Surviving the Avalanche of End of Year School Artwork

In today’s guest post Nathan of Childhood 101 sponsor, ArtEater, shares his top tip for sorting out what to value and keep from the piles of artwork your child brings home at the end of the year, whether it be from child care, preschool or school.

Look out! Here comes a year’s worth of artwork!

It’s that time of year again. A few days before the end of term your kids come home with their school bags full of artwork. And a couple of carrier bags as well, for good measure. And after they’ve proudly shown you the year’s efforts, you’re left with the question every parent faces at this time: what should I actually do with all this artwork?

Well, first of all, don’t worry – we do have the answer to this problem, and it’s called Art Eater. You can find it at and there’ll be a giveaway running on Childhood 101 in the new year.

But in the meantime, what should you do?

The most important thing to do as the artwork comes in, especially with younger children, is to capture the stories behind the artwork. Bit by bit, if you’re showing interest and enthusiasm, your kids will tell you when they created the artwork, why, how and what they were thinking about when they did it. And those stories will probably amaze you!

So write them down. Just a few notes will be fine, enough to help you all remember. And where better to write those notes than on the back of the artwork itself?

There’ll suddenly be a whole new richness and significance to what you’re looking at, and it’s great fun as an exercise too. But don’t wait too long to do this – leave it a couple of weeks and the kids’ memories will fade as Christmas and the summer holidays take over and school becomes the last thing they want to think about, and then the stories are lost for ever.

Knowing the stories will also help you to sort through which artworks to keep and which to recycle. And yes – we all recycle some stuff you know, even when you’re running a business like Art Eater! Not everyone wants to keep everything. But we do believe everyone ought to keep something.

A child’s artwork is how a child sees the world, and it’s created long before he or she is able to write things down fluently or speak about things eloquently. And arguably, unless they become poets, novelists, artists or musicians, very few people ever regain the freedom of expression they enjoy and use as kids when creating artwork. It’s unique material – it only gets created once. Make sure you make the most of it – and look out for our giveaway next month.


  1. I like the idea of writing a description on the back of the artwork – so important for down the track.

  2. Maxabella says:

    Brilliant post, as usual. I can't believe I've never thought to write down the description!! Must do. x

  3. We are in the process of creating 'visual diaries' with all our various paintings/drawings/collages, etc from this year. the kids have been helping and we work on it a bit each day which has been a great 30 to 60 minute daily activity. we are using a cheap scrapbook from the supermarket (under $2) and covering it with one large painting, then filling it up, plus adding extras on each page such as photos, cut out pictures/found things, etc, pasted in. One book is going to be a gift for my dad and we will keep the other. then we can start all over again next year!

  4. Jodie at Mummy Mayhem says:

    We keep the key ones and with the rest, we photograph them and then recycle the paper as gift wrapping!

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