Photo by kaylhew

Tell me if this is what happens in other families. Your child comes home from preschool loaded with goodies. There are papers sticking out of her backpack, her nap bag, her pockets and lunchbox. She takes off her backpack, rifles inside and pulls out one, two, three, four, five paintings. “I made these all today! Can we hang them up now?” she exclaims eagerly, obviously expecting a resounding “Yes!” for an answer.

In our house, this conversation necessitates delicate negotiation, being careful not to tarnish our little one’s ego, while also trying to establish some rules around the reality that we can’t possibly keep every piece of paper that comes home from school.

What’s a parent or grandparent or aunt, uncle, friend, relative or other person with young children in their life (and therefore lots of original artwork by a beloved budding artist) supposed to do?

Here are a few ways we’ve discovered over the years to display our children’s artwork while maintaining a clean refrigerator door, some sanity, and our child’s sense of pride.

  1. Have your child select one recent masterpiece to hang on the front door. This is a beautiful way to welcome visitors, and even the mailman can appreciate your child’s artistry. Your child will beam with pride when guests come and remark on the artwork, and there is something special about coming into your home after a long day and seeing your child’s creation displayed for the neighborhood to see.
  2. Add a folder to your family files and mark it with your child’s name and the year. Whenever they come home with artwork, ask them to put it in the file. Then, whenever they have thank you notes to write for birthday, holiday or other presents, have them select a piece of artwork to use as stationary. Recipients will be thrilled to receive a thank you note on one-of-a-kind stationery!
  3. Display your child’s artwork as a re-usable place-mat, perfect for family meals or even when guests come. All that is required is a roll or two of clear contact paper, which can be found in most art supply stores. Select a few pieces of artwork, mount the artwork on cardboard of equal size (flaps of old boxes tend to work well), place the clear contact paper over the artwork and you have a beautiful place-mat that can be used for years to come. These also make fabulous gifts. We had one family member break down in tears upon receiving a set of four for the holidays one year. Really.
  4. Then, there’s always the “museum wall” area of the house dedicated to, you guessed it, your child’s artwork. Tickets not needed, though we did once have a fun rainy day making tickets to the “museum” and giving them out to neighbors who came to see the new art museum on the block.

How do you display your child’s artwork? Let us know some of your creative ideas!

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