Parents blog: Displaying kids’ artwork

During my son’s preschool years, I couldn’t bear to throw away any of his artwork. I wanted to celebrate his creativity by taping it all over the house, including the walls of the dining room, where we spend most of our time together as a family.

But after a while, the collection of paintings, collages, Play-Doh sculptures and other pieces took on a life of its own. Now that he’s in kindergarten, my son brings home at least a dozen new creations (my favorite was a three-dimensional piece involving toothpicks and marshmallows) plus worksheets documenting the words he has learned and his progress in writing and math each week.

All this is in addition to the various notebooks and looseleaf papers around the house with his drawings and writings.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s all good stuff. But wow, it can be overwhelming, because children can be so prolific.

Our fridge is covered with artwork. So are the walls. In several rooms, we’ve used hemp string and clothespins to display even more “masterpieces.”

In the last few weeks, I’ve started throwing some away.

During a visit to my parents’ house last summer, my mom took out some of the creations my sisters and I made as children. I laughed so hard when I read all the misspelled words and the funky drawings.

At the same time, it was also wonderful to remember that as children, we saw ourselves as artists — we were creative, expressive and uninhibited. Why is it so hard to be that way as an adult?

But my more practical question is this: How do you and your children decide which works of art (or schoolwork) to keep and display and which ones need to be tossed right away?

– Posted by Virginia de Leon

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