Why Heidi Klum’s Kids Are Her Biggest Inspiration

updated 09/03/2013 AT 4:00 PM ET

originally published 09/04/2013 AT 7:30 PM ET

She can afford to buy works by Picasso, but the paintings decorating a wall at Heidi Klum’s home didn’t cost her millions of dollars – the America’s Got Talent judge has created a showplace featuring artwork by her four kids.

“I display their gigantic canvases, watercolors and three-dimensional art on a big wall at home, like at an art gallery,” she reveals in the October issue of Parents magazine. “Not only is the whole thing beautiful, but it makes the kids feel proud to see what they did hanging on the wall, and that really builds their confidence.”

The model and fashion designer believes that nurturing her kids’ imagination is very important.

“I think kids need to get their hands dirty – to paint, sculpt, create – in order to express themselves,” she says. “As adults we’re told we need to color inside the lines, but I don’t think you should ever tell a child that. Let them scribble-scrabble like crazy and see what comes out.”

That’s how Klum, 40, ended up incorporating her youngest son Johan’s drawings of monsters in her Truly Scrumptious children’s clothing collection.

“While the other kids [Leni, 9, Henry, 8½, and Lou, 3½] are watching a movie, he’ll sit down at his desk for 45 minutes and paint monsters one after another,” she says of her 6½-year-old. “So he inspired me to create a line around monsters. Johan’s very proud he was a part of it. Sometimes he wears his shirt and tells everyone, ‘I painted this shirt!’”

The other kids, whose father is Klum’s ex-husband Seal, have also proven to be a fashion inspiration for the Project Runway judge.

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