What To Do With Your Kid’s Arts and Crafts
Nowadays, it is much easier to document our children’s milestones: the first tooth, the first word, the first step. The subsequent years will be witness to the first day at kindergarten, the first soccer match or the first ballet recital. All these memories are easily captured in a digital camera, compiled in a digital photo album or scrap book, burned on a CD and archived for the future.
But how do you document your child’s artwork? How do you follow the development of the future Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright? In other words, how do you archive your child’s arts and crafts project? Like all moms, I collected them all – at first.
Arts and Crafts From Preschool
I still have my twin boys’ first drawings. Well, sort of. They were more like scribbles and squabbles but for me, they had the brilliance of Mire. Preschool inspired their artistic side more and more with each passing day, they would bring home pages and pages of papers. The walls of our house were filled with artwork. We exported some to Grandma’s but the artwork kept coming.
Then came the crafts. The artwork has evolved to 3-D creations. One of my sons, R, is crazy about crafts. He can take an empty roll of toilet paper and turn it into a telescope, a canoe, a race car, or anything that his imagination fancies. And he hates throwing away anything. Valentines, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, my kids would bring home anything you can imagine from painted eggs and spiders and Christmas decorations. But Mother’s Day is always the day when they would shower me with self-made presents. So sweet, but what would I do with all of these?
My husband would tease me about my hoarding dilemma. “When your boys are rich and famous, you can auction these off for a lot of money.” But when I got to the third storage box of preschool art and crafts, I realized I couldn’t go on like that forever. For one thing, I don’t have the space. Second, I couldn’t keep track anymore which belongs to who, plus the when’s and what’s. Second, hoarding when taken too far becomes a hazard – a health hazard and a fire hazard.
Arts and Crafts From Elementary School
I thought it would get better once they’d go to elementary school. But in school afternoons are basically dedicated to creativity. The other day, my son F came home with green fingernails. “We’re into the spring theme, mom.” I knew what’s coming – the winter collection would be coming home soon. I was right. It even included a life-sized cardboard snowman.
Don’t get me wrong. I am so proud that my boys love arts & crafts as much as they love soccer. I’d rather they cut and scribble than sit in front of the TV. But hey, I have a storage problem here and at the rate they are going, I’d be buried in this stuff before they’re off to college. Any suggestions?
What To Do With All Those Arts and Crafts
Finally, I have come up with some options.
- Go digital. If you can scan drawings or take pictures of projects and store them digitally, that would be great. Unfortunately, I don’t have time and patience for scanning and archiving.
- Storage. Too expensive for me but might be an option for some people especially if you think your child will be a future celebrity. Hey, you might need all that stuff for a museum someday. You can even hire a curator/archivist along the way.
- Recycle. One thing that disturbs me the most about arts and crafts is the amount of paper and other materials being used. So I try to explain to my boys that we shouldn’t be wasteful but recycle. And we do. It helps a bit with my environmental and motherly conscience.
- Choose and Prioritize. Finally, my husband and I came up with a system. Once a month, we’d ask the boys to clear out their rooms and keep 5 favorite drawings which we will file away in a folder. They are also allowed to keep one craft project per season. The rest we recycle.
We went for the second and third options mostly. There are occasional arguments as to what should go and what should stay. But we are making progress in prioritizing things and keeping our inventory low. We don’t want to throw away all of our family treasures. We just want to keep the most valuable.