If your children are anything like mine (or if you bring them along to one of the Little ARTventurers classes!) then your home will be overflowing with masterpieces and creations and you'll be struggling to find places to stick them all (a fridge door and kitchen wall is only so big!)
What we do in our house is have a "gallery" in the kitchen where we display the most recent or favourite creations - these are replaced with each fresh batch from my little artists and then the favourite pieces are labelled and dated by me and go upstairs into their big art folders (the portfolio type that students have) to be kept until they're bigger. There are also some paintings and drawings which (dare I say it) do go into the recycling bin - the children know we simply can't keep each and every piece that they've created!
Sounds good and organised in theory - but there are still times when you don't want to hide a favourite painting away, or you want to do something creative with their artwork or simply share it! Here's some of my favourite ideas.....
1. Create a gallery
Easy - choose a space in your home and make it into the children's own gallery - a wall in their bedroom or a pinboard, a kitchen wall, somewhere in the hall.....children love to see their artwork proudly displayed and it really does help their confidence and self esteem. We use simple old blu tac for our gallery hangings! But I really like this idea from Ikea, using wire curtain rods and clips
2. Frame it!
Some of my very favourite drawings and paintings that Erin and Isaac have produced over the years I have had framed and they're hung around the house in various places. Personally I think they are a lot cuter and much more personal that an Ikea print! I'm also just about to frame a lovely "letter to mummy" that Erin did at school for Mothers Day. I like simple clip frames for kids art - they are easy to open and replace with a new painting whenever you want. Or the freestanding arylic blocks are also great.
3. Scan it
If you can't or don't want to store bits of paper forever and a day then scan and save the artwork so you've still got a permanent reminder of it. At the end of each year you could make a photobook or a calender with your favourite pieces - and great for including pictures of models, clay creations etc which you simply can't keep!
3. Use it for wrapping paper!
We do this a lot with paintings which come home from school and nursery - I save them up and we use them to wrap up presents for their friends and for family. A bit more personal that wrapping paper from Morrisons!
4. Display artwork on a digital frame
I stole this idea from a friend and think it's a really great space saving idea - she scans or photographs her favourite pictures and drawings, and uploads them (is that the right technical term??) onto a digital photo frame! The children love seeing their pictures and drawings appearing on the frame
5. Give it away as gifts
My childrens auntie and cousin and one of their granny's don't live nearby so we save special artwork for the children to take as presents when they go to visit or send it in the post
6. Make jigsaw puzzles!
Of course it depends on the type of artwork but if it's a drawing then mount on a piece of card and then cut into jigsaw pieces for your child to play with! Don't forget to take a photo of the complete picture first before you start chopping it up!
7. Make greetings cards (or other gifts)
Again I put aside some paintings and drawings to make into cards - for thank you cards after their birthdays etc. I just chop the artwork to size (you do have to be a bit brutal!), mount on a piece of folded A4 card and hey presto! If you don't want to do this yourself there are also all sorts of sites nowadays where you can have artwork made into professionally printed cards - My Design Made (http://www.mydesignmade.com/) is one local business that does a great job of gently enhancing your childrens creations (if it needs it!) before printing it onto stationary (and other gifts too!). There are sites where you can have scanned artwork printed onto canvas bags, tea towels, teddies... you name it!
8. Laminate it
Love this idea and have two paintings set aside to try it with - I'm going to laminate them and let Erin and Isaac use them as placemats. I think they'll love the idea!
Hope some of these ideas are hepful and might have given you some inspiration on what to do with your own little ARTventurers artwork - remember children do love to see their own artwork proudly on display so save, use and display your favourites but please don't feel guilty about having to send some on their recycling journey! And if you have any other ideas please share!