Things to Make from Children’s Artwork

So, you have displayed your children’s artwork, rotated and decluttered it and have digitised at least those you love most. If you have missed the two posts explaining how to do all this, have a look here: How you can display children’s artwork and How to digitise and store children’s artwork.

Finally, in this last post of the series, I share some ideas about what things you can make from children’s artwork rather than just throwing the ones you don’t want in the bin.

 

How to Digitise and Store Children’s Artwork

Most children produce a lot of artwork over the years. We can’t put it all on the walls or fill entire shelves with these masterpieces (read in the first part of the series how you can display children’s artwork). So, what can we do to save space and also keep at least the most precious pieces safe? Read in this post how to digitise and store the children’s artwork. The last post of the series finally talks about what things you can make from children’s artwork.

Click here to get to the tips about how to digitise and store the children’s artwork.

How to Display Children’s Artwork

Are you drowning in your children’s artwork? Read in this guest blog series I was invited to write about how you can get more joy out of these masterpieces before we then move on to talking about how to digitise and store the children’s artwork and finally sharing ideas about what things you can make from children’s artwork.

Here is the first post about how to display children’s artwork.

 

3 keys to organising your children’s sports gear

Most children these days will sooner or later be involved in one or several sports which in itself can be an organisational challenge for the whole family. Part of sportive activities also involves looking after sports gear which can be anything from really small to rather big and also expensive equipment.


Organising Sports Gear Pinterest Original

I never really gave much thought to the concept of children and sports except that it’s a good and healthy thing. As it happens, I became a soccer mum because Mr. 11 has loved ballgames ever since he learned to walk. Throughout the last few years he’s had several soccer training sessions per week, and of course a game every Sunday. I have to admit: I was rather glad that his brother chose not to do soccer as well, as this would have become quite an organisational challenge. Instead, he practices Judo, and they both have swimming lessons for a fraction of the year.

Of course, we support our children in their sport activities and we invest quite a bit of time as a family. However, I also find it important that children learn from an early age that we don’t do everything for them. Organising their sports gear independently is one of the many things they can learn early on. Here’s how:

 

 

Have a home for everything

This is a very general rule that, of course, also applies to sports gear, however big or small. When deciding where the sports gear will live, consider these aspects:

  • Size and numbers – how much space is it taking up and how many do you have (maybe you can get rid of some)?
  • Seasonality – is the gear used throughout the year, or can it be moved to a different place when not used?
  • Shape – some things take up a lot of space due to their shape (e.g. balls).
  • Ventilation – think shoes … it’s better to keep them in a well-ventilated container and room.
  • Accessibility – make sure the children can access their gear without your help.
  • Dirtiness – how dirty is the equipment? Let soccer boots live in the garage or the entryway so your child doesn’t walk through the house with them.
Storage diynetwork

courtesy of www.diynetwork.com

 

Storing sports gear

Make it easy for your kids to put their gear away. It doesn’t need to look great; it just needs to be accessible and practical.

Possible storage options and some examples of what you could use them for:

  • Clear plastic containers (shoes, balls and pretty much anything)
  • Wire baskets (things that need ventilation)
  • Racks or hooks (helmets, skate boards)
  • Umbrella stand (cricket bats, pool noodles, hockey sticks)
  • Net bags (balls)
  • Special hooks (bikes)
  • Special bags (swimming gear)
  • Laundry baskets (balls, shoes, helmets)

If you need more inspiration, have a look on Pinterest.

flea-market-wire-ball-bins

Image courtesy of www.landofnod.com

 

 

Routines around sport activities

Another key to achieving organisation success is having a routine before and after sport activities. Let your kids prepare and pack everything they need for the activity, including water and snacks – of course with your help depending on their age. You also might want to create a checklist with your child.

Using our family as an example, this would be:

  • Take off soccer boots in the garage
  • Put them on the shoe shelf in the entry hall
  • Put drinking bottle in the kitchen
  • Put sports bag away in the laundry (where it lives)
  • Get undressed and throw everything in the laundry bin (or hang on the wall rack in the bathroom if it’s wet)
  • Take a shower and get into pyjamas or fresh clothes

 

 

Extra Tip

Clean and polish sports shoes before you put them away for the next season. Otherwise, the leather will dry out and the shoes will be too uncomfortable to be worn.

