My kids bring home so many treasures each and every day. Secretly tucked in their pockets may be a magic rock that can transport them to a new kingdom. This rock is otherwise known as a piece of gravel. Sometimes it’s also known as the slice of currency from the “find it and sell it shop” on the playground. This is recognized to the naked eye as mulch by adults. The biggest truly heartwarming treasures that they bring home is their art. I will admit that there are some pieces that I never want to let go of. There are others I try to slip into the recycling bin before my pack rats see it and save it forever. The struggle is real, along with the guilt. But, what should I do with my kids’ artwork?
Here are a few suggestions on how you can honor, display, save or repurpose your kids’ art.
1. Frame it!
Way before I had kids I remember going to an acquaintance’s house and all over her dining room were framed art from her kids. It brought so many bright colors to the room and it filled it with joy. I remember thinking to myself, someday when I have kids I will do that. In truth, I haven’t yet! It is on my summer project list.
I plan to go to Michaels with their weekly coupon in hand and check out the frames. If I can mix a couple of nicer large frames with mats, I believe that I could make a stop at the Dollar Store next and purchase a handful of 8 x 10 frames. I like the black framed look and I think it will be a great way to display some of the most precious and interesting pieces of art. I plan to change the pictures every six months, so that new pieces are on display and that will minimize my need to do something with them all the time.
There are some pretty cool, however a little more of an investment, frames that will open from the front and you can change the images more often. The easy change artwork frame comes in various sizes and could also be a great options to display the best of your child’s art.
2. Take pictures and make it into an art book
Another great option is to use your cell phones for memory making. Take pictures of your child’s art when it arrives home. If you are very organized, you can upload them to album on your computer or a web based site such as Shutterfly or Facebook. That way when the end of the school year occurs or maybe even just the end of the real year, you can easily put them into a book. You can create a memory book full of your child’s art for every year of elementary school. If this is your keepsake of choice, you can include a picture of your child’s report card, field trip and other important moments throughout the year.
There are so many apps and websites that will allow you to easily uploads photos and organize them in any way that you like in a perfect book keepsake. Shutterfly has certainly gotten the most press in my world and they usually have good discounts for your purchases. Snapfish, mpix or Mixbook are good options as well. If you are a phone based creator, which is usually my preference, you may want to check out these apps: Chatbooks, FreePrints Photobooks or Simple Prints Photo Books. All of these options allow you to upload directly from your phone but are very simplistic in the format which can be ideal for kid art.
3. Hang it for a while and then save the best ones
Ikea has these great wire curtain rails that we use to display our kids art. Each one of the girls has a wire, and we hang their most precious pieces of work on there until I get around to look through them and save the best ones.
Tucked in a closet, I have two plastic storage boxes, one for each child with their school work. I keep the best of the best. First writing journals, best pieces of art and anything else that seems to be special or indicative of the year’s learning. The rest I recycle. This system works really well for us because their work gets shared and shown. Then, later on I can discern which are the real keepers (more on this in #5.)
4. Make it into something else
This once again requires you to take pictures of your child’s art and upload it to an outside service. There are SO many very cool options! If your child can handle picking their top 10 favorites, ask them to do it or pick your favorites. Then make their art into a lifelong keepsake!
You can make it into practically anything such as a quilt, pillow case, or mugs! The grandparents in our life would love any of these as a gift. This year my goal is to make my kids art into 20 x 30 collage posters. Then I will frame them and use to decorate the playroom. Once the playroom becomes a guest room, the posters will remain as whimsical wall art.
5. Throw it out
There is a LOT of art that arrives at my house. I can’t possibly keep it all. I just can’t.
When my husband and I first got married, both of sets of our parents wouldarrive to our new tiny home with boxes filled of our childhood things. Most of which we gave away or threw out. Then another wave of childhood memories arrived when we had our kids. It was just overwhelming.
So, the art that isn’t special, the coloring in the afterschool club. Or the tiny scraps of cut paper from the moment they learn to use scissors, I let it go.
Recycle. Save the earth for our children’s children.