Art Work and School Work: What Do You Save?

Amy Jo Jones
April 29, 2010

A burst of creative energy from your preschooler can leave you with a stack of art projects on your dining room table that reaches half way to the ceiling. By all means, you want to do everything you can to encourage all of the drawings, paintings, sketches and projects, but then, what on earth do you with it all? Which pieces do you decide to save and which ones hit the recycle bin? How can you choose, especially when you know that (almost) all of them are precious and unique to your child at this time of their life? It's important to appreciate everything your pre-schooler makes at home and at school, but there are some things you can consider to help keep the art work or school work file in check.

Filing Is Key

You may want to implement an "Interim File." When your pre-schooler brings home something to show you that they made or are feeling proud of, you can talk with them about it, admire it, ask questions about it and then place it lovingly in the interim file. Once a month (or week, or quarter, depending on how often your little Picasso finds inspiration) make a point of sorting through the box and deciding which pieces you want to keep and which ones you want to quietly disappear in the trash bag.

Forever or For a Few Weeks?

Your pre-schooler may produce something that looks to you, just like a piece of white paper with red crayon scribbles on it, but when they look at it they see a character from a book, a garbage truck or a friend from school. If your little artist is clearly attached to something they made, it might be a good idea to keep it around until you know they have a new favorite piece to admire.

Holiday Pieces

Art projects centered on the holidays can be tricky. The cute handprints they made for you for Mother's Day? Save them. No question! But did you receive five jack-o-lantern drawings that were brought home the week before Halloween? While you may be tempted to hang on to them until next year because they are cute, keep in mind that next Halloween? Your child will probably make more. Maybe even five more.

Personal Items

These are a definite keeper. If your preschooler makes a Get Well card for mom, dad or a sibling, you will want to keep that forever. The same goes for anything that says "I love you."  How can you throw something like that in the recycle bin? You can't.


The first time your preschooler draws a stick person or the family pet, it is a reason to celebrate. It's also great to have that around as a permanent marker. That way in years to come you can look back and see just how far their skills have advanced and what strides they have made.

Everyone has different ideas about what is really worth keeping when it comes to your child's art work or school projects. What works for you?

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    We send them off to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends with cute notes. They all appreciate getting new pictures. We also use some of our preschoolers artwork to make greeting cards.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    If you are like me and still hate to toss anything kid created, try taking pictures of the ones you are going to toss.

    over a year ago


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