 

What sports do your children pursue and how do you organise their equipment? Make life easier for the family by applying these organisation tips to your household today!

How to store, reuse and repurpose children’s artwork

It’s wonderful to have creative children – but where to go with all those masterpieces? Some of the artwork you will want to display, at least for a while. But then …? Especially as a fist time mum, most of us struggle to throw out anything that our babies have created. However, eventually we do have to make those tough decisions since we simply run out of space to keep it all.

Drawing smiling person

In our household we handle it like this:

  1. Artwork comes home and is either
    • displayed
    • put into a storage box for the current year (one per child)
    • repurposed or
    • recycled / thrown out
  2. At the end of the school year I empty the storage box for the current year. I then sort into three piles:
    • photograph and keep – I normally use these photos to create a calendar for christmas gifts for grandma and godparents and then store the artwork in a portfolio (one per year and child)
    • photograph and discard
    • pile to discard

This simple process works well for me because I do it at the end of the school year. This means I am less emotional in the decision making because in most cases some time has passed since the creation of the artwork.

As always, discarding doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to throw the stuff in the rubbish bin. Let me share how you can repurpose and reuse artwork instead:

 

 

Gift Wrap

Use drawings and paintings as gift wrap. If the gift is bigger than the artwork, use other paper to wrap it and use the artwork to decorate one or several sides. Or make a collage of several artworks big enough to wrap the present in.

Gift wrapped in children's artwork

 

 

Lolly or gift bags

Personalise your party lolly bags or gift bags by using neutral bags and gluing a drawing on them or fold bags with bigger drawings.

Gift bag decorated with kid's artwork

 

 

Cards

Make gift cards or thank-you cards out of the artwork by gluing it on neutral cards in a matching colour.

Picture source: www.thecraftycrow.net

Cards decorated with kid's artwork

 

 

Surprise someone

Why not send one or two to grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles, or other people that would love to receive an unexpected gift? Try to send it to people who don’t already have a house full of children’s artworks.

Watercolour painting

 

 

Photo book

Take a picture of the work in question and create a photo book. If you can part with the originals or at least most of them, it saves you from storing a lot of paper. To create a photo book you can use your photo camera or an application such as “Artkive”.

Picture source: www.artecontusmanitas.files.wordpress.com

 

Photo book with children's artwork

 

 

Keep them

You’ve decided to keep some of the artwork but don’t want it on display anymore. All flat creations can easily be stored in an art portfolio or another art storage folder, maybe one per child per year. The advantage is that it puts perimeters on it for you. The 3D work takes up a lot of space and, realistically, only a few if any at all can be kept on display. Therefore, keep it preferably in a clear storage container that also sets limits.

 

 

Have you got any other ideas about reusing and repurposing artwork? As always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your experience.

Happy organising!

Signature1

How to Establish Routines for Children

Do you find routines and habits boring? Think they take out all the fun of your days? Hinder your children’s or your creativity and spontaneity? Well … I don’t agree. I believe that routines are very important to have for children (and for adults for that matter) and that they actually give us more freedom to be creative, spontaneous and relaxed.

 

Our family has definitely benefited from routines. They even more importantly help our children to establish habits and teach them important basic skills such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands after using the toilet or preparing their own snacks etc. After all, we expect them to become independent, sensible and responsible adults and these kinds of skills are part of it all.

Routines don’t necessarily have to be boring chores. They can be fun or beautiful and relationship building activities like reading a story together every night. Furthermore, they make children feel safe and secure because their environment becomes more predictable.

Here are a few tips and ideas to consider when you want to introduce routines:

 

One At A Time

Decide what your top priority is and concentrate on that. Then, only introduce one new routine at a time. Once it is well established, you can build on this basis and introduce the next routine.

 

Plan Wisely

Manage your family’s time well – there are only 24 hours in a day! Not everything always goes as planned, especially with very young children. Therefore, allow buffers and downtime. Using a diary or a time map might be helpful to visualise how filled your day is so that you can plan accordingly. One of the best tips I ever received after we had our first baby was from a yoga teacher. She recommended to plan only one thing per day when you have a new baby. She didn’t talk about the daily housework tasks but things like running errands. Only plan the grocery shopping, not coffee with friend afterwards and then baby swimming. For me, that worked wonders.

