Jun 10, 2011

Paper Masterpieces – Should You Purge or Preserve Your Child’s Artwork?

The Choices Team

With elementary school-aged kids packing up their lockers and desks for the summer, many parents wonder what to do with all that paper.

Parents understand the importance of paper better than anyone, as a parent’s window to their child’s school day often takes the form of spelling worksheets, perforated math workbooks and voluminous piles of artwork.

While much of the work ends up in recycling bins, many parents can’t bring themselves to part with their child’s daily coloring pages, construction-paper pilgrim hats or colorful springtime sunflower sketches. Not only is it “art,” but it captures a moment in time, representing a unique age and developmental stage that parents want to preserve.

It seems even professional artists struggle with being a “refrigerator door curator” for their kids’ artwork. This recent article from the New York Times discusses parents’ love-hate relationship with their children’s’ often-voluminous artistic output, including a perspective from a mom who’s also a painter.

Some schools have even started digitizing students’ artwork, in an effort to reduce the amount of take-home paper. A new service called Artsonia – available via subscription to schools – provides an online portal for parents to review their child’s artwork. But printing out a picture of a collage is not the same as taping the genuine article to your refrigerator.

Many parents are now rescuing their child’s artwork from the recycling bin and saving it in scrapbook-style “keepsake boxes.” Not only does this system help parents preserve their kids’ masterpieces for posterity, but it also provides an attractive alternative to haphazard stacks of paper or an overstuffed file folder.

Do you ever scan and save your child’s drawings? Do you ever mail them to grandma and grandpa? Please tell us how you display, organize and save your children’s artwork.

Or, if you prefer, take a picture of your “refrigerator gallery” and send it to CHOICES. We may display it on the site.

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