It’s certainly taken me long enough, but I’m finally learning that I will get out of the house and to the shore much more quickly if I delegate the boys’ own packing duties to them. However, I also know that if I give them an instruction such as “pack a bag for the weekend,” what they will bring with them is a pair of shorts, a crumpled up t-shirt or two, and thirty pokemon plushies.
Yes, they do need a little guidance in determining what goes in the bag. What is appropriate for a last-minute sleepover at Grandma’s house doesn’t really cut it for four days on the beach, where the temperatures can range from “dang hot” to “Mom, did you pack me a sweatshirt?”
I’ve made them graphical checklists before, but this time I decided I wanted something that I could easily change in the future, if our needs changed. And I wanted something I could share here, something that might work for some of your families as well.
I started by making some doodles and then scanning them into Photoshop. I then added color to the images, and built an easily-editable multi-layer printable checklist.
The boys loved them and, more importantly, everything that they packed was exactly what we needed for the trip. Yay!
The beauty of this checklist is that it is completely editable, if you know Photoshop and are comfortable manipulating layers. Both of the checklists above were generated from the same image file, except that one of them is more boyish, and the other is more girly. To switch between the two versions, it’s a matter of hiding some layers and making others visible.
How does it work? Well, the checklist is really a multi-layer Photoshop image. There’s a Background layer, which is simply white. There’s the check boxes layer, which (you guessed it) is just a series of twelve boxes. You shouldn’t need to modify either of those.
The customization is handled through the two layer groups: drawings and text.
Say you loaded the image above into Photoshop, but you understandably didn’t want your son to bring two skirts with him to the beach. You would open up the drawings layer group, and hide the skirts layer. Then you’d make the long pants layer visible in its place. You’d also want to do the same with the skirts and pants wording within the text layer group.
You can hide any of the drawings and any of the text you wish. You can also change the wording on the text (want him to pack four t-shirts instead of three?). You can move things around. You can scan your own drawings in for things I may not have thought of. Really, there are so many ways to customize the list to fit your own situation, if you’re willing to play around with it.
The Beach Getaway Printable is downloadable below. (There is a suggested donation of 99 cents, but if you click the link for more information, there is an option to get it for free.)
You don’t need to own a copy of Photoshop in order to play with this checklist! Any photo-editing program that reads .psd files and can manipulate layers should work. Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro (a favorite of mine) will definitely work, and I think Gimp probably does, too. You can google it to find others.
I recommend making your changes on a duplicate of the original file, particularly if you’re not entirely comfortable yet playing with layers.
Don’t want to mess with image editing? I also included a couple of ready-made sample .pdf checklists that you can use as-is.