Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Do You Do With Your Children's Art?

Question from a reader...

I wanted to tell you that I loved your artistic endeavor with turkey textures. If you were not an art major in college you should have been! Can I ask, though, what do you do with all of your kids' artwork when you are finished with it? That has been a big problem for me. My kids (especially the girls) want to keep everything they create and have a hard time letting things go. Sometimes it is the "clutter potential" that keeps me from doing more creative things with them. I was just wondering if you had any helpful hints or solutions. I have thought about getting them each a small plastic storage box and telling them that they can keep only what the bin will hold; I just dread the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will come when the lid won't close and a clean out is needed...

My
answer...

I can relate to your concerns, but even if I did not craft with my children, I would still have this problem because they spontaneously craft by themselves ALL THE TIME. So, I didn't have a choice and thought I might as well join in on the fun. Besides, though I was not an art major, I have always loved art.

The crafts we do together usually end up on display somewhere in the house. The turkeys are on the boys' bedroom doors right now. When we do a Christmas craft to replace them I will put their turkeys in their bins. Each boy has a bin and only the best of the best goes in the bin. (approx 12" by 12" by 3") I do quite a bit of after-bedtime throwing away of pictures and crafts I find lying around. I have also been known to thin what the boys thought belonged in their bins. (Sshhh...don't tell them.)

At the end of the school year, the bins are sealed and labeled (e.g. Alexander/Kindergarten) and put into storage. I hope my boys will enjoy them some day when they are grown. My own mother kept all of our best artwork from childhood and I have enjoyed looking at the stick people I drew at 3 years old! One of my brothers has a first communion card that one of my sisters made for him many, many years ago on his fridge. It reads: "Happy First Comunction." So sweet. Another sister of mine framed some of her own childhood artwork and used it in decorating her children's rooms. It looks great!

I would encourage you not to let concerns of storage and clean up get in the way of building lasting memories of family art time for you and your children. Children benefit in so many ways from working with various artistic media. Also, they experience satisfaction and joy from the creative process and from self expression. I think children benefit from this emotionally almost as much as they do from reading children's literature. Go for it! You won't regret it.

9 comments:

Jennie C. said...

Thanks...I have this issue, too, and in an effort to GET OVER IT, I have purchased a family Christmas Gift. A six drawer wooden storage cart, watercolors for each of the kids and myself from the art department (not the kiddie craft section), a pad of watercolor paper for each, some nice brushes, and a vinyl tablecloth to protect the furniture while they are working. It will live in the kitchen, and it comes with perpetual permission to use it whenever one should feel like it. I hope we have a more artistic new year!

Michelle said...

My kids are great with scrap paper and markers, crayons, and colored pencils. I have seen Batman evolve from a scribble to a muscular hero in an action shot. I have no desire to keep 1000 Batmans though, so I scan them and store them on the computer.

I print out their stored images to use for friends' birthday cards or letters to Grandparents. I do save some originals - the really best ones - but it is limited.

Suzanne Temple said...

That sounds great Jenny C. and what a good practical idea, michelle. I should probably do the same.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

You could also keep the pictures in files with the kids own names on it and buy the kids their own scrapbook binders, too. Then, give them their file and let them create their own memory book of their art.

I hope to do this...

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

You could also keep the pictures in files with the kids own names on it and buy the kids their own scrapbook binders, too. Then, give them their file and let them create their own memory book of their art.

I hope to do this...

Lucy said...

One of my husband's best ideas ever was to scan the kids' artwork. And then use them as a random screen-saver!

Mary said...

Seasonally, (or when I think it is time to get rid of old crafts to make room for the new)I gather the children in front of the wall where most of their art is displayed and take a picture. It is just not possible to keep all these lovely works of art, so I select the best to keep and say so-long to the rest. The only problem with this is that my four year old dd has now associated these picture taking sessions with the disposal of her beloved works of art, and is often seen pouting in these pictures!

Suzanne G said...

I posted about this here:
http://houseofgallus.typepad.com/cedarsandroses/2006/10/artwork.html

I have gleaned so much from other blogs about arts & crafts....it's helped a lot to read everyone's suggestions, ideas, etc.

Suzanne Temple said...

That's funny, mary. The Pavlov concept at work!