Displaying toddler art

This isn’t a new idea or even my idea but I wanted to document this idea in my blog because I think it is fabulous.

I am often asked for activities that toddlers can do that will also be great to display. Sometimes this is referred to as “refrigerator art.” I hesitate to focus too much on refrigerator art because first and foremost I want to express  how important it is to make sure the process of creating is emphasized more than the outcome.

Process over product is a term used over and over again by early childhood educators in hopes to help parents and others realize that young children learn through the doing. In my last post I shared the experience of Wy discovering the tools to create and exploring the process. In this post, Wy explored the process of painting with Q-tips which resulted in a colorful non-distinctive painting (shown above).

This painting (shown above) was another simple painting Wy created using sponge brushes. This painting may not look like a masterpiece but it can be displayed to look like a masterpiece and yet still preserve the process that Wy explored.

I took an old picture frame I had around the house.

Chose the part of the painting I wished to display and then trimmed around the edges to fit the back of the frame.

I then inserted the painting into the frame which resulted in a terrific piece of art to display and yet the learning process was preserved!

After trimming away the edges of the painting, I had one of Wy’s little hand prints left over.

I cut out the hand print, dated it, and gave the handprint to Wy’s daddy which he gently folded up and tucked into his wallet.

By |2010-05-09T00:30:50+00:00May 9th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. trilby May 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I learned early on that is is important to display their artwork as art, too….seems silly at first to waste construction paper to matte pictures, but look at their face when you proudly display their work like REAL art….

  2. eileen May 11, 2010 at 9:16 am - Reply

    This was so sweet. I too love to disply my toddlers art. I ove to bring out the seanal themes. One that always brings so much emotion, is my now 29 year old snowmen. If you look close she drew herself hiding among the lined up snow people. I love kid art!

  3. Jennifer LaFollette May 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    I think all children’s art is worthy of displaying, and your emphasis on the process and not just the outcome makes a lot of sense. Wherever and however you choose to display children’s art, letting them know that you are proud of what they have created (no matter what it looks like) is important to their self-esteem and encourages them to continue to be adventurous with their creativity.

  4. Erin at laughpaintcreate May 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah. I just found your site. I love it. I just blogged on process vs. product a few days ago and it is something I really struggle with when teaching little ones. (I should say, their parents struggle with it!)

    I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I always tell parents, mat and frame it! It’s a wonderful part of their creative lives!

    Off to nose around here more! Just wanted to say hello! 🙂
    .-= Erin at laughpaintcreate´s last blog ..Questions for Teaching Artists/Art Educators =-.

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