Functional & Creative Activities

written by Rachel Webb

1. Take a picture
Line up the best pictures and craft projects and take a picture! The artwork can be tossed but you still have a record of them. Photo albums are more accessible to enjoy and much easier to store than boxes. If you store the pictures in a acid free sheet protector, your pictures will even outlast the original artwork.

2. Original scrapbook paper
Scan or color copy one of the artwork pictures onto acid free cardstock and use it as a background paper for a scrapbook page or make a headline for your page by tracing your letters out of the color copy and cutting them out!

3. Handmade seasonal placemats
Mount several seasonal pictures to a large piece of colored cardstock. Use matching background paper to coordinate with you other holiday decorations. After having your child sign and date the back, laminate the placemats for easy cleanup and durability. I used this idea for our cub-scout blue and gold banquet and they were a hit!

4. Create custom art calendars
Purchase inexpensive calendars and glue your child’s artwork to the generic picture. Matching seasonal pictures with the appropriate month makes a great gift for grandparents and uses up 12 pictures quickly and creatively!

5. Mailing Envelopes
Everyone mails arts and crafts to extended family, so this time let the kids fold their artwork into the envelope! Take apart an old envelope to use as a pattern and use a 2″ white label so that the address can be easily found and identified by the post office.

6. Merchandise
Many office supply stores offer services to turn your photo’s into custom mousepads, mugs, clocks, quilt blocks or t-shirts. Instead of using the child’s photograph, take a picture of the art to display on the merchandise. Some tile shops will turn your child’s art into bathroom wall tiles or http//www.jigsawpuzzle.com offers photo puzzles in a variety of sizes and shapes from a few pieces to many and they are surprisingly affordable! This often takes 2-4 weeks to get your product back, so plan early if the kids want to do this as a Christmas gift or unique Mothers Day idea.

7. Frame it
The most obvious idea can also provide a great storage option. Choose a favorite art piece to frame then as new favorite pictures arrive from school, put the new one over the old picture.

8. Wrapping paper
Use large artwork for wrapping gifts for giving to grandparents and children’s birthday parties. Cut out greeting cards to match. This is a great money saving tip too! If you want paper that has a more retail look http://www.artfulgiving.com lets you customize your gift wrap with your own saying or downloaded picture!

9. Decoupage teacher gifts
Adhere art to pillar candles or terracotta planters for a useful and practical gift!

10. Original checkbook covers
Purchase a blank clear checkbook cover or remove the pre-printed insert of an existing cover to attach your own picture. The important thing is to let your children see that you are proud of their talent and creative efforts!

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