see all cities »


Kiddie art, and what to do with it

A couple weeks ago I posted about a birthday party my youngest was attending.ร‚ย The hosts had requested that the gifts were to be handmade or secondhand. We decided to give the birthday girl some original artwork (painted by my youngest) and tuck it into a secondhand frame.

Pictured here is a version of what we came up with. I’m not sure who was more excited about it, me, or my daughter. (You can click the image to enlarge.)

Neat eh? But what should we do with the REST of the art that’s lying all around the house?

When my kids were younger they seemed to come home with piles of artwork every day.

The issue of children’s art can be a pretty touchy subject. More specifically, what to do with your children’s art can be a sore point at home when the kids are unwillingly witness to Recycling in Action.

The conversation begins innocently enough. It often happens when they catch you with their artwork in hand, poised over the recycling bin.

“I thought it would be a good idea to recycle this painting,” you say cheerily, helpfully, because you can’t remember what your fridge looks like underneath the layers of art and you’ve decided that you need to clear a space RIGHT NOW.


“You made it a year ago,” you add, looking closer at the work in question. “In fact, it looks like you were trying to get some brown paint off your brush or something. Actually, I’m not even sure it’s a painting…” Your words trail off because you suddenly look up and notice that the baby blues staring back at you are starting to well up. And overflow. Egads.

The words finally come, punctuated with hiccups: “B-But mom! That was a painting of a bearrrrrrrr!”

Oh, don’t you feel like a terrible parent. So what is a mom supposed to do?

I had a few ideas in a past post about household art. My favourite thing to do (to this day!) is to either scan the art (if it’s small enough) or take a photo. The latter works especially well if it’s 3D art. For example, we once had a couple of ร‚ย “snowmen” kicking around the house that were made out of white tube socks stuffed with sand. And leaking all over the place. CLICK.

Other things we’ve done with kiddie art include:

  • wrapping gifts in large preschool paintings (in fact we’ve had great success with this)
  • laminating smaller pieces and creating placemats for the dining room table
  • cutting up paintings and making bookmarks, gift cards and gift tags

What advice do you have for parents who can’t deal with the influx of art? Other than not getting caught recycling it? ๐Ÿ˜‰


Mother of two imps and wife of one. Writer, photographer, pro blogger, adventure-seeker, Ottawaholic, social media evangelist and lover of STUFF. Also known as @missfish on Twitter.

6 Responses to “Kiddie art, and what to do with it”

[…] And on Tuesdays I spend my creative energies elsewhere. Over at the UsedEverywhere blog today I’m writing about kiddie art and what to do with it. Please join me there. I would love to hear your two […]



Not getting caught is the best. But the trickiest. I try to take pictures, too, but they still protest the actual disposal.



    It’s hard to say goodbye sometimes! I get that. ๐Ÿ™‚


When my girls were younger and the art work got to that stage, we would package it all up and mail it off to Grandma (who lived interstate)….that way Grandma got to see it….and dispose of it leaving me in the clear. LOL



Each of our three has an art bin – a large rubbermaid box that we keep in their closet. Around three or four times a year I go through the massive pile of artwork that has built up and sort it into four piles – recycle, Grandma A, Grandma B, and art box. The kids know this goes on and are usually happy to be left out of the sorting process – if I try to let them decide, it ends in tears. Instead, I do it behind closed doors and the fact that some things get saved seems to be enough to make them happy. They can spend hours sifting through their art box.

Now, when the art boxes get full…I don’t know what I’ll do!

Love that painting your daughter made. She’s really talented.



    Thank you! And I love the idea of sorting the art between the two Grandmas! Brilliant.

Leave a Reply