So, here’s the question:
What are we supposed to do with all of the wonderful crafts and pictures that our children so proudly make for us??
We can’t throw them away, at least not without some amount of guilt (and prayers that our child doesn’t find his masterpiece in the trash)! And if we kept every little thing that they ever made we’d soon be investing in an addition to the house dedicated to the storage of these priceless little gems.
Believe me, I cherish every little doodle, every little craft that my children make for me. BUT, I am prone to quarterly de-cluttering in my home, and am not one to be a pack rat, or keep things that no longer have a practical use. I don’t have room for unnecessary piles in every corner of my closet. So, I have had to come up with a solution to this problem of what to do with these precious mementos of my little one’s childhood.
Never fear. I’ve come up with some creative solutions:
- Take a Picture of it. This way you can still keep the memory of how adorable it was, but not have to take up the space. When my daughter asks, “Mommy? Where is that dinosaur I colored for you?” I just smile and say, “I turned it into a picture to keep forever. Look!” and I show her the photo of her craft on my digital camera. This usually gets a smile, and she’s satisfied that I’ve kept it.
- Turn the pictures into a photo book. Something fun to do with all of these pictures is to turn them into a keepsake photo book. You could do a book on all of the crafts, drawings and projects that your child did that year to highlight their accomplishments. I think it would be fun to chronicle the progression in my child’s artistic abilities each year; from preschool stick people to more mature, detailed portraits.
- Use them as gift wrapping and embellishments. A great thing to do with your child’s colorful scribbles, drawings and paintings is to save them to use as gift wrapping paper. Grandparents will especially love this (though they may have a hard time trying not to tear it)! And smaller crafts such as ornaments and things would be a great embellishment to add to the gift as well.
- Give them as gifts. Family members, grandparents again especially, my enjoy receiving a gift handmade by your child. And your little one will feel pride in making and giving something so special.
- Reuse them. If you have a craft that you’ve decided you are ready to toss, take a minute to see if there are still valuable parts on it. My daughter recently made an egg carton caterpillar (pictured above). Before I “give it a new home” (in the recycle bin), I’m going to take the “googly” eyes and the pipe cleaner antennae off to be used again in another project. No need to waste useful materials!
- Display It. I know, I know. We don’t really want our living room to look like a Kindergarten classroom, with paintings and crafts cluttering everything. But maybe there’s a good place to display one particularly special piece of art. Maybe on a bookshelf or a tabletop. Or hang a really colorful painting in a nice frame. Even displaying these things in your child’s own room will make them feel good about what they’ve done.
- Let them play. Let your child have fun playing with the new craft they’ve made. If it’s something you want to remember, take a picture of it first. And when it’s no longer an interest to him, take the useful parts off, and toss it. Your child may get lots of use out of it before it’s time is up!
So don’t feel badly about not keeping every single thing that they make. Do something more practical and useful with them!