At the beginning of the school year, our toddlers started attending a new preschool. I really like their school. Everyone is really kind and the boys love going. But what I don’t like is the massive amount of cute artwork that comes home. If it was ugly coloring sheets, I could easily toss them in the trash can. But no… that would be TOO easy. Obviously, the art teacher is obsessed (like the rest of us) with Pinterest — the stuff that comes home is just too cute to throw away.
What do you do with your kid’s artwork? I can’t tell you how many times one of our four kids has thrown a fit when they’ve found something they created in the trash can. Having two older kids, we learned the importance of keeping some artwork, trashing some of it (because, wow – – these projects add up!), finding creative ways to make sure the art lives on, as well as deciding what to keep and what to trash.
Here are 5 tips that will hopefully help you when deciding what to do with your kid’s works of art.
1. Digitize it.
Simple and easy, take a photo of your kid’s artwork and it’s saved forever, digitally. We love the ArtKive app — a free app that lets you save your little one’s artwork in photos, then create a book of the artwork.
Don’t want to use an app? Upload your photos to a service like Google+ or Flickr.
2. Hang it.
I sort through the boys’ backpack and any art piece we find that’s cute, we immediately hang. Find a spot to hang your favorite pieces. Our art wall is in the laundry room. As much as I would love to say they are cutely hung, the “cute” is really just a push pin holding them up. Regardless, the boys love seeing their art on the wall.
3. Mail it.
As the art wall becomes full, there will come a point when you need to remove some of the art and do something with it. How much do you LOVE this art piece? Yes, it’s cute… but think about how many pieces you already have stored and then think about how many more years of your kid’s art you will be saving.
Let’s say you’ve digitized but you still just can’t put it in the trash… here’s my suggestion: Give artwork you don’t want to store to relatives! Grandparents love kid art! Actually, most relatives would love to receive your kid’s latest painting or the construction paper caterpillar that you are having a hard time parting with. Fold it up, give the envelope to your child to decorate and send to Granny!
4. Toss it.
Not everything can or should be saved. Coloring pages, workbook sheets — trash them. My rule of thumb is that if it’s highly creative, a first (like first self portrait) or contains personalization (those hand print art projects get me EVERY TIME), I keep. Most other stuff, I try to toss or give away.
5. Find a bin.
I store all of my kids’ artwork in bins. But I have read suggestions of putting them in portfolios. Yeah, I am REALLY not that organized. (Though, I am sure that would be the best way to store!)
We have a 10-year-old with a giant bin of her preschool artwork. Last year, we moved and stumbled across the bin. Even though her art was STUFFED into the bin, it was all fine — eight years later. She loved going through the art, and though I am pretty sure that my husband rolled his eyes at how much I have saved over the years, watching our daughter’s reaction to pulling out old artwork reassured my decision for keeping so much stuff.
How do you store your kid’s artwork?
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