Back to School Crafts

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It’s about this time every summer that we really begin noticing “brain mush” in our school-age kids.  Plus, they’re in complete denial about having to actually head back to the classroom.  So, the timing is perfect to sneak in some activities that not only keep them busy but also get their brains flowing in the right direction without them even knowing it. 

These three activities build on the one thing about going back to school that the kids actually don’t hate – new school supplies!  And it allows them to make their supplies really unique to them.

Jazzy Journals

Most kids keep some sort of daily journal or at least need a notebook to keep track of assignments and such.  This is a great way for the kids to personalize theirs in a really neat way.  All you’ll need is any kind of spiral notebook and scraps of ribbon.  I was able to do this with thin ribbon I had in my remnants drawer, but if you don’t have any, I found small 4-foot spools of really cool patterned ribbon at Joanne’s for $1.  The 4 feet is exactly enough to do a typical spiral notebook with 3 types of ribbon. 

As you can see in the demo, all kids do is cut lengths of ribbon about 3 inches in length and tie them on to the spiral.  They can make these as funky as they want and let them go crazy about picking out a notebook to embellish.  No one else will have the same notebook, guaranteed!

Now the hidden skills needed to do this activity that will help with school readiness are: small motor skills, concentration, pattern and sequencing skills.

My Own Notebook

Trying to think of crafts for the elusive elementary school aged boy can be a trick.  But this one came from my teenage son and his friends’ old skateboard.  He decided to take my decoupage and re-do the bottom of the board as a gift with images of things she liked.  It was a hit – and I couldn’t help but think this would be a fun way for kids to personalize the required notebook for school.   Simply get some Mod Podge, available at any craft store or department, a paintbrush, a notebook and some random photos or old magazines.  If you don’t have magazines around, keep in mind that you can purchase them for pennies at used bookstores like Half-Priced Books (Valley wide).

Have the kids pick out images or words that mean something to them. They simply apply glue to the back of the image and stick on.  When the notebook is covered and dry, they then apply a layer (or more) of Mod Podge over the entire surface.  It gives it a shiny, finished look and prevents the pictures from peeling off too fast.

This activity is a great way to get the kids thinking about the type of image they want to put out there for the school year, gets their mind focused on some key things about themselves that they can use to write or draw those inevitable “Who Am I” back to school activities.  They also can provide an instant conversation started for other kids when making new friends.  Or, even gives their new teacher a peek into their likes and lives.  Great if your child is a little shy.

It also nudges them to stay on task and practice project completion skills that don’t involve a video game.

Hip, Happening Headbands

Headbands are huge right now – thanks to Catherine Middleton (now the Duchess) and the wild hats worn to the Royal wedding.  They call them fascinators in the UK, but the trend has been interpreted here in the US through headbands.  Girls of all ages are wearing them, but unique, fancy ones are really pricey.

Making your own is really easy if you know where to get the materials for a reasonable price. 

I started at craft stores and found blank headbands but they were a bit costly for my budget – anywhere from $4 to $6.  I headed over to Target and found really affordable packs of 3 headbands for around $3 – bingo!  Keep in mind that your young lady may also have some that you can recycle easily.

I found a glue gun worked well on headbands that had a fabric layer over the plastic.  And, for plastic headbands try to pick up some craft glue that is made for non-porous surfaces – Crafter’s Pick, The Ultimate is great and affordable (at craft stores).

Now just let your imagination fly – I used buttons, appliqués, flowers, old jewelry and even feathers – which are incredibly popular on headbands (and expensive) right now.

This activity gets your girl thinking about her uniqueness and also gets the creative juices flowing – especially the skill of taking something ordinary and making it her own. Subtly gets her ready for creative writing and thinking outside of the box.

Okay, so maybe no one uses the words “hip” or “happening” anymore.  But these activities just might take the doomsday look off your kid’s faces as you begin the “isn’t it exciting that school starts soon” talks.  It’s at least worth a try!

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