How to Easily Save and Share Your Child’s Art


where do i put all the art my kids make-“Where do I put all of the art my kids make?”

I get asked this question all.the.time! If you’re finding yourself reading this article, my guess is that you have tossed this question around, too!

As you may know, we live in a tiny house (here’s a look at our home maker space), and storing art is a real issue for us. Even if you live in a big space with plenty of storage, I wouldn’t be surprised if storing and saving art also has you in a bind.

Today I’m sharing a few ideas that we’ve tried (successfully) with the hope that some (or all) of them will work for you.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. I only include links to items that I adore or that I think you’ll find valuable.

HOW TO STORE ART

1. Use an Art App like Keepy

keepy app

Save your kids’ memories and remove the clutter.

If you’re ready to pitch (ahem, recycle) the art, you could go with an app like Keepy. I was introduced to Keepy about two years ago, and I’ve been using it to save photos of my children and of their artwork. The basic app is free with the option of signing up for a small¬†annual fee of $9.99, which includes unlimited uploads.

keepy mobile kids art

There are a few things I really like about the app:

    • One the BEST features of Keepy is that you can have your child add their voice recording to an image and DESCRIBE their artwork. This is an amazing way to preserve memories. On top of that, your fans (grandparents!) can leave voice memos back!
    • You can invite family members to join and get access to all of the photos that you share. This can be so much easier than sending texts with photos, although I do both ūüôā
    • It’s 100% private, unless, of course, you want to share.
    • The photos are organized by child, so you can easily find images or artwork and add them to individual timelines. If you have a photo of multiple children, you can easily tag them both or all and the photo goes into all of the buckets.
    • You can easily turn¬†photos or artwork into photo albums or objects. I just ordered a set of mugs as holiday gifts for cousins, and the entire process took around 5 minutes.

See Keepy in action here ‚¨áÔłŹ

2. Invest in an Art Portfolio

portfolio kids art

Store your favorite pieces in a bound portfolio.

My youngest daughter was in a fabulous Young Fives program, and her teacher had all of the parents invest in an oversized art portfolio¬†to keep our memories for the year. We saved examples of our child’s artwork for the entire school year, and then spent a day or so tucking them into the portfolio. I loved the process and outcome so much that I went ahead and invested in more portfolios so that I could go back and save my older daughter’s work as well.

Portfolio for kids art

To give you a sense of scale, I’ve added some common toys and objects. This is the largest portfolio at 18″ x 24″. It’s large and bulky, but a lovely option for those of us memory keepers who don’t like to toss things.

3. Turn Your Art into a Photo Album

mixbook arts and craftsLose the cluter and keep the art in one easy-to-find spot. And make a copy for grandma ūüôā

I’ve been a huge fan of companies like Shutterfly and Mixbook¬†for everything from business cards to photo albums. My friend Jill at Catch My Party¬†recently hosted a party with Mixbook, and¬†I have fallen in love with this company.

The quality is incredible and the interface so easy to use. I just made three 2016 photo albums for family members and ordered our holiday cards from them.

Because I never took the time to make a photo album of arts and crafts when my kids were little, I’m now in the process of digging up old photos to create a memory book of my kids’ art. Given that my children are now 6 and 8, this seems daunting to go back and find all the work, but I’m finding that it’s not too bad, and actually a pretty enjoyable trip down memory lane to look at all the old photos and work.

mixbook arts and crafts

You can create your own spreads with tons of layout and design options, and they also offer a really cute “Arts and Crafts” book template for those of us who are short on time. I’m a DIY gal, but I love the template and I know my kids will enjoy looking at the whimsical layout.

Here’s what I love about Mixbook:

  • The interface is ridiculously easy to use.
  • The templates are fresh and gorgeous.
  • There are 100’s of DIY options for those who like to create their own look.
  • The quality and aesthetics of the merchandise is high.
  • They are always offering amazing deals. At the time of writing this, they’re offering a¬†fabulous 40% off site-wide, and¬†50% off orders over $100. I used this code and saved over $100!

