What to Do With all your Children’s Drawings and School Art Creations

Approaching the end of the last school term, it’s the time when children are sent home with all their “amazing” creations made throughout the year.

So, what do you do with all the outpouring of intellectual endeavour that’s stacking up on your kitchen bench?

Anne has two primary school-aged children and finds it a dilemma to know what to keep and what to throw away.

“If I throw anything away it has to be done in secret, in the dark, so that they don’t see it,” she said.

Man fuelling bonfire with paper.

To avoid any tears from the young ones, Anne has since adopted a more consultative approach of dealing with the growing pile of artworks.

She holds onto all the pieces brought home throughout the year, then in December she allows her children to choose half a dozen to keep.

“At the time [they’re made] they love [the artwork] and it’s the most precious thing in the world,” she told James Valentine on ABC Radio Sydney.

“But after 12 months that’s it, they don’t really want to know about it.”

Tips for reducing your children’s artworks

Other listeners suggested creative and sensitive ways of dealing with children’s artworks cluttering up the home.

  • Allow children to curate a small collection of their drawings at the end of each year.
  • Only keep items that are unique creations as opposed to ones made from stencils.
  • Use art portfolios or plastic-sleeved folders to display the best works.
  • Frame and hang the best pieces and replace the artwork once a year.
  • Take a digital photograph of each drawing before discarding.
  • Use the paper artworks as gift wrapping or Christmas ornaments.
  • Create a scrapbook with your children using their drawings.
  • Keep the most sentimental works in a shoebox for your children to look back on when they’re older.
An Christmas ornament in the shape of a butterfly made from a child's artwork.

The importance of drawing

Dr Misty Adoniou is an associate professor in language and literacy at the University of Canberra.

Through her studies she has found allowing young children to draw can positively affect their writing skills.

“If children drew before they did their writing, then they wrote more and they wrote better quality sentences,” she said.

Dr Adoniou said children should be encouraged to continue drawing throughout their later schooling years too.

“I think it’s a shame that somehow we teach [drawing] out of them.

“We should really keep it as something they should really want to do and give them an outlet.”

She also suggested for parents to include their children in the process of culling artworks.

“At least if you ask first, then you know which ones are important to them.

“And then for yourself, look at the drawings and [choose] the ones that are meaningful to you.”

Children drawing elephants with pencils.