Wonderful, another painting!

When that first macaroni picture frame or toilet roll pen holder comes home you just about burst with pride at your child’s amazing creativity. A few terms later as you consider renovating the house to fit the cereal box nativity scene in, you start wondering about where to keep all the art work.

The first time I heard a mother mention that she threw her daughter’s art in the bin once she’d gone to bed and made sure it was near the bottom so it wasn’t seen, I cried for this poor child with her cruel mother. Two children later and I am that mother – and grateful for the idea she planted too.  

So, what to do, what to do…

With the big things, a friend suggested that we display them for a week or two and then make a big fanfare of taking a photograph and then dismantling the item to post it to Father Christmas or Great Aunt Hilda who is sick and lives in Outer Mongolia.  
This works well. A hint here though – say you’re going to post it from work and dispose of it there. Your child will work out what happened when they’re about 7 or 8, but will by then also understand why. Also, make sure that Great Aunt Hilda won’t be coming for a visit any time soon – or make her an accomplice in your mean lying to your child.  

Then there are the paintings and pictures and milk bottle top art. A punch and a lever arch file are very valuable here. Choose the best from each term and frame it to give as a gift to granny or to hang in mom or dad’s office, or have a special art work wall at home where you can hang framed pictures. They’re a lovely keepsake, and nice but inexpensive frames are available from most stationers. Put a date on the rest of them and file them in order in the lever arch file. My children still love looking through their file of art.  

However, teachers get sneaky. Just as you think you have everything resolved, home come the pictures on cardboard or on that old blue and white striped computer paper that is enormous. Cardboard refuses to be punched and the others need folding. The cardboard ones are nice to laminate and give to family as presents for hand made place mats, but sadly the over sized pictures are snuck into the bin late at night when the house is silent. But what about the puffy paper plate lady birds? A photo and snuck into the bin works well too. I hoped to do the photo trick on the sour dough sculptures that have been so lovingly painted, but the birds nest, giraffe and hedgehog are all still on my son’s shelves gathering weevils.  

Every picture or piece of art that comes into our home is given its week or two of pride on the fridge and the effort that has gone into the drawing or painting or colour mixing or cutting or pasting is suitably praised.  The photos we’ve taken are all in the memory album along with the various baby teeth, locks of hair from the first hair cut.  When I’m in the old age home I’m going to have beautiful memories to keep me company.  

What do you do with the over abundance of your children’s artwork?
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