Crayola is reuniting adults with their childhood artwork and it's surprisingly moving

The crayon company started collecting children's art 40 years ago. Now it's opening its 1,000-piece archive archive to return the art to grateful grown-ups.


Adults are getting their art creations back after decades of not seeing them.

Anyone who has spent time around children knows that kids are naturally creative. Unfortunately, the free artistic expression we enjoy when we're young often gets squashed by self-consciousness, comparison or unrealistic expectations somewhere along the way, which is why we all need reminders that creativity can—and should—be carried into adulthood.

There's nothing more iconically symbolic of childhood art than a crayon, so it's fitting that the folks at Crayola would be the ones to provide this reminder—and in the sweetest way.

Forty years ago, Crayola began collecting the artwork kids made as part of a long-term Crayola art program. The artwork was showcased in museums and galleries, then archived in a time capsule of childhood creativity, becoming the largest collection of children's artwork in the world.

Now, those 1,000 unique pieces of art are being returned to their creators, and the grown-up reunions with their childhood creations is genuinely heartwarming.

For instance, as a kindergartener, Caleb drew a picture called “The Happy Doctor” as a part of the Dream Makers program. Now he actually is a doctor (though not quite as colorful as he envisioned in kindergarten.) Talk about a full-circle moment.

doctor holding up a drawing he did as a child

Caleb, now a doctor, drew "The Happy Doctor" in kindergarten.


For some people, being reunited with their art has been a surprisingly emotional experience. Creativity is often a shared endeavor, and some of these now-adults have fond memories of working on their creations with their parents. And seeing how much they've grown and changed since they made their artwork touches them in a profound way.

Crayola's "Stay Creative" video highlights three of the adults seeing their art for the first time in decades. What's even better is that all of them are parents themselves now, passing the appreciation of creativity down to their own kids.

Watch the moving reunions:

People are loving to see it:

"WOW! Legit colorful memories. Love it," wrote one commenter.

"Marvelous! Who doesn't remember getting a new box of crayons!! Creativity in a single box...love it and love you," wrote another.

"Such a beautiful story. Going to go hug my kids," shared another.

Of course, decades later, it's not always easy to find the original creators, especially since people often change names in adulthood. That's where the rest of us come in. Crayola will be releasing artwork images on its social channels in the hopes that the public can help reunite 50 additional pieces of artwork with their creators this year.

This is just the first wave of art being returned, with the ultimate goal being the return of all 1,000 pieces of art remaining in its archives.

Crayola hopes the art reunions will prompt conversations about creativity between parents and kids and spark more creative moments at home.

"These films capture just a few of the stories we've encountered that bring to life the enduring value of childhood creativity. They also illustrate the pivotal role parents have in helping their children develop lifelong creative mindsets essential for whatever path they take in life," said Victoria Lozano, EVP Marketing at Crayola. "Through the Campaign for Creativity, Crayola not only hopes to encourage and help facilitate this dialogue, but also assist in providing the right creative resources and inspiration parents need to help all children reach their full potential."

You can find out more about Crayola's Campaign for Creativity here.