4. Find Display Cabinet Frames that Open

childrens art frame cabinetDisplay special or seasonal pieces in this frame.

This 8.5″ x 11″ frame¬†is designed to hold multiple pieces of children’s art. My dear friend Sarah has these in her kitchen for her three children, and swears by them. She often swaps out the work inside to reflect the season or what her children are currently working on.

DSC_0263-e1346050041714

My kids went to a preschool that made these useful frames that have a slot in the back that can hold up to ten paintings. With the high level of paintings that came into our home, these got a lot of use. You can read more about how we hang art in our home here.

5. Store Art in a Large Container

Save favorite artworks in an air-tight bin. 

This is least fancy option of the bunch, but it works for those of us who just can’t get around to storing and making decisions about art. I’m sure Marie Kondo would have a thing or two to say about this, but let’s be real. Amidst the chaos of parenting small people, not all of us can muster the time and energy to organize art. And you can always go back and photograph it for your art app when you have some time.

I know this is less than glamorous, but it is practical for those who are short on time and big on storage. Get a weathertight bin like this one so keep moisture and critters out, which is extra important if you’re storing this in a garage or basement.

kids art storage

How to Organize Art Supplies

Now, if you’re wondering how to organize all of your art supplies, I’ve got you covered:

How to Set up and Art Cart

Organize a Self-Serve Creativity Zone

Simple Art Supply Organization Ideas

Read my best-selling book and get tips on how to foster creativity and independent thinking at home: TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors

Six Arts Advocacy Quotes

Art Advocacy for Children’s Art in Schools

The arts have been proven to improve academic achievement, spark innovation, and strengthen the economy. With school arts budget cuts and limited community resources for the arts, most of us can all rally behind a strong need to bring more attention to why the arts are relevant and important to the prosperity of our society.

If, like me, you feel passionate about the importance of the arts and see a need to help others understand their value, you’re in a position to champion for their inclusion in schools and the greater community. How? You can start by sharing these quotes or others like them via social media. Spread the word and help raise consciousness for creativity.

Here are six quotes that you can use to help spread the message that the arts matter. Feel free to share widely.

art quote albert einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ¬†~Albert Einstein

art quote william bennet

“The arts are an essential element of education, jus like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.” ~William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

art quote picasso

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~Pablo Picasso

art quote jacob bronowski

“Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of wha he created.” ~Jacob Bronowski

ar quote henry james

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” ~Henry James
art quote george washington

“To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country.” ~George Washington

dashed lineFor Families and Teachers (1)

TinkerLab is your one-stop resource for process-focused art activities for children. Hosted by best-selling author and Harvard-educated art teacher, Rachelle Doorley, TinkerLab leads from a philosophy that’s learner-centered.

Do you struggle to find time for art?

I’ve curated child-tested art experiences that will help you find more quality time to spend with your kids.

Get a free activity from my book, an invitation to join Club TinkerLab, weekly art updates (emails), and access to the Art Start Challenge.

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Art Workshop for Children | Simple Frame Paintings

What a privilege it is to share Barbara Rucci’s gorgeous book, Art Workshop for Children¬†(affiliate), with you today. It’s hot off the press and¬†making itself quite comfortable in our home. I handed it to my 8-year old who wanted to try just about every activity in this book (anyone who says process art is just for preschool children should be ignored!).

art workshop for children

For this first stop on Bar’s book tour, we wanted to share something simple that anyone could do at home (simple materials all the way — that’s my motto!), we chose the well-named “Simple Frame Paintings.” I hope this gives you a taste of what’s inside the pages of Barbara’s book, and maybe even inspires you to try it today.

What’s inside the book:

  • 25 process art experiences
  • beautifully written essays on children and art by Reggio-inspired educator Betsy McKenna
  • colorful photos that you’ve come to love from Bar’s popular blog, ArtBar Blog.
  • Tips for art making
  • Variations to try next time
  • Examples of what real children have said when they tried the activities
  • Also, the book is flexibound, which makes for an easy page-turning experience. Seems like a minor thing, but it makes a big difference.

