April 30, 2010

Artsy Fartsy

As parents of an almost-three year old we are blessed to have a child that loves to both get dirty and clean up messes.  We were such proud parents on Wednesday when Abby cleaned up her doctor kit before asking to play with her tea set, all without prompting. 

Her at home painting routine involves picking out two colors and two brushes and getting on her smock in preparation.  Painting involves the brushes for a few minutes, and almost always devolves into painting each hand and doing finger or hand painting before calling it quits.  She always makes sure to grab her paint cups and brushes and brings them to the sink to spend almost as much time cleaning as she did painting.  She will even "clean" other dishes if they are in the sink at the time.  This has led to more than one instance of paint brushes being found later by turning on the garbage disposal, though.  Working on a plan for that.

All of that is completely unrelated to what I wanted to share with this post.  We get lots of artwork sent home from school and are never sure what to do with it.  We decided early on this year that we will keep some of it, maybe three pieces a month, but most go right into the recycle bin after we ask Abby about it.  I decided this morning to take some with me to work to hang up, and I thought I should go ahead and scan them to share since I had brought them. 

Without further useless build-up -

She clearly likes bold colors.  In one she was going for lines, and on the other it was more free form. 

My question for you other parents-of-little-ones is: What do you do with your child's art?  Do you keep all of it?  None of it?  Where do you keep it? 

I kind of want to come up with a regular way to display it in our next home.  I don't mean frames, but I want to get out of trashing each one right away.  Do you have a good idea for keeping them short term and deciding what to keep? 


  1. I have an area on the kitchen wall, under a high cabinet, kind of in the middle of the kitchen/dining area, where I hang up my very favorites. There are 3 there - one of MG's hand prints on a paper plate (done at school), one of our princess turkey from thanksgiving, and another one with a photo of her, a hand print, and some stickers. Lest anyone accuse me of favoritism, Claire just hasn't gotten to the "projects coming home from school" phase.

    They crank out drawings faster than I can deal with them. I recycle them after a reasonable duration of fridge time. If they have one that is a particular favorite, sometimes it stays longer.

    We've talked about how MG's "best work" is on the wall. Teaching kids to be critics of their own work, and to choose the best, is an effective teaching strategy. I don't want to give my kids the impression that their every doodle should be enshrined, or that their every turd should be bronzed, you know? I'll have to look up the name of the book where I read about the self-evaluation thing, but right now we're going for ice cream.

    Bottom line - pick a favorite or two once in a while, be truly judicious in what you choose, and toss the rest without guilt.

  2. I can't believe how much artwork gets produced! I've just started putting my favorites in a scrap book using photo corners. When she does 10 paintings in one sitting those mostly go in the recycling. I've mostly been saving the big ones. Her first stick man, and she wrote her name for the first time unassisted this week. I saved that too. I've seen some other cool ideas like those digital frames or printing many out very small to make one giant poster.

  3. Very nice. My friends daughter was a prolific artist as a little girl and they used to tape a wide ribbon down the jamb of the entry between their kitchen and dining room. They would tape her artwork to the ribbon as they were completed and when the ribbon was full they either stored the ones she liked the best or threw them out.