If you have been following me for any amount of time, or have just taken a peek at any of my other blog posts, you can easily tell that we love art. We love crafts and projects. We love hands-on learning.
A question that I am asked often is “What do you do with all your art projects and crafts?”
Of course it is not feasible to keep everything, but it is also hard to just throw away those beautiful art pieces we worked so hard on. So today I’m going to share with you my system of storing all the things we do throughout the school year and what do we keep or get rid of.
1. Toss it in a box!
I do not throw out anything throughout the school year. I keep all our worksheets, finished workbooks, and ALL art projects. After we complete many of our crafts and art, I hang them in our schoolroom for display. I just have a long piece of twine held up with thumb tacks and use clothespins on it to hold up our artwork. Artwork stays here for a while, until it’s time to take it down to make room for new artwork.
Whenever I take artwork down or my kids finish a worksheet, I toss it all in one box. I keep a box (similar to THIS one) in my office/work area and put everything in it. Bigger projects I put in a cupboard in our garage. Just tossing it in this box throughout the year has been very helpful for me to not have to think about it and what I should do with it until later.
On our very last day of school we have a fun tradition where we pull out the (now heavy) box and all the art projects. We go through it together and sort it into each child’s work. This is a lot of fun for us to look through everything we did and learned together, chatting about the fun memories we made. After everyone has their own pile of work, they go through the pile and pick out all their favorite projects. I usually go through their piles with them also and pull out a few worksheets that show great work or progress. Everything that isn’t chosen, goes in the recycling bin!
3. Display boards/open house
After my kids go to bed on the last day of school, I stay up and create their own “display boards” with all the work they saved in their pile. I display their artwork, drawings, handwriting, workbooks, crafts, etc. You can use a tri-fold display board or I purchase a large moving box from Home Depot and cut one side off. In the morning my kids are always so excited and amazed to see all their hard work displayed.
That evening we have an “open house” and usually have grandparents or other family come over for a BBQ to celebrate the end of our school year. The kids love to show them their display boards and everything they learned about. This has become a favorite end of the school year tradition.
4. Very select few & recycle
I make sure to take a few photos of them with their display board and a video as well. After that, I choose a VERY select few to keep. Anything that is sentimental or their absolute favorite I keep. As my kids have gotten older, we have been doing a lot of notebooking for our learning (a blog post coming all about this soon) so I do save their notebooks.
Other than the few pieces I saved, everything else goes to the recycle bin! Because I took photos and a video of their display board, I have it saved forever, and don’t feel guilty throwing the physical pieces away. No one has the space to save it all!
5. File Folders
Each of my kids has their own file folder. This is where I store anything I did want to keep, as well as a few samples of their learning progress throughout the year. I use my favorite label maker and label each slot with the grade and year, and slide their work right in.
At the end of the year, when we have completed our curriculum and workbooks, I go through and rip out a few pages that show their progress. A few pages in the beginning and a few from the end. If you use The Good and the Beautiful, I usually pull out their reading or unit assessments too. I add these sample pages to their file folder. It is not required by our state (CA) to do this, it is just peace of mind for me. After pulling a few pages out, the rest of the workbook goes to the recycle bin! I only keep readers, math manipulative boxes, or teacher guides for future years with my younger kids.
I also love to print off any photos I have taken throughout the year and add them to my kids narration notebooks. Artwork they did that I don’t want to keep, favorite books they read, experiments or science projects they did, and field trips. These have become my favorite keepsake of all!
Throughout the year all our work and projects are tucked away so I don’t have to see or think about it. At the end of the year it is cleaned out, displayed, organized, and put away. This is our 3rd year using this system and it is so much fun. Definitely a favorite end of the school year tradition.
I hope this was helpful to you on what to do with all the things throughout your school year and maybe start some new fun traditions.
I hope you have an amazing summer break!