The end of term beckons, and art folders are being brought proudly home from class. Add these to the paintings, crafts and drawings created at home, and you may feel that you have reached “peak paper”. Here’s what to do about it.
What to keep
We may think our little one could be the next big star of the art world, but there comes a time when we realise that we just can’t keep everything. We are parents, not the curators of a future Picasso’s early works. Be ruthless. Keep “firsts” – first painting, first drawing of a “thing”, first time they write their name – but also think about the pieces that tell a story or relate to a favourite theme.
I admit, a lot of our artwork does eventually go in the bin, but I am OK with that. As a family we are comfortable about how much we keep, and what makes us happy when we flick through our albums or walk past Mr 5’s creations on the wall. Think quality of memories here, not quantity.
10 ways to enjoy your little ones’ masterpieces!
Here are ten ideas to help you organise the artwork that you keep:
- Gallery wall: Every family home needs a gallery wall – whether it is the fridge door or a series of frames tastefully arranged up the stairs. Good old Pinterest has lots of great gallery wall ideas – pinboards, pegs on a wire, picture shelves, painted clipboards – whatever works for you. Give each child their own space and encourage them to choose what is displayed.
- Scrapbook or album: My favourite way to keep artwork is in an album. I scan artwork and photograph crafts so that I am not obliged to keep all of the originals. I’d rather keep the memories, not the clutter. Of course, some originals do make it to the album, or photos of Mr 5 holding his creation. I add photographs of his activities and adventures and journal about them, so that we have a record that grows with my son.
- Memory box: For the less creative, memory boxes are easier to keep current than albums, but are just as accessible. Filing boxes work well as you can use a hanging file for each year and then just pop the pieces in that you want to keep.
- Photobooks: Compile photobooks out of your scans and photos rather than scrapbooks and albums. Get multiple copies made to give to friends and family.
- Greetings cards: Make favourite drawings into greetings cards or even use larger pieces as one-of-a-kind giftwrap.
- Frame: Children’s artwork is usually super-colourful – just the pop of colour that you need to brighten up your home décor. My favourite is this little orange crab hand-print that brightens up our bathroom.
- Gift: Give carefully-chosen framed works of art as presents to family. Doting grandparents will always be your little artist’s first patrons!
- Collage: Cut out details of artwork and use them to make a framed collage. For example, you could cut out small heart shapes from scribbles and arrange them in a frame. Alternatively, take photos or scans of your favourite pieces, and arrange small images of these in a frame together.
- Send to family members: Mailed artwork helps grandparents to feel connected to their grandchild and keep up with progress (and it’s a sneaky way to get it out of your house!)
- Recycle: You know your little one likes to create, so try keeping a box of artwork to recycle. Help with fine motor skills by encouraging them to cut up papers, and then stick the pieces on to card to make a colourful collage.
Whatever you decide to do with your child’s work, celebrate their creativity and involve them as much as possible. Have fun!
This post was originally written for The Mothership and was published on 28 June 2016.