by Meg Ragland
Our friend Meg Ragland, of kids’ artwork archivists Plum Print, knows a thing or two about how to treasure your child’s art, without allowing it to overrun your home. We asked her to share her very best tips as we head into a new school year. Read on for inspiration.
I absolutely love every piece of artwork my kids bring home. Whether it’s handprint turkeys, freaky looking clay-face pinch pots with crazy grass hair or a funky looking pig, I can’t part with any of it!
But did you know that the average child creates 800 pieces of artwork by the end of elementary school alone? What are we parents to do with it all? For most of us, tossing or recycling it is just not an option. A recent study found that 90 percent of parents feel guilty throwing their kids’ artwork away. Unfortunately for most, the mini masterpieces end up stuffed into a drawer or growing moldy (especially the macaroni necklaces) in a box in the basement.
For me, and my business partner Carolyn (aka my little cousin & my best buddy & my fellow crazed mom), this just didn’t sit right. We wanted an alternative, so we created one! (More about Plum Print below.) But we’re not the only option. Here are my favorite solutions for the overwhelming piles of artwork our children are bound to bring home this school year!
Brighten up your playroom, or your children’s rooms, by attaching their art to a string with colorful clothespins. For an extra-tidy look, hang curtain wire in rows across a large wall with matching metal fasteners. This makes it easy to change up the art on a regular basis
Frame your favorite pieces and send them to Grandma and Aunt Linda for their birthdays and every other special holiday.
Use large art pieces as wrapping paper. The most colorful packages can be a combination of 3 or 4 different pieces of art.
For the piles and piles of art, Plum Print will make it all into a custom coffee-table book for you. No matter how big (body tracings) or awkward (dioramas of rainforests) or messy (fingerpaintings and slime), we photograph it all and design a one-of-a-kind book that you and your kids will treasure forever.
Have a cherished drawing made into a stuffed animal! This really allows kids to see their art come alive!
If you just can’t bear to part with your children’s art try a creative storage solution. Keepsake Portfolios have colorful dividers so you can organize the art by school year or child.
And if you are one of those parents who is able to part with your children’s artwork, be sure to take a quick photo of your kid with their favorite creations before heading to the recycling bin.
(Although this may get you into trouble someday when they wail that they MUST have the original!)