• Lisa Brideau

Artwork Blooms in Collections

5 Projects to Transform Children's Collections into Artwork


Gathering more rocks for the collection!

If your children are anything like mine, they love to collect things — lots of things! For my children, collections began with the basics — sticks for my oldest and stones for my youngest. Every walk around the neighborhood or trip to the playground added to the collection of 'treasures.' Each item collected was special to them in some way. Sometimes it was the color, shape, or size of the item. Sometimes it was the memory of who they were with or the feeling they had when they saw the item. In my heart, I knew that my children's collections were artwork waiting to bloom, but the mom in me eventually got tired of finding sticks and stones — and the dirt and bugs that accompany them — everywhere!

My first solution was to keep the collections in the garage. Do you know how many sticks and stones can be gathered over months? My next attempt to control the clutter was to limit the collecting to one item per outing. I know I sound like a mean mom, but I had hundreds of sticks and stones in my garage already. My children still collected everything they saw, but when it was time to go home, they had to choose ONE to bring back for the collection. I do admit that sometimes we had to resort to the old standby 'eenie, meenie, miney, mo' to choose the item going home. Then technology brought my ultimate solution — the digital camera!

No more sticks and stones added to the collection in my garage - instead, my children used a digital camera to take pictures of items to add to their collections. We used the photos to create projects celebrating their collections, and the pile of sticks and stones in my garage became artwork that blooms. Maybe some of these ideas will help your children create artwork they're proud to share and display — and help you clear some of the collection clutter in your home!

1. Make an album! Children like to hold things — digital images on a screen are not the same as printed pictures. Find some child size albums (brag books) in a local craft store and fill the pages with photos of their collections. The small size makes to album portable and manageable for children so they can bring their collection wherever they go. Encourage your little collectors to talk about the items in their albums and share a story about how they found it.

2. Create a game! Use the printed pictures from your children's collections to create lots of fun games. Consider some card games for inspiration. Maybe it's a matching game, a scavenger hunt, a trivia game, a version of I Spy, or perhaps they create trading cards they can share with their friends. The possibilities are as vast as your children's imaginations.

3. Special delivery! Print a postcard-sized picture of a special collected item and share a short note on the back. Send it off as a postcard to relatives or friends. I can tell you this was a big hit with the grandparents!

4. Mix it up! Have your children choose some printed pictures of their collections then get out the scissors and cut out their favorite parts of each photograph. Encourage your children to get creative and re-imagine how the pieces can go together. Use glue sticks to create a fun collage of their collection.

5. Supersize it! If your children have a favorite image of their collection, get the picture printed into a small poster at your local office supply store. It won't cost too much, and it's a way your children can proudly display something they've created.

Now that my children are off living on their own, I sometimes think about the collections in the garage and the many collections that followed. Even though the sticks and stones are long since gone, the remaining pictures and projects are a great reminder of times we shared.

To explore an artist who was inspired by his collection, check out the Art to Know with MommyO™ blog or vlog where fine art is always fun art!


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colorful paper collage of MommyO, host of Art to Know with MommyO vlog, holding a paint palette and a dog