Your Child's Artwork

Is your fridge door overflowing with your child's artwork? Or are their creations brought home and put away somewhere never to be seen and admired again? Here's some ideas to help show your child how much you value their artwork or to keep some for them to enjoy when they are older. You’re sure to find great ideas to suit you from this list.


If you have an old ring binder folder, cut artwork to size if necessary, and punch some holes neatly in the side. Store artwork away in the ring binder with the newest work on top. Your child will love to flip the pages to see their work, and the folders can be easily stored on a bookshelf.


Using the plastic covers of CD's, Videos, and Cassettes, empty out the original paper liners, and insert a piece of your child's artwork cut to the appropriate size. A bright painting using bold colours will look good. The CD's can be hung on the wall in groups to form a small gallery. If you don't have any old CD holders or cassette holders, try obtaining some surplus or scratched ones from a music shop.


Choose one or two really special pieces of your child's artwork and consider having them professionally laminated at a photo shop. They can be used as place mats at the table, or coffee coasters, to sit under pot plants to provide a colourful protection to tables, as drawer liners, given away as original gifts to doting grandparents, or just kept as a nice piece of artwork that will be long lasting.


Use a large painting or collage work for the basis of a calendar. Old calendars can be used or buy a calendar pad from a stationery shop. If you have access to a computer with a publishing package on it, calendars can be printed up in a jiffy to provide a base for your child's painting. If you hang it up in your child's room or on the back of the toilet door or wall, your child will learn thedays of the week, months of the year and counting skills.


Find a nice flat of cut of wood, (something light coloured like Radiata or Baltic pine), sand until smooth, and then encourage your child to paint on it with long lasting acrylic

paint. Even an abstract design using lots of colour will look good, or they could dip hands or feet into paint and then press onto the wood. When dry, name and date it, and spray with a coat of clear lacquer (available from hardware shops) to preserve it. To display, hang on the wall, sit on a mantle piece or china cabinet or use in the kitchen to sit your teapot on, or to brighten up a windowsill.


Once your child begins to do regular artwork, choose the best you can find over the period of a year, then buy a frame to hang it in, or have it properly framed at a photo shop. Hang up somewhere prominent like in the lounge or hallway, so that visitors can also admire your child's artwork.


Cut out some of the more colourful and interesting parts of several of your child's artwork creations, and glue them onto folded pieces of thin coloured cardboard to make cards. Or you could ask your child to decorate the front of a card depending on their age and ability, using sponge painting techniques or glue and glitter or sparkly crayons. The back of envelopes can also be lightly painted or decorated to match the cards.


Decide what you want to decorate i.e. a plain T-shirt, shorts, sweat shirt, white sandshoes, a material bag, a cot or bed quilt, a hat etc. Take to a photo shop that advertises image transferring along with one of your child's best plain drawings and ask them to transfer the image onto the clothing for you. Your children will love to wear their own creations. This is especially good if your child doesn't like to wear hats as you may find they will wear their own special one. Alternatively, decorate a piece of clothing or pillow case, using special crayons, paints or glitter, that won't come off in the wash.


By cutting up one of your child's boldest and brightest paintings into little strips, you can glue them onto the top of plain sheets of paper, to make interesting and original writing paper for yourself or them to use. Wrap the sheets in a bundle with raffia or a pretty coloured ribbon and then store in a box, or give away as a gift. Envelopes can also be decorated in the same way to make a complete writing set.


Once in a while, gather together some of your child's best paintings, collages, models, drawings etc, and put them on display somewhere. You could use a large cork memo board, a wall in the rumpus or play room, in a bedroom or pin to the fence outside and invite your friends and their children over for refreshments. You could even invite your friend’s children to participate in the event by bringing along some of their own work to display. If you like, hand out pieces of chalk and let the children draw on the pavement while the adults admire the work on display.


If your child likes to do models of animals etc, using play dough, salt dough, plastercine or proper modelling clay, air dry or bake them before painting and then display somewhere on your china cabinet, a dressing table or on the top of your coffee table for visitors to admire too. If they make practical items like a vase, bowl, or soap dish, be sure to use to help demonstrate how useful the things they make can be.


Teach your child how to pick and press flowers. They can then be made into bookmarks and covered in plastic or put on the front of envelopes to collect coupons or receipts in, or for pictures. They can add some swirls of colour around the pressed flowers with paint or glitter to liven them up.


Take one of your child's best drawings, and copy it in pencil onto something like a pillowcase, handkerchief, library bag etc. Then if you are able, embroider or do cross stitch around the design to preserve it for your child to use, enjoy and keep for time to come.


Even a scrap of painted paper or a quick painting can be quickly stuck up on display somewhere such as your memo board or hung on the side of your desk at home or work. Fathers who drive trucks, work in shops, or in offices for example, can have a little piece of their child's artwork hanging up somewhere.


Many home made toys can be made for your child or a younger sibling or as a gift that requires some artwork by your child. Encourage them to be involved whenever you are making something crafty. They might like to decorate a toy box, art box, and a rubbish bin or pencil holder with their own designs.


Save some of your child's better artwork, and use as wrapping paper for presents for friends and relatives. Wrap neatly and add a bow or ribbon for extra effect. At Christmas you could provide your child with lots of red and green crayons, felt tips, pens, glitter, etc and encourage a Christmas looking theme, with snowmen and holly if they are able to draw properly. It will mean original and inexpensive wrapping paper that makes the most of recycling.


Use these to encourage your child's regular drawing and writing practice. They can easily be stored away as a tidy unit to keep for their future, especially their first writing book. Scrapbooks are also large enough to store the best artwork you want to save in them. Lie flat somewhere away from light and dampness. The front of the book can be covered with a piece of your child's work to personalise their own book, and then covered with plastic to protect it.


A small drawing on a piece of cardboard can be covered with cover seal plastic and then have a magnet attached to the back of it. It can be useful in the kitchen or given away as a unique gift.


Clear plastic photo frames that are quite inexpensive to buy can be used to display a latest piece of artwork. They usually sit on your desk or bench top and can be changed regularly by slipping out the old picture and inserting a new one.


Get your child involved in home paper-mache -making with strips of newspaper and loads of glue. You can use an old photo frame or a piece of cardboard cut out into a frame shape as a basis to start with. Finish by decorating with shells, pasta, plastic animals glued on etc, and then paint and lacquer. These make great gifts as well as just having a few around the house to put your own photographs in. This theme of paper mache can be extended to make all sorts of interesting things with a little imagination.


Buy a plain box of tissues and encourage your child to decorate it using bold colours.

A relative will love to receive such a personalised gift.

Howick, New Zealand

Ross and Victoria have three children, Keegan, Cayden and Jaymee.


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