Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Paper Bag Art Gallery

Ideas for displaying, preserving and honoring your child's artwork
A dilemma most parents of preschoolers and young grade school students face is: what to do with the influx of artwork done at school?  There are also worksheets that mark their progress, sentimental samplings of early handwriting, and the responses to questions like what they want to be when they grow up and how to make their favorite meal.  Well these papers, too precious to part with, sat broken and sad in a torn paper grocery bag at our house.  Keeping every paper felt like a heavy burden and this storage disaster was no solution.  So I’ve come up with a few creative remedies for this problem. 
1.       You know the sheets of paper that come home where the teacher asks each student a question and then records each child’s answer?  I started a word document where I record all the questions and dictated responses.  They are fun to read through and don’t take up additional physical space in my house!
2.       Establish a folder on your computer where you can keep digital copies of artwork and projects.  Scan flat pieces that are small enough to fit on your scanner or take a digital picture of larger works.  Take a picture of your child with items that they made to wear or use (like masks, headpieces, hats, puppets etc)  Most of these projects are cuter on your child than on their own.

Clothes Line Art Gallery

3.       Hang a clothes line and clip seasonal works of art that you can change up as new works arrive.  Scan or photograph items as they are hung for your digital collection.
4.       Paint unfinished wood picture frames and hang them in your family room or toy room.  You can change these masterpieces out periodically without too much fuss.
5.       Design and print blank greeting cards on card stock (2 cards per 8.5 x 11 sheet).  Be sure to include your child’s name and the date/age they created the pictured work of art on the back of the card.   Pair them with invitation sized envelopes and give them as gifts for Grandparents that enjoy writing letters or as a teacher gift at the end of the school year.

Use children's original artwork on blank greeting cards

Please be sure to back up any digital files in the event that your hard drive crashes.  Keep a few treasured pieces of artwork that were created with their little hands and let the rest go!  I hope these ideas give you some inspiration for how to honor your child’s creative little hearts without cluttering your home with piles of paper to precious to simply throw in the trash or recycle bin.
How do you honor the artwork that comes from your little creative hearts? 

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