Do you remember the first time your child drew something even remotely resembling something?
I bet nobody else had any idea what it was but you and your child. It was a fun little milestone wasn’t it? Fast forward three years and the stuff is taking over your house.
I do my best to sort through the “art,” but two Home Depot bins later and I am running out of space and excuses for “lost” “art." I mean, really, are we supposed to keep every last piece?
Finally I hit my limit and started going through all of the “art” when the kids were at school. Don’t judge me -- but I threw away the things that weren’t memorable.
Yes, I threw them away. And I feel better just admitting it.
I was caught only once, and my appalled response at the mere notion that a piece of my child’s art could end up in the trash can was positively Oscar-worthy. Next time, I buried the discarded item under things I was sure no child would rummage through. Then I started to think about all of the art work I did save and did cherish. I could just leave it in those huge child-sized bins or I could get creative and have some fun with it.
My first idea was to take all of those rectangular-shaped masterpieces (this seems to be a favorite shape in the art teacher world), laminate them and use them for placemats. The kids went wild for this. My daughter did monthly calendars this year in school and I have to say I really liked them all. I also fell in love with the self-portraits and family pictures.
That’s a lot of placemats you say? Guess what is going on the family trip this July? Kid-made placemats for Grandma and Grandpa!
Then there are the pieces that are just too precious to eat on. Frame it! I got this idea from a picture my older brother did when he was maybe 8 years-old. It was of my dad, and it was hilarious. My parents found it well into his adult years, framed it and hung it in my dad’s office. Everyone loved it, especially my dad and my brother. After my dad’s death, my mom shipped it to my brother where it lives on.
I have seen people use box frames, handmade frames and even very elegant frames to take a cherished piece of art from a child to another level. I framed a self-portrait my daughter did this year that was just too precious to keep in a bin.
That’s a lot of frames you say? Guess what is going on the family trip this Jul? Framed kid-created art for Auntie Sue and Uncle Tom!
And for you tech savvy parents you can always take a picture of said art and upload it to Snapfish or Shutterfly and then you can share the albums a couple times a year with family. You can also make albums in Flickr and Facebook (which is what I used for a while). A really cool place I found is www.diy.org. This is a place for kids to collect and share all the things they create.
Lastly, I stumbled upon two really amazing websites that take your child’s art to a whole new level. Childsown.com and formiadesign.com are really worth looking into. They both can take your child’s art and turn it into a lasting keepsake. Childsown can take a picture and make it into a “softie,” which is their version of a stuffed animal. Formiadesign can take a child’s drawing and turn it into jewelry.
I saw so very cute sketches by obviously young kids and the designer turned them into gold or silver key chains. Now that’s a piece of your child’s art that wont be forgotten.
Now that I have inspired myself to get in gear and sort, toss and create with my kids' artwork, my house will be a place of Zen and not a place of clutter.