If you go to Amazon, you can see the full table of contents and get a deep look inside the book.

And here’s a little peek inside…

Art workshop for children long

It’s beautiful, right? Okay, on to Workshop 1: Simple Frame Paintings…

Simple Frame Paintings

Supplies

  • Watercolor Paper
  • Tape (painter or washi)
  • Watercolors
  • Water bowl or glass of water
  • Paper Towel
  • Paintbrushes
  • Piece of cardboard (optional)

Simple frame paper

Step one

Tape around the edge of the paper to create a white frame. This is such an easy¬†step that makes the art look incredible in the end, and I’m kicking myself for never trying this quick framing tip before. Genius!

You can tape it to cardboard so your child can easily move the work around or tape it directly to the table. We tried both, and it certainly helps to have a glass table in moments like this!

Step two

Invite your child to paint.

That’s it! Easy, right?

Step three

When it’s dry, peel off the tape. This part was pure magic for the kids. I offered to help them, but they really wanted to do this themselves. Heads up: try to use low-tack/low-stick tape if you don’t want it to peel your paper off with it.

frame tape collage

My kids enjoyed seeing the “Variations for Next Time” ideas and pulled out a couple rulers to experiment with adding lines. Bar also suggests making radial designs and adding oil pastels or crayons for a wax/oil resist experience. That would also be lovely

Not only was the process fun (hey, my children couldn’t stop with just one — so that’s a great sign), but the paintings also look amazing¬†on the wall.

simple frame paintings

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Order your copy of Art Workshop for Children today. You won’t be disappointed — I promise!

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art workshop

The Art Habit is Here!

THE ART HABIT HEADER

Starts October 30, 2016

Your family’s art practice doesn’t have to take a back-burner for lack of time or organization.

The Art Habit is a 5-week Experience that will put more artistic intention, ease, and a boost of creativity into¬†your family’s life.

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The Art Habit is a brand new TinkerLab Experience, and I’m looking for a handful of committed parents and teachers to join me on its beta launch.

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Would you like to…

  • have more time
  • get help setting¬†up art projects for children of multiple ages
  • set up projects that are cost conscious
  • find more room for art or have a better organized space
  • learn how to set up activities without losing your mind
  • make more of your own art
  • support¬†your child’s creative thinking and problem solving skills through art making
  • have a curated plan that took care of all the planning so you spend time doing the things you love?

If any of these sound like you, then The Art Habit has your back. I’d like to invite you to join me as a founding member of the beta release of this experience. Sign up here!

After going through this program, you will:

  • feel more connection with¬†your child
  • support your child‚Äôs creative thinking and problem solving skills
  • connect with¬†your¬†own untapped creative genius
  • have more time to do the things you¬†care about¬†because The Art Habit provides you with a curated plan, saving you planning and research time.

WHAT'S INSIDE

Structure of The Art Habit

This is a 5-week art experience for families with young children who want to bring more art into their homes with grace, calm, and joy.

Week 1: Prepare, organize, shop for supplies

Weeks 2-5: Process-based art activities, conversations and feedback in closed Facebook group with access to Rachelle, journal reflections, sketchbook prompts for parents

We will take a week off for Thanksgiving, although I’ll share some light bonus activities for that week, essentially making this a 6-week experience.

art habit examples

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Read more about The Art Habit here.

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Claim your spot in The Art Habit here.

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Downloadable Chore Chart

Could you use a little extra boost to encourage your child to help out around the house?

I needed this, which is why I designed this chore chart.

My kids have had casual chores for a while and this is how it would always go: When I needed help setting the table, folding laundry, or sweeping floors, I’d ask them to pitch in. And most of them time they would willingly help. But sometimes these requests were met with cranky attitudes and maybe even a whiny, “Mooooom, I’m busy, do I haaaave to?” Right. Are you familiar with this?

