Memories


This was one of the very first keepsakes I made for Rowan so it holds a special place in my heart.  I mean, when talking about baby milestones, what’s bigger than their day of birth??

I created this canvas that displays all of his newborn stats, including his newborn print from the hospital (more on this below).  It featured coordinating colors from his nursery (before we moved), and I love being able to see all the details from his day of birth in one colorful piece of art.

After all, he is what made me a mom, so this day is extra special for me too. *heart melts*

Newborn Stats Canvas



I like to collect Christmas ornaments, not only from vacations we take, but also for other special moments that happen during the year.  They’re so fun to unbox each December, display on our tree, and reminisce over, especially personalized ones.  Ahhhh, memories….

That means I of course had to include an ornament with Rowan’s birthday info!

(This is where I purchased it as well as another ornament in 2016 when my younger son was born.)

What a great way to preserve a Christmas memory! 21 Christmas Keepsakes for Kids! | Where The Smiles Have Been



Like I mentioned above, I included Rowan’s newborn footprint on his newborn stats canvas.  I did this by creating a digital file of his little tootsy then cutting it out of vinyl.  It turned out so cute that I also cut out a separate vinyl decal and have it displayed in my craft room.

Soon I’ll be doing the same for my second son and plan on creating another special keepsake that includes both of my boys’ very first footprints.  They’re just soooo tiny and adorable….and get bigger way too fast.

Newborn Footprint Vinyl Decal


The First Year


One of my favorite keepsakes that I’ve made for Rowan so far is this collection of monthly photos. Not only does it include monthly pictures that show his growth and development throughout his first year (so cute!), but it also includes other stats, milestones, and fun little tidbits that I probably would have forgotten all about had I not mentioned them here.

Baby Monthly Photos with Stats



Another little fun keepsake idea is this quarterly photo collection of Rowan.  I dressed him in the same footie jammies for all four snapshots (and they were size 9 months….he’s a big fella!), that way we could clearly document his growth, development, and changing facial features and hair from his first year.

This is an easier (but just as adorable) way to capture your baby’s first year than doing the monthly photos.

Baby Monthly Photos



Dabbling in Photoshop is one of my hobbies, so I threw together this first year infographic for Rowan.  It’s a different (cheeky) take on the milestones and other fun things that happened during his first year.

First Birthday Infographic



Of course most people create a baby book for their little one, and we did that too for Rowan.  However, I also put together this ‘Year of Firsts’ photo keepsake.  It features photos of Rowan’s major and not-so-major milestones that were reached during his first year.

This is a smaller, no frills version of his baby book that I occasionally flip through….and get all emotional over how fast my little man is growing up.

Year of Firsts Photo Keepsake for Baby


Here are some of the items that are included:

Year of FirstsYear of Firsts Baby Photo Keepsake




Rowan’s first Christmas occurred when he was just six months old, and since I’m a lover of baby foot/handprints, we headed to a local paint-your-own-pottery place and created some keepsake plates!  We kept one and gifted the other two to the grandmas.

This is such a cute item to display on our mantel each holiday season and remember Rowan’s first Christmas.




Oh look, another footprint idea! :)

We also created some footprint ornaments for Rowan’s first Christmas, once again keeping one for ourselves and giving one to the grandmas to hang on their trees. I just used some oven-bake clay.

What a great way to preserve a Christmas memory! 21 Christmas Keepsakes for Kids! | Where The Smiles Have Been



And looky here, another personalized Christmas ornament! :)

When we took a trip to visit my in-laws in Maine when Rowan was 15-months-old, I scooped up some sand and brought it home to create this floating photo ornament.  This was not only his first trip to the beach, but it was also several other firsts for him: the first time he flew on an airplane, the first time he stayed in a hotel, and the first time he met his Uncle Tommy.

I think it’s such a cute keepsake and I LOVE seeing it hang on our tree each holiday season.  This idea is also easily customizable for lots of other milestones, not just a first trip to the beach.

How to Make a Floating Photo Ornament: Baby's First Trip to the Beach!


Here’s a second version I made for my younger son’s first trip to the beach!

First Trip to the Beach Ornament with a Floating Photo, Sand, & Shells! | Where The Smiles Have Been #Christmas #ornament #beach #FirstTripToTheBeach #keepsake #vacation #ParentingTip #HolidayDecoration #ChristmasTree #DIY #PhotoOrnament



For 21 cute Christmas keepsake ideas for kids, make sure you check out this collection too!

