Young children are probably the most prolific artists on the planet! Parents are often forced to make tough decisions about what artworks will be kept and what should be "tossed." Here are some tips to help you decide what is save-worthy, and what you don't need to hold on to!
One: A common concern when it comes to children's artwork is being sure you're appreciating the work. Save all current work for at least one or two months before making any decisions. After that time period, it is a good time to sit down with your child and ask him or her to select a few favorite pieces. The child's favorites become "keepers." If your child has a mountain of work, you may want to limit the child ("Choose the five you like best...").
Two: Next -- select your own favorites! Your child isn't going to necessarily select the same favorites as you are. You might want to choose a representative image or artwork representing each season. Keep them in a folder or a binder, or dedicate a bin or drawer to these pieces.
Three: Don't immediately assume the "rejected" artwork has to go straight to the garbage can or recycling bin! Why not separate out some highlights and send them to friends or family members? Grandparents, Godparents, aunts and uncles, and friends might enjoy receiving and displaying some of your child's original artwork. The child can help decide what pieces of art to send to whom.
Four: For those of you who can't bear to get rid of any of the artwork, why not scan it or take a digital photo of each? Later, you can organize the images onto a CD or a photo-sharing website to share with friends or family, or burn the images onto a DVD or CD.
Five: Is your child making a lot of 3-D works or sculptures? If you simply cannot save the piece in question, favorites should be photographed. Better yet, take a couple photos of your child holding his or her artistic creation! That way, you can document the child's age along with the artwork.
Six: Re-purpose the artwork -- a pretty painting doesn't simply need to adorn the wall. Use art as wrapping paper or to cover a cardboard storage box, reuse it in other craft projects (papier mache, for example), or laminate and use as a placemat or cut into bookmarks. (Get more great ideas for preserving childrens' artwork in this article!)
Seven: When the time comes and you've decided to dispose of a not-quite-masterpiece, either involve the child in the disposal, or do it discreetly. Kids can get very hurt feelings if they unexpectedly see their work in the trash!
Next: Once you've selected your faves, click here for tips on preserving, using and displaying your child's artwork!