It is a fact that kids love art. From messy play at nursery to rainy day holiday doodles or school art projects, every piece of art your child creates is a unique expression of their creativity. Parents will of course go to great lengths to praise their little darlings for their efforts, treasuring each one like the priceless masterpiece that it is. No wonder, then, that many family homes proudly display their smallest members’ art on kitchen fridges, gallery staircases and walls all over the house.
However, there’s just one problem. The more prolific your little Picasso is with his or her paintbrush, felt tips, crayons or glitter pens, the greater the body of artwork that has to be managed. Sooner or later, there comes a point when you simply run out of space. Now what?
In this article, let’s take a look at your options of what you can do with your kids’ artwork. The aim of the exercise is for you to be able to appreciate your child’s imagination, skill and creative effort, featuring their best work for all to see, while not drowning in kids’ art stuff.
Choose a permanent place in the home where your little ones’ artwork is always displayed. Whether it takes pride of place over the mantelpiece in the sitting room, is curated into a visual feast on a gallery wall up the stairs or chosen as accents dotted around the home, select your favourite pieces and hang them up where you will enjoy them.
There are many different ways in which to display artwork, and kids’ pieces are no different. Take a look here at a myriad of options including frames, display wire, shelving and more. It’s a good idea to rotate the collection every few months to keep it fresh and interesting.
We personally recommend these 'MyLittleDavinci Picture Frames' - they look amazing on your wall and can hold about 50 different pictures, so they double up as a way to store your top pick of your child's creations.
Finally, don’t forget to let the artists themselves pick out their favourites too, and feature them on the wall of their bedroom or playroom. Or how about a cork noticeboard where well-loved pieces or recent accomplishments can be pinned up, all the while keeping physical boundaries on the volume on display?
Almost as much as children love creating art, grandparents love receiving it. Aunts and uncles too, for that matter. Paintings and drawings make perfect presents for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and every other special occasion. Set aside a collection of kids’ art for family giving and you can be certain that none of it will ever be thrown away.
For an innovative variation on the theme, why not collect the best 12 pictures of the year and have them made into a calendar? Online print suppliers make wall calendar printing super easy and affordable.
Of course, you can also have your children’s art pieces turned into Christmas cards or other greeting cards. Or why not save money on gift wrap by using artwork as wrapping paper for the next kids birthday party?
Sadly (or perhaps fortunately?), you can’t possibly display all your children’s paintings, drawings and collages. Inevitably, only a small fraction can ever be on show; most pieces will end up safely stored away.
The best way to preserve your kids’ keepsakes is to invest in a few large storage boxes that can then be stowed in a cupboard, in the garage or in the loft. Cardboard boxes, however sturdy, are a false economy for long-term storage. If you want to keep your kids’ mementoes in good condition for many years to come, so that you can walk down memory lane when they’re all grown up, go for plastic boxes or crates - here’s a great selection.
Label the contents of each box, and write down the date of creation and your child’s age on the back of each piece of artwork - trust me, you won’t remember when they painted it otherwise.
Finally, you can also take photos of each piece, throw away the original and store the digital copy on your hard drive, on a CD or in the cloud with apps such as this one. That way, you eliminate the physical clutter while preserving the entire childhood oeuvre.
If you are a devoted parent, it may come as a shock to you to hear that it is totally OK to throw away your kids’ artwork. Not all of it, obviously, but probably the vast majority of their output. Children have no shortage of inspiration and creativity, and a lot of their art is born out of the enjoyable process of creating rather than for the result. There’s really no need to feel guilty about not wanting to keep every piece of paper they’ve doodled on. You are allowed to declutter.
Teach your kids the value of editing and decluttering by taking a critical eye to their output. Get your little ones involved in deciding which ones to keep, which ones to display and which ones to let go. That way, you will be teaching them the value of giving favourite items a specific place of honour, and that it is a really good discipline not to hoard.
Once you’ve gone through the decision-making process, put the reject pile in the recycling together, and don’t give it another thought. Tomorrow is another day to create more art.