Kids produce an amazing amount of art. You love, love, love it. But you can also get stressed out by it. How do you decide how much and how long to keep it? Here’s what we do:
We have a dedicated drawer, but if you don’t have that, one of those big paper envelopes from the office supply or paper portfolio from the craft store will do just fine.
All year long, as the kid art comes home, display it if you like, but either right away or when you are done displaying it, put it in the big envelope. Keep as much as you want. At the end of the year go through all the art (with your kids, if they are old enough). Pick out the 12 best things, doing your best to represent each child equally. Now, download this large 2011 calendar. Once you download the calendar to your desktop, you can go online to FedEx Kinkos and upload to their site, print the pages in black and white on 11″ x 17″ card stock, and pick up your calendar pages at the shop. (For 8 1/2″ by 11″ size, download and print this small 2011 calendar). At the copy shop, color copy each piece of kid art onto 11” x 17” card stock (or of course, 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock if you are making the small calendar). For the cover, print a blow-up of a photo of the kids.
Now stack the pages starting with the cover picture and the “January” art back to back. Remember, the art will be positioned upside down so you can “flip” the calendar open.
Once you have made the whole stack with calendar pages and artwork, use a hole punch to punch six holes along the “spine” of the calendar, in 1” from each edge and spacing holes every three inches.
For the small calendar, punch just three holes, with a three-hole punch if you have one. Punch a single hole centered at the top of the other edge of the pages for a hanging hole. Now, just slip six 3/4” binder rings through the holes (for the small size, three rings) and your calendar is ready for service!
By the way, if you really have one of those engineer’s brains, you can have the copy shop print the calendar pages and art on opposite sides of the same card stock. But it helps to do it this way the first time so you have a template for how things need to be positioned.
We always make two copies of the calendar, one for our house and one for the Grandparents. As far as the big portfolio of art, you can either a) Empty it and start clean for next year, b) Keep the originals of the best 12, or c) Keep it all, put the year on the portfolio and buy a new one for next year. Art proliferation solved!