Saving your kids' art
As a mom of four school-age kids I’m finding it necessary to put some thought into how I manage and store the abundance of kid-made goodness that is starting to accumulate in our life.
My husband and I encourage creativity at home and so our children’s art table is often overflowing, and our kids come home from school daily with unique and special projects, crafts and writing that they (and we as parents) are proud of.
Kids can get upset if we toss their projects, and we may experience some feelings of guilt in the process. But the reality is that we can’t keep and display everything!
However, we can be intentional and creative as we select, display, save and store our children’s hand-made goods. Here’s how:
Select the best
We can involve our children in the process of selecting which projects to save and display.
Our kids 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 the ideas they express from their perspectives as young children.
You may want to select some projects to keep at home and others to give to grandparents or other loved ones.
Some projects 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.
Display, but minimize clutter
It can be helpful to designate some areas in your home to temporarily display your child’s work.
In our family, we display the overflow of projects from our refrigerator on the inside doors of our kitchen cabinets, which keeps a feeling of tidiness while still presenting a lot of surface area for display.
You may want to purchase some inexpensive frames or a wire clothesline to display your child’s creations and occasionally change out the projects.
I do want to keep some hard copies of my children’s creations, but the piles and binders I’ve set aside for this job take time to keep organized.
I’m still figuring that out.
In the meantime, however, I’ve also been experimenting with some time-saving ideas for creative solutions using technology, too:
Cozi offers a free download of a photo-collage screensaver for PCs. Cozi also offers many practical organizational tools and services for families.
Apps like Artkive, Canvasly and Keepy allow you to take, tag, store and share images of your child’s work and turn it into a book, gifts or keepsakes. Keepy even lets you record audio and video to share anecdotes behind each piece of art.
Plumprint or Artkive Concierge offer to send a prepaid mailing label to your home; then you pack up the projects that you want digitized and they take professional photos and create options for a hardcover book that can be delivered to your door.
Spoonflower lets you turn photos of your kids’ art into custom fabric, wrapping paper or even wallpaper.
Snaptotes has some unique products, such as lunch totes, quilt blocks, wallets and journals that you can embellish with images of your child’s art or photos.
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.
Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher who lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Minnesota. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her blog at kidsandeggs.com.