Doing art is so important for a child’s development – it builds fine motor skills, observation skills, decision making, and communication skills as well as supporting visual development and creativity. (Learn more about the importance of art for kids in The Art of Creating from Michigan State U, and Why Is Art Important at Preschool from Rasmussen U.)
The only problem with kids doing art is that you end up with a lot of art projects you have to figure out what to do with!
Hang it On the Fridge?
For the first few pieces your child does, you will be excited and proud and stick them to your refrigerator where you can see them every day! And then, a few months later, or a few kids later, you can’t see the front of your fridge any more, and you realize that you just can’t keep every piece of art your child does! You feel guilty just tossing it in the trash though. What are some solutions?
Some preschoolers bring home one or more easel paintings EVERY day.
With my older two kids, we had temporary displays for when a new artwork came home. For large two dimensional art (easel paintings) we had one spot in the kitchen where we could hang one piece of art per child. We would later save the very best (see below) and the others became gift wrap or went to the trash.
Display 3-D Art in Shadow Boxes
For smaller or three dimensional items, we had wood shadow box frames, which were 2 inches deep. We had four hung together on the wall (they were rectangular so we had two landscape orientation and two were portrait orientation.)
The kids got to decide what went in their shadow boxes. It could be artwork they had created, treasures they had found (dry leaves, sea glass, etc.) or gifts they had been given, or tickets to shows or memorabilia from trips, and they got to decide when to rotate things in and out.
Here are Amazon affiliate links to a couple of similar products: Frametory’s shadow box, or Golden State’s shadow box.
We did not tend to keep 3-D art, so when they decided they were done displaying it, we said goodbye and into the trash it went. See below for what we did for storage of 2D art.
Displaying 2-D Art Work in Storage Frames
I love these frames that didn’t exist when my older kids were little. They are a storage box and a display box. When your child creates a new piece, you tuck the old one in the back part of the box, and add the new one on top for display. The boxes may hold around ~30 pieces of art, so you still won’t be able to keep all your child’s art, but it could be a nice lifelong sampler of favorite pieces.
I have not purchased these but per reviews, but the L’il DaVinci looks good for hanging on a wall, and this one from American Flat may be better for setting on a table.
For choosing what size to get: it’s worth remembering that construction paper is 9 x 12, so doesn’t fit in an 8.5 x 11 frame. Easel paper is 18 x 24.
Art Storage for Posterity
When my older kids were in preschool, the school had a fundraiser where they sold cardboard art portfolio boxes that were around 18×24. Over the years, I saved a representative sample of my favorite art that my kids did. Sometimes they’d get too full, and I’d have to sort through all the pictures again to decide on a smaller set of favorites, but it gave me a lovely chance to review the progress of their artwork from preschool to college.
The closest similar product on Amazon is these 18 x 24 boxes, but they come in packs of 50, so while they’d be great for a preschool fundraiser they wouldn’t work for just one person! You could also consider an artists’ portfolio, or this archival box.
With my youngest, he just wasn’t the prolific artist the other two were when he was in preschool and elementary, and now as a middle schooler, he primarily does digital art on his computer. While we have displayed his art on the fridge, mostly we take digital photos of it or scan it and then trash / recycle it.
I think I’ve saved a few pieces in the boxes with the older kids’ art. (Being the youngest kid is rough sometimes. 🙂 ) What I may do at some point is figure out a way to create an album where we print out images of some of his best art so we have a physical keepsake, because there is something satisfying about flipping through something physical to remind you of your child’s development rather than just looking at images on a screen.
If you have other ideas for art display and storage, please comment!
Note on affiliate links. The product links are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on one and then end up purchasing something on Amazon, I get a small referral bonus at no cost to you.