Kid Made Modern Art

O: I'm going to paint you a story. 

I went to Target to buy dog food, Elmer's glue, and some paper, and came out with a new pair of sweat pants, two tank tops, and a cart full of new art supplies, like you do.   They were so shiny and looked so full of possibilities, I just couldn't turn them down.  

I did, also, get the dog food.

I did, also, get the dog food.

We rummaged through the junk drawer for bottle caps, wine corks, and other bits and bobs to use as makeshift stamps for the large ink pads.  We scribbled and scrawled with the diamond shaped crayons.  

O marveled at how many shades of green her new paint set contained, enough to paint every leaf in the whole world a different color.  It is so easy to forget the beauty of a heavy, textured, blank piece of paper, the possibilities that it can contain.  

All of the supplies, including that exquisite blank piece of paper, are from a company called Kid Made Modern. They are high quality and reasonably priced.  They withstood the afternoon and have been lovingly tucked away for our next creative binge. I especially appreciate how beautiful, streamlined, and functional the packaging and supplies are.  The bold colors and simple forms lend themselves to freeform creativity. There is no need for instruction or guidance.  The beauty of the tools is inspiration enough.

No one asked about Winnie the Pooh, the location of the iPad, or the possibility of an extra snack, all afternoon.  That alone feels like a victory.  

We Only Have One Refrigerator

O: Not that one, Momma.  That one is the dust cloud that made all the dinosaurs get dead.  

K: How about this one?

O: Yeah, you can cut up that one.  It's just a dragon eating a princess. 

painting stance

painting stance

O is as prolific as Picasso. And sure, each painting is a precious delicate flower and I’m going to save all of them. Except, I’m not. We live in a very, very small space, and we like it that way, but it means that choices have to be made and clutter must be vanquished. Here are four of the ways we’ve come up with to deal with the artistic output.

Warning: the below suggestions involve the destruction of your tiny one’s masterworks. We generally go through the stack together and pick a few that are not to be altered. I generally lean towards ones that O can tell me a story about; O gravitates toward anything sparkly. If you are a completist and cannot imagine parting with even one of these treasures, in the interest of your home not becoming the next episode of Hoarders, let me recommend ArtKive, an app that lets you photograph, tag, and date your kid’s work. They also make lovely coffee table books from the images. It is quick and easy, and the app is free.

and now P is getting in on the act

and now P is getting in on the act

1. Wrapping paper-We usually give books and those large preschool paintings are just right for wrapping picture books.

2.Thank you cards-Just find something blank on the back and cut a rectangle, fold in half and write a note in the middle. Bam, homemade thank yous.

Bonus: This year O wasn’t going to go to school on Valentine’s day because we were planning a long weekend. We didn’t pack in time and ended up deciding to send her at the last minute. I grabbed a stack of paintings that leaned red, cut out twenty hearts, and she scrawled her O on the back. The cheapest (read free) and most environmentally friendly Valentines ever.

2. Packing material-Ok, I know, this one hurts a little, but remember Artkive, and remember Hoarders. It makes it a little easier as you are crumpling up those paintings and shoving them in a box. Plus, I can not tell you how many thank you notes we have received that have said more about the packing material than the gift. 

3. Papier Mâché-Cut long strips of the paper, blow up a balloon, dilute some white school glue with water and go to town. This is a messy proposition. A drop cloth is advisable. Outdoors is preferred. Younger kids like to just layer the sticky pieces on the balloon, but you can encourage older kids to create masks. You can always go back and cut eyes and mouths with a pen knife once your creations are dry.  Note: any kind of shiny paper is not a great choice, the closer you can get to the look and feel of newsprint the better.

Full disclosure: This doesn't actually solve any problems, but instead creates a new one.  Now you have to throw out three dimensional pieces of art instead of just paintings, but, hey, it kills an afternoon.  

4. Grandparents-There is no shame in making them someone else's to throw away.

or they might just keep them forever

or they might just keep them forever

Any storage tips from the parents who keep it all?