Artwork Overload? What to do with Kid Masterpieces

My son's hamburger drawing. I literally left it at the restaurant after I took this photo.

There is no such thing as an artist’s block in preschool or even elementary school. If your child paints just one masterpiece each day, that means you could potentially accumulate about three hundred works in a year. Multiply that by number of kids or number of years, and you will be drowning in handprint turkey paintings.

When it comes to children’s art and schoolwork, it gets hard to tell whether the parents are saving it for the child... or for themselves. I have heard a lot of excuses from “she will want it someday” to “he would be upset if I didn’t keep it.”

The best lesson I personally learned in preschool was that kids like the process of making art more than the final product sometimes. To a small child, the act of creating means more than the finished work. Sure, my 6-year-old son is proud that he is learning to write. And I’ll keep some of his early drafts. But all of the notes? Not a chance.

I’m not heartless, but we both know you can’t keep every single piece of creation. So how do you pick and choose? And what do you do with it all?

Here are a few suggestions:

Post It. (Temporarily!) Clipboards are an inexpensive and easy way to show-off your child’s artwork for a limited time. (Daily or weekly Masterpiece display?) Some of my clients like to hang a clothesline or even a curtain rod so that multiple pieces can be seen at one time. When the clipboard or line gets full, it’s time to make some decisions. Now for the hard part...

Digitize It. Try scanning or snapping a photograph of your favorite pieces. The nice thing about digitizing the artwork is that this method works for both flat and 3-dimension artwork. Then, you can save the digital files on a cloud service (I personally use Evernote.) Also, I then make a photo album out of my digital prints for each year of preschool. (Shutterfly is the service I’ve used in the past - but any photo service like that will do.)

Corral it in a Binder. If digital copies aren’t your thing, mark a binder with the year and kid’s name, and using plastic sheet protectors, fill up the binder with your favorite pieces. Even if you aren’t a scrapbooker, this is a pretty simple way to save the work. (Larger pieces can be folded into the sheet protectors.)

Wrap it up. Grab yourself a poster shipping container from an office supply store. If you are okay with rolling the artwork, you can store plenty of creativity in a small space using this container. Just make sure to label the outside with the child’s name and age.

#kidartwork #organizingkids

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