What a great way to preserve a Christmas memory! 21 Christmas Keepsakes for Kids! | Where The Smiles Have Been



Other holidays make for great keepsake opportunities as well!

I love Halloween and all things fall, so for Rowan’s milestone of his first year trick-or-treating, we created this adorable ghost footprint (yes, footprint again!) craft.

Halloween Footprint Craft: A Ghostly Keepsake! | Where The Smiles Have Been



Few things are cuter than babies and toddlers all dressed up, so I made this photo frame that displays all of Rowan’s yearly Halloween costumes.

We pull this out each fall with the rest of our Halloween decorations, and I just love looking back at each of his costumes, and how he’s grown from year to year.

DIY Yearly Halloween Costume Photo Frame | Where The Smiles Have Been #Halloween #costume #HalloweenCostume #keepsake #DIY


School Fun


Starting school is also a huge milestone!

Last year, Rowan started preschool (really it’s just a Mother’s Morning Out program), so I whipped up a yearly back-to-school shirt for him to wear as a photo prop each year.  It features his projected graduation year on the front, and on the back we add his handprint before he starts each grade.

Once again, it’s a great way to document this milestone, and it’s already been so fun to see how he grows and changes each year.  Plus, this will make an adorable decoration at his high school graduation party!

DIY Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been #school #backtoschool #backtoschoolshirt #graduation #gradparty #keepsake #handprints



Each fall, your Facebook newsfeed is probably filled with photos of all your family, friends, and neighbors showing off photos of their kiddos’ first day of school.  I of course had to get in on the fun when Rowan started school, and since I LOVE creating chalkboard posters, I threw one together for his big first school day.

DIY First Day of School Chalkboard Sign Photo Prop | Where The Smiles Have Been


You can snag these FREE first day of school sign printables too!

FREE First Day of School Sign Printables - THREE Color Versions! | Where The Smiles Have Been #firstdayofschool #firstdayofschoolsign #backtoschool #free #freeprintable


First Birthday

Ahhhh, the first birthday.  Now that’s one milestone every baby should reach.  I think most people do the whole first birthday party with a smash cake and professional photos, so I’ll skip over the ones we did for Rowan.

However, here are some other creative keepsake ideas I made for Rowan’s first birthday!



I jumped on the growth chart ruler bandwagon and created this family version that features all three of us, and we’ll soon be adding our newest little man.  It’ll document the boys’ birthday heights as well as their pictures at each age, and Mom and Dad are there at the top too.

{If you’d like to make your own family growth chart ruler like this, you can grab the FREE cut file I used!}

Family Growth Chart Ruler Updated with Yearly Photos! | Where The Smiles Have Been



Like growth chart rulers, birthday chalkboard posters are also hugely popular now!  They make for a great piece of decor for the party and also a special keepsake to hang in the nursery or stick away in the baby book.

Here’s the one I threw together for Rowan’s first birthday.  I love seeing all the little things that made him…him…when he turned the big ONE!

First Birthday Chalkboard Poster


I also made a birthday chalkboard poster for my niece, this one being Alice in Wonderland-themed.

Classic Alice in Wonderland First Birthday Chalkboard Poster



For Rowan’s first birthday, we also started a fun tradition where he “paints” a colorful canvas that features his birthday age.  It’s been fun to see how his artistic ability changes with each passing year, and the canvases look adorable hanging in his room.

First Birthday Art Canvas


Other Major Firsts


Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, I made some DIY photo magnets for us as well as for the grandparents and great-grandparents.  That way, whenever the fridge gets raided, Rowan’s cute little face and milestones are always on full display.

Milestones included here are first swim lesson, first outing, and first time playing in the snow.  All are 100% adorable. :)

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!



Of course, the requisite baby book.  ‘Nuff said.  As you can see, Rowan’s is jam-packed with memories.

Newborn Footprint



Now here’s a big milestone for any kid to reach….becoming an older sibling!  For our pregnancy announcement for Baby #2, we let Rowan tell all our friends and family the happy news with this sibling pregnancy chalkboard.  It was the perfect way to announce that our family was expanding, and Rowan looked so proud already.

Sibling Pregnancy Announcement Chalkboard Sign | Where The Smiles Have Been


Thanks so much for stopping by!

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