Children paintings, toddlers doodling, handiworks … a toilet paper roll mannequin, a paper plate clown and abstract children finger paint drawings. All these things naturally pile up over time with our little ones.
While I am more than happy about my little one delving into creative work at home and at the day nursery, I constantly feel torn. We are torn between proudly keeping every single piece of his baby years and toddler years of memorable drawings and scribblings, created with enthusiasm while overcoming obstacles and learning new skills – and the natural temptation to keep only selected child souvenirs in a treasure chest just for our boy. This way our toddler will not become an honoured member of Messies Anonymus before he is finished kindergarten.
A recent article in the Independent stated that an
average child will produce more than 2,000 arts and crafts pieces for their parents before they reach the age of 12.
Well. Two thousand arts and crafts … for one single child!
Let us share with you four ways which help us all to be an appreciative and responsible parent/carer. Yes, it is possible to stay on top of things when it comes to the collection of those two thousand arts and crafts produced by your child:
- Let go of things! As a mother of a toddler, I am his biggest fan and I respect and value his every baby effort and achievement, plus I have a soft spot for nostalgia. Therefore, when his daddy says we have to make room in our basement, sorting out and binning my little one’s handcraft is incredibly hard for me. However, there is a certain percentage of that pile of arts and crafts, which has only two or three lines on them. Admittedly, I have so many better choices in my pile to keep memories alive. Another per centage of that pile is repetitive. Putting the kid paintings all next to each other makes it easy for me to have the light bulb moment. So, let us consistently get rid of those ones. You might be surprised, how the pile looks after this first exercise. I was.
- Create an incredibly easy win-win and make his grandparents happy! In a second step, I selected - together with my little boy - one art piece for every grandparent. We went together to buy matching picture frames; we wrapped our beautiful gifts together and proudly handed them over as Christmas presents to the grandparents. In our case, the grandparents just loved these unique gifts and each time we visit their homes, my little boy can see his artworks hanging on their walls. Well, win-win for every single party.
- Keep some of the kid arts and crafts (now, jump for joy)! In a third step, I selected for every child development step and each childhood stage a handful of the most beautiful, meaningful and representative arts and crafts pieces – for the above-mentioned toddler treasure chest. Call me a keeper, but I have a big smile on my face when I open one special box my mother gave me when I moved into my first own apartment. She collected some of my drawings, scribblings, handcraft from when I was a child and I am truly happy about that. That is why I do the same here. Ok, it is not only for my little boy. I do it for me and my own well-being and peace of mind as well. Fair enough.
- Say cheese! By now, I am facing a much smaller pile of my child’s arts and crafts. But, still a pile. Of all the remaining „Hot or not “-pieces I take pictures. At the end of the year, I will prepare another photobook with all the memories of one year. This time I will include pictures of his creative work as well - as single photos or as abstract backgrounds. Work done, task completed, happy ending. My boy and his daddy can rejoice when going through this personal photobook album.
On a different note: Some of our CUKIBO personalised children books contain beautifully illustrated pages, which explicitly invite the little ones to scribble down their thoughts, ideas and notes. In this case, we have the precious artwork included in your child story book. By doing so, unique drawings and memories are created without adding to the pile of arts and crafts. Thumbs up!
Oh... and maybe I keep some of step 4 for my gift wrap paper pile. I am sure it makes some gifts even more personal and impressive... :)