The Children's Book Project is a wonderful San Francisco non-profit that is dedicated to providing free books to Bay Area children. Their website states:
"The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing new and gently used books for free to children who need them. Since 1992, we have given away over 2.7 million books for children in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Research shows that children to whom books are read have an easier time learning to read than those who don’t have this experience. In addition, evidence shows that reading aloud to children actually helps their brain development. However, many children in the Bay Area and beyond live in homes without books and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families do not have books."
The Children's Book Project is always in need of new or gently used, books for children of all ages, from infants through teens. Books can be donated on-site or at one of the many blue "Book Bags" at retailers around the city. Here is a list of all retailers with Book Bag donation sites.
They especially need:
The Children's Book Project
1360 43rd Avenue, room 105
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If you have kids, you know they love to create! From stick-figure family portraits to clay animals, they love to make, make, make. And you, of course, are the recipient of these amazing artistic gifts.
But, you may ask, what do I do with all of these masterpieces? The artwork is covering the refrigerator, piled on their desk and pouring out of drawers. As this recent Atlantic Monthly article shows, it's definitely something parents struggle with!
There is no single best way to handle all of your kids' art, but after trial and error, here are a few strategies I have developed to help parents to appreciate, honor, share, and maybe even let go of some of it.
Strategy 1: Show & Go
This strategy focuses on making it easy to display, swap out and store your kid's art. First, create a temporary holder for the incoming artwork. I like using a woven storage bin or large document case for this purpose. Regularly purge through the pile, saving only the very best pieces.
Next, set up a little gallery with some twine and clothespins. Swapping the art out is so easy that even the artist themselves can do it! Once an exhibition comes down, keep items for long-term storage in a handled portfolio labeled with each child's name.
Strategy 2: Display & File
This strategy is all about displaying and appreciating your kid's artwork. As with the first strategy, make a temporary storage area for the constant influx of art and regularly purge through the contents.
Next, display the best pieces with style in Dynamic Frames. These look like traditional frames, but the glass front hinges open to make changing the artwork easy.
At the end of the school year, whittle down the artwork to a manageable amount and permanently store it in a legal size expanding wallet labeled with the school year.
Strategy 3: Archive & Share
This strategy is for those that love sharing and technology. As with the other strategies, make a temporary storage area for the constant influx of art and regularly purge through the contents.
Next, snap photos of the best pieces and share them with an app like Keepy. Keepy makes it easy to digitally organize and save artwork, schoolwork, and mementos. Since it is a digital platform, you can easily share your kids' artwork, videos and audio clips with friends and family and they can share their thoughts back as well. Keepy is about more than archiving your kids' art, it's a community platform with so many fun uses.
Keepy also makes it easy to print photo books of your kids' art. If you do, be sure to use the code PICKITUPSF20 at checkout to get 20% off! By using this referral code, Pick It Up does receive a commission.
Of course, you can create your own individual strategy for managing your kids' artwork using any combination of the above ideas. The most important thing is to have a plan, or the art and school work can easily take over!
If your little artist needs a dedicated studio space, take a look at my Kid Art Area Pinterest board for some ideas on making creative spaces. Alternately, feel free to book a session to help tackle the art spaces and artwork together!
If you enjoyed this post check out Creative Spaces for Kids!
Now that we are back in the swing of school, many of us are helping our kids build healthy and independent routines. Recently, I discovered The Trip Clip. It's a website where you can design personalized charts, lists, and routines for your kids. When finished, the chart is saved as a PDF that you can print yourself. You can also go in and edit the chart as your child's routine changes.
The Trip Clip offers morning, bedtime and after-school routines, lunch and packing lists, and chore charts, just to name a few. What's really cool is that you get to choose the icons and the wording for each list you create.
The Trip Clip also has tons of printable activities for kids like coloring pages, mazes, math games, bingo, and crossword puzzles. There is a multitude of options for each game and activity. And, it's extremely reasonable as well, at $14.95 for access to all activities on the site. Print a bunch and be ready for that next road trip!
The Trip Clip www.thetripclip.com
If you enjoyed this post check out Organize Your way Back to School.
Donation Spotlight for August!
Project Night Night is a national nonprofit that donates Night Night Packages each year to homeless children in our country. Last year they donated over 25,000 packages to homeless children. Their website states:
"Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. By providing objects of reliable comfort, Project Night Night reduces trauma and advances the emotional and cognitive well-being of the children we serve."
