My daughter discovered her love of painting on the first day of kindergarten. She came home with several large masterpieces. She installed them on her bedroom wall using non-paint safe tape and declared the exhibit, “Art-tastic!” We were so proud (and had to later repaint the whole room when we moved). Her love has not waned; she has continues to be a prolific artist.
My son started kindergarten this year and has apparently taken up sculpting. He has a problem, bordering on addiction, with clay. He also has a problem with leaving his masterpieces where the dog, who mistakes them for her toys, can get them.
What to do with all of these treasured works? Of course I don’t keep everything, but I need to revamp my art display situation, even for the stuff that stays up temporarily, so I asked the internet for some options.
Set aside an entire art wall
For flat art, there are lots of options for displaying paintings and drawings. Choose an ignored wall in your house and make that the designated art spot. Choose a shelf for 3D creations, and maybe limit the display to that shelf only.
A lot of parents keep select art on the fridge but relegate all other kid art to kid rooms. My house has really ugly vinyl cabinets that beg to be covered up with colorful creations, so that’s what I do. It’s a bit of a personal style choice.
Curate rotating kid art exhibits
When there’s a constant stream of art and you need to switch out seasonal snowmen for spring flowers, there are some creative ways to make it easy and aesthetically pleasing, especially if your refrigerator isn’t magnetic or is already crowded with family photos and important junk mail and takeout menus.
Hanging a string across the wall and attaching clothespins can make a cute, easy-to-swap display for seasonal or rotating art. I put one below some permanent art and photos in my daughter’s room so she can choose what comes and goes. You can also install more permanent hanging fixtures.
One or several cork boards makes it easy to swap out or layer creations (watch for falling tacks). Or display them inside blank frames with putty, or by attaching clips to the top.
Alternate uses for kid art
Sometimes showing off the art isn’t about putting it on display. You can also give it away or turn it into something else. Use your kids’ artwork as greeting cards or wrapping paper. Friends’ and family will love to see the time and effort put into their gifts, even if it’s on the outside, and you’ll be recycling in the best possible way.
Kids can also use art to make other art. If they’re done displaying a drawing, they can cut out the figures and add them to a collage or cut up a colorful abstract for a mosaic. Sculptures can become part of a fairy garden and multimedia art projects can be scrapped for parts to make new multimedia projects.
Some people are concerned about storage space, and have opted to keep their kids’ art “in the cloud.” There are lots of options for this. Take photos (or use a scanner) and put them on whatever drive, cloud, or other permanent personal storage device you like.
You can also take photos of the art and make a private Instagram account for it to share it with family and, maybe someday, if the metaverse allows, your child—but you can also keep it for yourself and review it with your kid when they want to see their creations. If you must have a physical copy, you can print a photo book featuring a given year’s art. That way it all fits in one, same-sized small package that easily fits among your books.
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