Organizing Children’s Artwork

You know how your child comes home from Sunday School, preschool or another organized activity, and they show you their coloring page with a couple scribbles of two or three colors on it? You get down to their level, put on your proudest face, and with as much excitement you can muster you say something along the lines of, “Oh Wow! Did you make this? This is amazing! Good job! Tell me about it!” And either the child goes in to an elaborate story about how the bear on the boat is eating a grilled cheese and playing with his friend on the cloud, while pointing emphatically to what seems like random scribbles and almost discernible shapes, or, they smile, say “uh huh!” and run off to play with anything else that grabs their attention.

You’re with me, right? Okay. So, if you’re familiar with this scenario, then you’ll probably be in agreement that this happens A LOT. And these papers tend to pile up. And pile up. And get knocked off counters, and get spilled on the floor. And get left in the car. And get trampled in the car and you’re left with Noah, his ark, and a big muddy footprint.

I’m the kind of mom that gets that twinge of guilt every time I throw something my child has created away. I mean, he worked hard on this. She has a story to tell with this. This is the first paper that showed he could draw circles. She wrote in big letters across the top “I LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD”. I like to look back at their artwork. So, for the past six years, I’ve had a tote that I’d throw all Peanut’s papers in. I went through it once. It was a big mess. I didn’t know when anything was made. I didn’t know what anything was. It’s just a box of papers.

And, this morning, as I was picking up yet another pile of drawings that fell on to the floor in the dining room, it occurred to me. I need a notebook that is ORGANIZED. I read somewhere on the internet about the idea of putting children’s artwork in plastic sleeves for a notebook. But it didn’t work for me. I got a plastic sleeve, put it on the counter, and told Peanut, “This is where your artwork goes.” I collected one drawing, and then lost the sleeve.

So I came up with this:

artnotebook 001

It’s so simple, I feel kind of silly sharing.

I decided to MAKE THE NOTEBOOK AHEAD OF TIME. Gasp! What a concept. I opened up Microsoft Word and made the title page. I was going to put her favorite color, but it’s “The Rainbow”. Go ahead, ask her. It is. So, I put a rainbow on the front.

I created a title page for every month in the year. And (yay!) the clip art in Word had titles for the months! Less work for me! I decided to include 4 sheet protector sleeves behind each one, because I have a VERY creative child who loves to draw. This leaves room for potentially nine drawings a month if they’re back to back, and one behind the title page.

artnotebook 004

Then I put them all in to a 2″ binder I had laying around the house.

artnotebook 002

Hopefully she will be excited to fill up her notebook, and actually put them away. If not, at least I’ll have a designated place to put all her drawings! I love this idea, because I can take post-it notes or 3×5 cards and write the dates and any background stories on them and stick it in the sleeve with the drawing.

Here’s an example with a drawing Ella made last month:
artnotebook 005

I’m going to make one for Bubba, too. Now that he’s two, he’s wanting to draw more pictures and tell me a story with them.

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