 

Be Realistic

Keep the age of your children in mind when you introduce new routines. Also, keep your expectations low. Make sure they are able to do what you expect from them. Talk about the routine and help them, at least at the beginning. “Tidy up your room” probably doesn’t work. “Please, pick up all the blocks and put them in this box’ is much more clear.

 

Stay Flexible

Create routines that meet your family’s needs at this point in time. Children grow and situations change. Life is happening fast. Tweak existing routines or implement new ones when necessary.

 

Dare To Be Unique

Routines don’t necessarily work for your family just because they – seemingly – work for everyone else. Your family is unique, so find routines that work for you. (If you have a routine that you think is unique, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section if you’d like to share).

 

Facilitate

Make it easy for your family members to follow routines. If you want your children to dress themselves in the morning, make sure they can do it easily, maybe by putting out their clothes the night before. If they’re old enough to do this themselves, they can do that part as well. Also make sure they can access everything they need easily. Too often I see kid’s wardrobes with their clothes hung up too high for them to take down.

 

Make It Fun

Routines don’t have to be dull and dreaded times. Make picking up toys at the end of the day or brushing teeth fun by having the children listen to their favourite songs.

 

Visualise

Help children to remember their routines until they have become habits. Use checklists that show all the things they need to do in the order they should be done. Pictures work great for children that can’t read yet and also for older kids. They’re just more fun for everyone!! Your kids will have fun making the charts.

 

Chores

Chores can be a part of a routine. Be sure that the child is capable to fulfil the chore you give him/her to avoid frustration. Visual checklists help here, too.

 

Have a look here for some visual inspiration regarding routines and chores.

 

Mini-Challenge

Over the next week, think about one new routine that you would like to introduce in your household and share it in the comments or on our Facebook page!

7 tips for hosting a relaxed Easter weekend

More often than not, holiday meals and festivities are a source of stress rather than a time for relaxation and fun. However, with a little bit of planning and organising, stress will be a thing of the past, and you will be able to enjoy time with your loved ones.

 

7 tips for hosting a relaxed Easter weekend

 

Here are my 7 tips for organising and planning your Easter weekend:

1. Invite your guests early

Many people go away during long weekends, so make sure you invite your guests early enough (at least four weeks in advance).

 

2. Plan your meals in detail

Take some time to plan the menus for the Easter weekend, plus at least one day before and after. Include every single meal—breakfasts, snacks, and even leftovers. Once you know what you want to cook, make a shopping list and schedule some time to do the shopping in your diary.

 

3. Prepare as much as you can

The idea of family getting together shouldn’t include you standing in the kitchen all the time. If you want to enjoy some relaxed time with your loved ones, prepare as much as you can in advance. You might even be able to pre-cook and/or freeze certain things.

 

4. Have some fun decorating your home

If you like to add some seasonal decoration to your home and table, plan early enough and make sure you have everything you need. If you are lost for ideas, have a look on Pinterest for inspiration. Maybe you can involve your children or other family members to create a beautiful centrepiece.

 

5. Plan the Easter egg hunt

The children (and adults :-)) will love the Easter egg hunt. Prepare it well in advance and have everything ready to go so you or another adult can hide the eggs the night before the hunt. Useful hint: note how many eggs you hide to make sure the kiddies search until they have found every egg!

 

6. Delegate and ask for help

Just because you’re hosting the Easter meal doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Most guests ask whether they can contribute in one way or another, so don’t just dismiss them—accept the help. If they don’t come forward, ask someone to bring a dessert or nibbles. Getting an entrée such as a seafood platter or even a main meal (or parts of it) prepared by your local deli might be another option. Think about what you could outsource, and don’t forget to make a note in your planner so you don’t forget to order in time.

 

7. Plan fun activities

Keep the children entertained and happy with some fun (and sugar-free) activities such as competing in an egg and spoon race, creating bonnets, colouring eggs or decorating egg- or bunny-shaped biscuits.
Wishing you a wonderful and relaxed Easter!

gift

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