At this point in the school year, we have amassed what I like to refer to as “Artwork Mountain”. It’s once again time for us to tackle and sort the pile. I have to admit I would LOVE to pick up the pile, place it in the recycle bin and be done with it. But, my kids seem to get upset and are very opposed to this approach! Go figure! However, at the end of the day we can’t keep or display every piece of artwork that they make, so we have to be selective in what we save and store. Here are a few tips for displaying and organizing kids’ artwork.
The Selection Process
It’s particularly important to involve older kids in the process of sorting and selecting what artwork they would like to display, save or giveaway. They may have an attachment to something that we may not have anticipated and we might want to keep something that our children might not find as meaningful. Some of my favorite keepsakes have been drawings and pieces of my children’s writing. I love their invented spellings and their imaginative stories always amaze me.
You may also want to select some projects that can be given to grandparents or other loved ones. Some of the artwork might be great to repurpose into cards or gift labels. And some of the materials (such as beads) may be reused and transformed into different creations. Once, we’ve gone through all of the artwork and it hasn’t been deemed fit to display, giveaway or turn into a new creation it goes into the recycle bin. By this time the kids just want to be done with the process and are okay to part with the item.
Displaying Kids’ Artwork
It can be helpful to designate some areas in your home to display your child’s artwork. In our family, we display artwork in a number of places throughout the house. The “stars” make it onto our photo wall in the family room. I use clear plastic frames that are easy to change the artwork out and that can be turned either horizontally or vertically.
We’ve also installed four magnetic strips in a hallway off the kitchen to display artwork and have hung bulletin boards in the play area in the basement and in the kids’ bedrooms so they have even more spots to display their masterpieces. There are a number of creative ways kids’ artwork can be displayed and incorporated into the décor of your home.
Storing Kids’ Artwork
Once the artwork has been displayed and exhibited we go through another sorting process of deciding what’s worth storing. I have a box set aside for each kid where we keep saved artwork. Everything they want to keep has to fit into that box. If you look at it, it’s really not that big of a box; but we’ve somehow managed to contain everything in it, so far.
Once a year, usually in the summer, I have the kids go through the box and see if there’s anything else we can get rid of. I don’t even look through the box, it’s a chore I let the kids do on their own, and am usually surprised by what they’re willing to give up.
Of course, we do want to keep some hard copies of our children’s artwork, but the sorting, displays and boxes take time to organize. So, I’ve also been experimenting with some time-saving ideas for creative solutions using technology, too. There are several apps that help you to organize artwork by tagging, storing and allowing you to share the image of your child’s work. Another solution is to simply take a photo of the artwork and store it with the rest of your photos. Once you have saved the image digitally it’s easy to turn into books, gifts or other keepsakes. The sky is the limit!
Our kids’ school participates in a couple of on-line retail shops, where parents can purchase items with their kids’ artwork on it and then part of the proceeds goes back to the art department. I’ve purchased a necklace and jewelry box for myself and potholders, mugs and other items for grandparents.
There are so many creative ideas for managing, sharing and storing the artifacts of childhood. If we take the initiative to organize and save some of our favorites, it might make it easier for us to hold to on to some memories to savor as our children grow up.
What are your tips for displaying and preserving your kiddo’s artwork? Let us know in the comment section below!