The next time you are shopping for kids books, consider purchasing some for Project Night Night. Also, if you love to knit or crochet this would be a wonderful place to direct your energy and skills towards!
In San Francisco, items can be dropped off every day at Hotel del Sol (3100 Webster Street ) from 8AM-7PM. Items they accept for Night Night Packages are:
PROJECT NIGHT NIGHT
If you enjoyed this post check out What to do with 100 Beanie Babies!
Photograph by Erik Auerbach
Donation Spotlight for May!
I have long been a fan of First Exposures, a youth-mentoring program centered around photography. Their website states:
"First Exposures is a San Francisco-based, nationally recognized youth mentoring program that strives to make a major long-term difference in the lives of high-need, underserved San Francisco Bay Area youth by providing a venue for them to enhance their self-confidence, develop their creativity, and gain a passion for learning."
If you have a camera, film or photo paper that you no longer need, consider donating them to this great organization! Email First Exposures at firstname.lastname@example.org with your donations or questions. Below is a list of items they could use.
RayKo Photo Center
428 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Donation Spotlight for April!
I recently came across a great nonprofit organization called Bike Kitchen. Their website states:
"The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. The Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, encourage re-use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bicycles."
How great! If you have some bikes or bike parts that you no longer need, consider donating them to this great organization!
650H Florida Street, San Francisco, CA
Collection of Beanie Babies that were donated to UCSF Children's hospital. Rabbit not included!
Remember Beanie Babies? If not, they were hugely collectable stuffed animals in the late 90's. People went nuts for them for a time! Well, a client of mine recently decided that it was time to let go of her vast beanie baby collection. She had at least 100 beanie babies of every variety. Chameleons, scorpions, zebras, lobsters and lots of bears. Who knew?
My client wanted to let go of them, but it was important to her that they go directly to a kids organization. Thankfully Nicole and Heather in the Community Relations department at USSF Benioff Children's Hospital were happy to accept them! Now they will be brightening up the lives of lots of kids and their families! I can't think of a better way to part with a beloved collection.
Heather of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital accepting the beanie babies and my daughter helping to make the delivery!
Back to school often involves new books, new clothes, new shoes, a new schedule and sometimes a even new school! With all this change, it can also feel busy and overwhelming. A little organization can go a long way towards making the transition easier. Below are a few ideas for getting your home in shape for fall. For more inspiration check out my back to school Pinterest board.
Purge Kids Clothes. Take a look through your kids dresser and closet. Are there any clothes that have seen better days or they have outgrown? Anything they have a ridiculous number of? Box them up for a younger sibling or toss them in a bag for Goodwill. While your at it, make a list of the basics that need replacing.
Create a Drop Zone. Is there a pile near your front door of shoes, coats, backpacks and school projects? Maybe it's time for a "drop zone". If you're tight on space, this can be as simple as hook for a backpack, a tray for shoes and a dedicated spot for all incoming papers. If you have a bit more room, you may want to create something more elaborate like these mudrooms featured on Comfy Dwelling.
Homework Haven. Kids need a dedicated place to do homework that is quiet, free from distractions and has all the tools they need at hand. It does't take much to create this area. Start with a desk, a comfortable chair, a desk lamp and a few mason jars for writing utensils and scissors. You may want to add in a space for paper and books and a charging station. Add in a few personal touches like some of their artwork and it's ready to go!
As always, feel free to book a session if you would like some help making any of these back to school ideas a reality.
There's a connection between making space in your home and making space in your life. Why not also make space in your head?
Headspace is a lovely little app that makes meditation a friendly and accessible experience. Get yourself some Headspace!
Kids are prolific artists! The painting, the gluing, the drawing! It's wonderful to see our child engrossed in making art, but perhaps it's not so wonderful to see the dining room table covered with glitter glue.
There is a solution. Whether it's a table in the corner of the kitchen or a whole room, let them have a space to unleash their creativity.
Gather & Purge. The first step is to gather all the art supplies in one place and purge, purge, purge! Keep what they need and take the rest to SCRAP.
Get the Essentials. You don't need much to create an art area. I suggest a table, a few chairs, pen/pencil holders, and a place to hold supplies like paper, coloring books and stickers. Get some inspiration from my Kid Art Areas Pinterest board.
Create a Gallery. Kids love to see their work displayed! The fridge is fine, but two of my favorite ways of displaying art is on a clothesline and in hinged frames. Have fun making art together!
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a