It’s not just pictures we’re treated to either. I’ve been given animal masks, Chinese lanterns, flowerpots (paper and real), loo-roll boats, cotton-reel trains, cotton-wool snowmen, collages, marble paintings and, one Christmas, a hand-sewn purse.
I am always hugely impressed at the projects the teachers tackle with the children and, more than once, think they must have a saintly store of patience as well as creative flair. But the wealth of it does eventually beg the question, what to do with it all?
When I’m first handed some fabulous creation, I display it on the kitchen table for all to admire. After a week or so, it might move onto a living room shelf, then a bedroom shelf and then, well, what? With pictures, it’s a similar story – they last on the fridge perhaps a fortnight but then, they’ve usually fallen down so many times or been vandalised by one or other child, that another home has to be sought.
By necessity, I have over the years become increasingly ruthless and creative in my solution to house these displays of my children’s self-expression. Here’s how I tackle the ever-increasing art mountain:
– Really fabulous pictures get framed in a plain glass clip frame. These then go on the wall in their bedroom, playroom or bathroom. They bring a smile to my face every time I glance at them.
– Pictures that are more scribble than Picasso get recycled (either to draw on the back of or, yes, the bin. Like I said, ruthless.)
– However I’m not a total monster. Anything that’s not quite frame-worthy but I still can’t bear to chuck, gets stored in pretty A4 folders and boxed away. I know I’ll enjoy exploring them in years to come and, after all, a flat folder doesn’t take up much space.
– Larger paintings get used as wrapping paper. They’re colourful, unique and free.
– Or we cut out a centrepiece and glue it onto a plain card (in packs bought from Tesco’s with matching envelopes) for DIY greeting cards.
The only thing that escapes my efforts to tidy, thin down or otherwise sort are the intricate 3D creations. I mean, how do you pack away a Chinese lantern made of balsa wood and rice paper? So I keep unstackable objets d’art on bedroom shelves and box what I can into a massive wooden trunk-cum-coffee table. Perhaps in time, I’ll be able to edit this collection. But I’m not sure how. Any suggestions gratefully received…
For more ideas, check out the inspirational My Child website, which has a Top Ten list of suggestions at http://www.theschoolrun.com/articles/top-ten-tips-on-what-to-do-with-your-childs-art-work-8543