On top of that, I was starting to sense an air of entitlement. So I started researching the importance of chores for kids and found that kids who actively participate in chores are more empathetic, have better relationships with family and friend, and have higher self-esteem to name a few. Read Why Chores are Good for Kids for more on the benefits of chores.

To make it stop and bring more sanity to my life and theirs, I worked out a chore chart that’s now magnetized to our fridge. We print it out weekly, the kids write their names at the top, and we fill in the chores for the week. These usually stay the same, but there’s flexibility to delete those that aren’t working out and add jobs that need tackling.

Downloadable Chore Chart

If you’d like to download our fill-in-the-chore chart plus chore ideas for kids ages 3-18, you can download it here.¬†And please let me know how this works for you!

Read more about Chores for Kids

Why Chores are Good for Kids

Chore Ideas for Kids

Chore Ideas for Kids Organized by Age

Chore Ideas by Age

When children are involved in household chores, they’re more empathetic, less self-centered, and research shows that they will become more successful adults. Read this article, the first in this series, on why chores are important: Why Chores are Good for Kids.

You’re probably here because you already know that chores are important and you’d love a list of ideas to put on a chore chart.

Chore Ideas by Age

The following chores are merely a guideline based on general developmental abilities and attention spans. You know your child and family needs best, so feel free to move these chores up or down into different age categories as you like. Pick and choose the chores that you would like your child to work on and add them to your weekly chore chart.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing chores:

  1. Children will be more invested if they choose their own chores
  2. Chosen chores should help the entire family, not just the child
  3. Be encouraging, yet limit praise around chores
  4. Limit the number of chores so children feel success and accomplishment

chore ideas for kids

Little Kids/Preschool/2-5

Pick up toys

Put laundry in the hamper

Color sort laundry

Bring in the mail

Help prepare dinner (salad tossing in the photo above)

Feed pet/s

Make bed

Wipe dining table

Dusting

Help carry in light groceries

Set part or all of the table

Big Kids/Elementary/6-11

Make bed

Set the table

Simple food prep or help

Clear breakfast table

Wash dishes

Fold laundry

Put clothes away

Vacuum

Sweep Floors

Take out garbage

Make breakfast

Make school lunch

Load/Unload dishwasher/drying rack

Wash the car

Put groceries away

Rake leaves

Bigger Kids/Middle and High School/12-18

Iron clothes

Clean bathroom

Cook a meal

Yard work

Babysit younger siblings

Get the customizable Chore Chart Here. The chart is part of a 5-page downloadable PDF that includes the list of chore ideas.

chore chart and ideas

Chore Chart Template

You might also like to read this article: Why Chores are good for kids:

Why chores are good for kids

 

 

 

Why Chores are Good for Kids

We all know that helping out around the house is important. But did you know¬†research shows¬†that¬†children who participate in family chores, starting at ages 3-4, are more successful in their 20’s.(Marty Rossmann, University of Minnesota, 2002). There is still hope for those of us with older kids, but it does get harder as children get older.

According to Rossmann’s research, the later you start, the harder it is to catch up. If children are introduced to chores at a later age, there’s a greater chance that they will be¬†more self-centered and will not see the value of pitching into¬†help¬†the greater good of the entire family.

Why chores are good for kids

My girls are 6 and 8, and while we have always included some chores in their weekly diet, my awareness of this research is prompting me to step my game up. Big time. No more “can you please help mommy by putting your toys away?” or “please put your plate in the sink after dinner.” These are nice, respectful questions, but they also make me the keeper of housework and household accountability. We’ve been playing with chore charts for a few weeks and I love how my girls know exactly what’s expected of them. They can do it at their own pace and all I have to do is remind them to check the chart.

Aside from falling off the bandwagon a few times: a birthday, grandparents visiting, and an overnight camping trip, the chart has been a success and my fingers are crossed that my kids will continue building toward some of the many benefits and values that come from doing chores.

