“Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
– Pablo Picasso
Every parent of a preschooler knows the feeling of pride for their child’s artwork. Every scribble, circle, head with lines protruding to resemble arms or paint splodge is precious. You may start out intending to keep safe each piece of artwork but every parent of a preschooler knows that by year’s end the art collection is vast. And a child could easily spend 15 years in school.
So what do you do? Call in the architect to design an extra wing? No, at some point choices have to be made about which artworks are precious, and therefore worth keeping. And then you must decide how you’ll do that.
In her thesis “From the Refrigerator Door to the Art Gallery Floor: Young Children’s Experiences with the Display of Their Own Visual Artwork”, Danielle Jay Boone, writes “children like to make choices about their own artwork”.
In any organising project involving children, I always recommend including them in the decision-making process. Organising children’s art is no different. Like any artist, a child will connect more with some works of art than with others. Only they know the level of commitment they put into producing their art, the care they took. Including children in the decision-making process also helps them build important life skills.
Ok, so your child is now helping you choose which pieces to keep. Here are some points to consider
- some drawings represent milestones, the next step in your child’s development
- some artworks were made for a special occasion, like Mothers Day
- some are just beautiful
So now together you’ve chosen the ones which get to stay. Where will they go? Some suggestions
- photograph them, especially the 3D items, held by the child
- designate one special box for artworks and memorabilia, which the child can access
- display them on a pinboard or refrigerator door. The limited size stops your home being taken over by children’s art and encourages turnover
- decorate the walls of your child’s room
- wrap gifts and create cards for family and friends
- give them as gifts to family
- frame them
- laminate them and use as placemats and mouse pads
- turn them into a calendar or book
- scan and turn them into screensavers and desktop wallpaper
Only you and your child know the true value of their works of art. But keep in mind that the precious can be lost in the multitude. Better to honour a few special pieces than cram in hundreds.