The Atlantic

Throw Your Children’s Art Away

Childhood is short-lived. It’s okay if kids’ drawings are, too. An Object Lesson.
Source: Annie Otzen / Getty

Children make art constantly. From the earliest age, adults press crayons into their hands. Art offers kids something to do, and folk wisdom holds that it’s good for them, too. But after the activity is over, the artwork sticks around. And that’s where the problems start.

My young children leave their art everywhere. I find most of it on the floor. It gets ripped, crumpled, or marked up with footprints. I confront it mostly when bending over to pick it up. Often, I encounter a drift of several layers of drawings, spilling off glitter and painted rice. Others tumble off the refrigerator.

After a few years, I had a crisis over what to do with it all. I hadn’t yet started the carefully curated collection that I remember my own mother making

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