Ease the Guilt of Throwing Away Your Kids' School Art With These Ideas
Is the giant pile of art that the kids brought home on the last day of school still sitting on the dining room table staring at you? No one really eats any meals at that table, so you could technically leave it there for the rest of the summer. Perhaps you keep a big box of kid art in your attic or under a bed, telling yourself that one day (in 40 years) your kids will thank you. I get it — the guilt of throwing away a piece of your kid's art is serious. You're talking to a major kid-craft art hoarder, here. However, there are better things you could do with that paper than just tuck it away to never see the light of day again.
Sure, you could hang the art up. If your kids are as prolific in the arts and crafts department as mine, you would need every wall in the house for the task. Giant bulletin boards are another popular option, but that gets cluttered quick. Fridge? Many stainless refrigerators aren't magnetic. I may or may not have chosen mine based on this very reason (no comment). All this being said (and all joking aside), I adore kid art, especially my kids' art, and I want them to know that I love it and appreciate it. There's more than one way to make them feel like proud Picassos without stacks of paper everywhere.
Wear Your Kid's Art
When the kids are little, their art is so random, chaotic and full of color. I've long created by the mantra that "if something sits still long enough, I will eventually find a way to make it into a piece of jewelry." My kids' art is no exception. Colorful pieces of paper make wonderful paper beads. Simply cut the art into various shapes, then roll, seal, string and wear. Check out this episode of DIY This With Jennifer Perkins for more details on how to make paper beads.
Electric Picture Frames
Just like you can't print and frame every single picture on your phone, the same is true with kid art. Even super parents with dedicated walls for their kids' artistic achievements can't fit in everything. Enter your friend and mine, the electronic picture frame. Take pictures of all the art, or if you're old-school, scan them. Transfer the pictures of the art onto a memory card. Insert said memory card into an electric picture frame, and let the good art times roll. Mix in family photos and pictures of art. Every few months, take more pictures of art and add to the frame. When your kids aren't looking, recycle the originals. Go ahead and put some extra trash on top to hide it, because nothing is more soul-crushing than your child finding their art in the trash.
If your kids are in elementary or preschool, seasonal art is big. Come October, the pumpkin pictures are coming home. And December means snowflakes and glitter city. Use these pieces of kid art as part of your seasonal decor. Hang some yarn or trim in a window and add clothespins and art. This way, kids get to feel like they're in on the holiday decorating but also understand when Mommy's Christmas trees come down so does their art. If they're lucky, you're one of those people that doesn't get the tree down until late spring and they get to keep those cotton ball snowmen hanging up that much longer. Perhaps you can throw a kids' holiday craft party to gain more treasured keepsakes.
Family Art Journal
I like scrapbooks and I cannot lie. I also like art journals. As with most of my craft projects, if I'm doing it, my kids are either doing it with me or sitting within a 10-foot radius of me doing their own version. I love the organic nature of kid art and found that it's a wonderful addition to my art journaling projects. This led to a series of family art journals. Sometimes we add full pages the kids brought home from school right into the journal, and other times we cut up more abstract pieces to collage and create new art. The kids love adding stickers, embellishments and photographs onto the pages.
Rotating Frame in a Gallery Wall
I have several gallery walls in my home. I love eclectic art and kid art is my favorite. At the bottom of my largest gallery wall hangs a clipboard where my children get to rotate their favorite pieces monthly. I don't have their art hung on the bottom because I don't like it as much; I hang it low so that it's more to their eye level and they can enjoy it.
My mom-guilt is strong with every scrap of crayon-scribbled paper that hits the recycling bin, but we know you can't keep it all. I'm a firm believer in letting my kids decorate their own bedrooms however they want, and if they want those walls covered in school papers then that's their prerogative. They each have bulletin boards (check out my daughter's DIY bulletin board mural) that they can hang on whatever their little hearts' desire. I'll always encourage their creative sides, but just like their mother who is constantly creating, I can't keep every craft project and neither can they.
These ideas help preserve those precious painted or penciled memories without keeping stacks and stacks of paper on the dining room table. You never know, if you clear off the kid art, you might actually eat a meal there. Oh, and when you do, be sure to use your kids' art to make a set of DIY embroidered napkins.