Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 12, 2005, Herald Journal

Displaying and keepsaking a child’s creations


My five-year-old daughter had a play date at our home the other day with a friend, and they engaged in some fun finger painting projects. When they were finished with their “Picasso pictures,” they proclaimed, “We’ll hang them on the ‘fridge.”

Whoever makes refrigerators should really begin selling them as fine art museum showcases, as well as a place to put perishable items, because I am sure that many families’ refrigerators throughout the world are filled with pictures, portraits, schedules, and lists, to the extent that one cannot tell the real color of the appliance.

School has started and it is that time of the year again when our children will bring home many wonderful show-and-tell items that they have created with their very own hands and minds, and we are the very lucky recipients of these masterpieces.

With our children’s handiwork and creations, comes the realization and observation that our precious ones are growing up way too fast and their skills are progressing. We must find ways to showcase their masterpieces and demonstrations of their growth, because the refrigerator just can’t handle all of it.

Besides, if any of you are like me, I have a hard time throwing away anything my children have created.

With the help of FamilyFun magazine, April, 2005 and Parenting, February, 2005, I will pass along a variety of avenues for showcasing and savoring our children’s masterpieces.

As the year goes along, my children and I design and create scrapbooks that they can call their own and that hold memories of the year, including samples of artwork, class work, certificates earned, newspaper clippings, and yearly memoirs. I purchase stickers that my kids each like to decorate their scrapbooks with.

I know there are a lot of scrapbook pros out there that can embellish and deck out those scrapbooks, so the scrapbooks, themselves, are works of art. But I just keep it simple, with the help of my kids.

Of course, bulletin boards are also great ways to rotate your children’s display of work, and there are some pretty neat-looking bulletin boards out there now in different shapes and colors, and made out of various materials. I have seen bulletin boards shaped in the form of sport balls, various animals, ballet shoes, automobiles, flowers, and many others, which makes it fun to personalize your child’s interests.

My children each have a bulletin board decorated with material and attached ribboning to hold the pictures in place. These have become very popular and are relatively easy to make with a board, stapler, chosen material, and ribbon.

The children could choose the material and ribbon they like to personalize it, as well. The department stores usually have lots of scrap material on clearance that one could browse through to find something appropriate at a good price.

My family also has an “art wall” on the stairwell going to the playroom in the basement, that we can view each time we go to play. Some of the art is displayed in frames, and other pieces are hung with tacky putty that comes off easily. The pictures in the frames are also held with the putty and changed and rotated throughout the year.

Another neat way to organize and display your children’s artwork is to take pictures of the creations and display the pictures in a scrapbook or picture album from year-to-year. This is a wonderful way for you and your children to observe how their work has changed over the course of their “growing up.”

Create or get doubles of the pictures and display them under a see-through plastic tablecloth on your table. Or, using tacky glue, such as Elmer’s Tack ‘n’ Stick, you could hang the original pictures that your child creates, or the photos of their work, as a border in your child’s room, or on their door. What a neat way to personalize your child’s room – with none other than his or her own creations. And don’t forget to date the artwork or photos.

Besides taking pictures, videotaping your child sharing school memories at the beginning of the year and at the end (and more if you like) is a wonderful way to capture their thoughts and keepsake their growth and memories from year-to-year.

For storing artwork and other memories, using under-the-bed storage containers also works well.

Grandparents are special

Grandparents can be very special people in our lives and the lives of our children, and they contribute in countless ways to our children’s well-being. So, it is very appropriate that a day has been designated as national Grandparents Day.

According to the website, www.grandparents-day.com, and contrary to many who believe the observance of Grandparents Day has commercial roots, it is because of the persistence and dedication of Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, from West Virginia, that the Sunday after Labor Day each year is designated national Grandparents Day.

It was declared a holiday in the United States by the US congress in 1978, and the congressional proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter.

Although Grandparents Day is past for this year, it is never too late to show and express appreciation to a grandparent or a grandparent figure.

Grandparents love pictures of their grandchildren, so here’s an easy-to-make frame to display a picture of your child to give to grandma and/or grandpa. This idea is from www.enchantedlearning.com

Using twigs, twine or string, glue, and, of course, a photo, your child can create a rustic twig frame. Collect two bunches of twigs, with one bunch of about six to eight twigs being about two inches longer than the photo, and the other bunch being about two inches wider than your photo.

Arrange the twigs so that they surround the photo and extend outward about an inch in each direction. Tie the twigs at each corner using twine or string, making an “X” pattern.

Glue the photo onto the back of your frame (hot glue works well, the website noted). Glue a small loop of string to the top bunch of twigs for hanging the wonderful photo.

Grandparents love gifts that were made by the minds and hands of their beloved little ones, and also like to boast about their children and grandchildren. Exhibit a creation that your child made for grandma and/or grandpa by having the creation scanned onto a t-shirt or shirts that grandparents can wear to proudly display their grandchild’s work.

And, of course, the best gift of all that we can give a grandparent is to give of ourselves in time and love. And that does not have to just happen on Grandparents Day!

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“The best and most beautiful gifts in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

– Helen Keller