The first time your child runs up to you, crayon-drawn picture in hand and declares, “mom, I made this for you,” doesn’t your heart just melt? Without hesitation I run to the fridge, move aside the piles of old Christmas photos from family and friends and plaster it front and center. Sure, it might be a stick figure drawing of a horse or a scribble here and there but I am one proud mom! Eventually they graduate to finger paintings, clay sculptures and macaroni necklaces. I display their artwork wherever I find room to showcase my brilliant child. Then, child number two comes along. Three, four, and so on. Before I know it my house begins to look like a children’s museum, the kind with several rooms you can go in and kids can make creative crafts. Yeah, my house has been known to be that house. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my children’s enthusiasm for art but there comes a time when, unfortunately, I need to throw away that stick figure drawing on the fridge. Yikes. This is quite the predicament. How will my child react to see their hard work crumpled up in the trash? I hate the thought of breaking a child’s heart but we are talking borderline hoarding here, (my kids really, really like to make art). What is a mom to do? After a few different approaches here is what I find works best for us.
One Piece Per Kid: My fridge is only so big. I use it to hang my calendar for quick reference, or to hang flyers of important upcoming events; showers, weddings, etc. Therefore, I only have so much room to display their work. I finally told them that they each are allowed to have one piece of art hanging on the fridge at a time. It got to the point where they would scavenge the house for spare magnets and proudly display each and every picture they drew or craft they made, completely covering my fridge. Cute, yes, until the two year old constantly tore them all down! Now, they know that if they hand me a piece of artwork to go on the fridge, it will replace what is up there and yes, what is up there will end up in the trash, (sorry!)
Coloring Folders: My kids love to draw, and color. Even my tween enjoys coloring now that adult coloring books are on the market with more and more challenging pictures. He is quite the artist and rises to the creative challenge that these difficult drawings have to offer. My kids usually have either a drawing they are working on or a coloring page they are attempting to finish. There came a point when I was practically swimming through my living room filled with half colored sheets of paper. I didn’t have the heart to just throw them away knowing they wanted to get back to them soon. What I decided to do in this case was assign them each a pocket folder that I would keep near their crayons and markers. One side of the folder would be for the papers that have yet to be finished and the other side for their finished work that they were proud of. Not every single piece of paper is kept but the ones that are important to them are.
Hallway Display: Then we have the more involved pieces of art. The woodworking pieces, the yarn weavings, the pieces of work that took quite a bit of time to make. This is a hard one but I can’t have every single item showcased in the home. Therefore, I let them keep the important ones in their room in a safe place and if they want to display one or two things in the hallway near the coatrack, I let them.
Homeschool Display: Finally, we have homeschool projects. The ones that are relevant to what we are studying at the time. Sometimes I do notebooks, other times lapbooks. Recently I have decided to clear out a space in my dining room and let them showcase their work there. Again I limit it to one or two items per child, but since that is the room we are doing most of our school now, it makes sense for it to be visible to them often.
How Do You Showcase Your Children’s Artwork?