March Parenting Tip: Turning Art into Art

March Parenting TipWhen the school day ends for our little ones, backpacks are filled with tons of adorable artwork and our children are excited for us to see their masterpieces.  Even if your child comes home with a scribble on a piece of paper that looks like nothing much to you, it’s something to him that he worked hard on and is proud of.  Showcasing your child’s artwork sends the message that you care, you are proud, and are involved with what is going on at school.  I remember when both my boys, now six and four, were in pre-school at the same time and I couldn’t keep up with the amount of projects coming home.  I loved all of them and wanted to let the kids know how proud I was of them by showing off their works of art.  My dedication to their creative expressions filled my kitchen walls with an abundance of scribbles, glitter, circles, letters and stick figures.  While it made me smile every time I walked into my kitchen, it actually looked like a pre-school threw up on my walls and it became out of control.  If there was a television show for pre-school artwork hoarders, I would be on it.  I knew I needed an “artervention”!

Through A LOT of searching online, I had finally found an organized way of showcasing children’s artwork and knew it was perfect for my house too.  I claimed back my walls, and my kitchen, and absolutely love the way my little art studio has turned out.  You can see from the picture below that there are clean lines, it doesn’t appear messy or disorganized, and is simple to switch out pictures whenever I need to.

Our wall of art!
Our wall of art!

In addition to pictures, I also like to hang awards and recognitions that my children receive, such as the Book Club Award or Listener of the Week award.  My six year old took his first spelling quiz so I of course had to hang it up, especially since he got 100%.  It is so important for children to feel recognized for their accomplishments and this is a perfect way of doing so.  When my son brings home something important from school and he sees how excited I am for him and how proud I am of him, the smile on his face is priceless.  To then see Mommy hang these items up only reinforces how important his accomplishments are to me.   This is also a great parenting and teaching tool for discussing important topics and creating a conversation to get involved with your child’s education.  For example, “I am so proud of you for receiving the Book Club Award.  How did it feel to stand up in front of your class and read a book that you created?  What topics did your classmates write about?”  “Mommy and Daddy are so excited that you got the Listening Award today at school.  Tell me how you listened to earn the award.”  It may even spark some creative art projects at home which is always fun and a great way to bond with your child.  For example, the Vegetable Eater Award or the Mommy‘s Helper award, which can then be displayed on your art wall as well.

Your art wall will also function as holiday decorations and will be a great space of themed projects that your children will bring home.  Don’t forget to switch out pictures every few weeks or whenever your child brings home a worthy piece of art, so it always has a fresh, new look.  You may be wondering what to do with the artwork after you take it down.  I actually keep everything and store in my attic as I think it will be fun to look back at everything years from now.  Eventually I will only be keeping the most memorable ones as my third son will be entering pre-school in a few years and at that point, it might get a little cluttered up there. 🙂

As a parent, when I walk into my kitchen and see all of the colorful artwork my kids have created, I feel happy.  Our wall of art creates a warm and bright atmosphere that I love.  It is really amazing to see the progress of their projects throughout the year and how much they have grown educationally.  Scribbles turn into names, stick figures come to life, and the sharing award turns into the reading award.

Next time your child comes home with a bunch of pictures in their backpacks, don’t shove their work in a pile or throw it in the garbage.  Your child will notice and may feel he either didn’t do a good enough job, that you don’t like it, or that he is not important to you.  Of course not every project needs to be showcased, as I have learned.  Pick and choose those that you like and have the most meaning to you and your child.  If it’s the first attempt of your child writing his name, showcase it.  If it’s one sticker on a piece of paper, perhaps it might not be the best choice to display.  Then again, it may be interpreted as something totally different to your child.

Have fun with designing the perfect art display for your home and family.  Mommy Masters would love to see how it turns out.  Post pictures of how you have organized your child’s artwork on Facebook , and you could win a copy of “Music is Magical”, my educational children’s CD.

(For those wondering, I purchased the hanging hardware at Ikea and it was very inexpensive!)