Why chores are good for kids

Benefits of chores

Children will:

  • be more empathetic
  • have better relationships with family and friends
  • have higher self-esteem
  • be better at delaying gratification (read up on Stanford’s Famous Marshmallow Experiment for more on that)
  • be¬†more responsible
  • be¬†better prepared to get through difficult or uncomfortable life events
  • be¬†less self-centered
  • learn the value of hard work
  • be¬†held accountable
  • practice discipline

This article, Why Children Need Chores, is a fun read.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing chores:

  1. Children will be more invested if they choose their own chores
  2. Chosen chores should help the entire family, not just the child
  3. Be encouraging and limit praise around chores
  4. Limit the number of chores so children feel success and accomplishment

If you’re looking for chore ideas, I put together this full list of 32¬†Chore Ideas for Kids, organized by age.

chore ideas for kids

We’re tried all sorts of tools for encouraging our children (now ages 6 and 8) to help out around the house: gentle nagging, not-so-gentle nagging, laminated cards with chores on them, and simple hand-written charts. I finally gave up and created a printable chore chart that we can print off at the beginning of each week. It’s working for us so I made one for you to use.

Get a Customizable Chore Chart

If you’d like to grab your own ready-to-go, customizable chore chart, click here.

free chore chart

  1. Print it out weekly
  2. This chore chart includes blank spaces that you can write chores into. This keeps it flexible so you can change chores each week.
  3. There’s room at the top for your child to write his or her name. Use stickers, markers, colored pencils. Have fun personalizing it.
  4. Your child can x, check, or draw pictures in the boxes
  5. Some of the chores on my list are daily and others like “clean the hamster cage” are¬†weekly. For non-daily chores, you could leave blank or pre-fill the boxes with color or checks.
  6. You can print this in color or black and white.
  7. Bonus: This PDF also includes a complete list of chore ideas for children ages 2-18.

chore chart and ideas

Art Experiment | Glue Art on Paper

GLUE ART ON PAPER

Glue Art on Paper is a process-based art activity that will lead to surprising discoveries and build creative confidence in kids.

If you’re finding yourself here, chances are that you have a young child and/or see the benefits of experimenting with art materials. Process-based art is a meaningful way for young children to grow as makers and for adults to take an well-needed art break that’s good for the soul.

There are so many benefits to playing and experimenting with art supplies — for both kids and adults:

  1. It’s relaxing
  2. Taking time to create can be meditative
  3. New discoveries come through experiments
  4. It builds confidence and knowledge of tools and materials

This project can be done with children as young as three.

Supplies

I link to the best priced/highest quality art supplies on Amazon. These are affiliate links.

GLUE EXPERIMENT ON PAPER

GLUE PAINT ON PAPER

The Set-up

  1. Squeeze liquid watercolors into your ice cube tray or separate bowls. We used 4 colors. A variety of colors is useful for this project as it encourages color experiments.
  2. You can use one pipette or different pipettes for each color. We chose to used two. This led to colors mixing, which we didn’t mind.
  3. Set up one sheet of watercolor paper, glue bottle, pipette (on top of the ice cube tray), and a skewer.
  4. Squeeze glue circles onto the paper.
  5. With the pipette, squeeze a few drops of liquid watercolor on the glue circles
  6. Invite your child move the paint through the glue in whatever way he or she likes.
  7. Older children can practice fine motor skills by squeezing their own glue and drops of liquid watercolors on the glue.

Take it further

Once you have this preliminary test under your belt, ask yourself or your child, “what else can we do with these materials?” Be open to new experiments and ideas. You may be surprised where it takes you. Some ideas:

  1. Add small pieces of paper to make collages.
  2. Press stickers onto paper and make glue designs on top of them. Will you be able to see the stickers when the glue dries?
  3. Play with glue and watercolors on top of wax paper. When it dries, can you peel the designs off the paper?

For more activities like this, along with tools for setting up a home space that supports creative growth, the Family Art Guide is designed just for you.