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We have some great ideas for preparing for the start of school!

Pencil Holders

Looking for a way to organize all those new pencils and pens? Just turn an empty coffee can, oatmeal box or any other canister-style container that comes with a reusable plastic lid into a handy holder for your kids' school supplies.

First, wrap a piece of construction paper (trimmed to fit) around the container, and tape or glue together the overlapping edges. Then your kids can draw personalized designs or glue magazine cutouts or paper die-cuts on the paper. Next, use a craft knife or carton cutter (adults only) to cut a series of X-shaped openings in the plastic lid for inserting pencils, pens, paintbrushes, and scissors. You can even glue a magnet to the side of the can for holding a few paper clips (but remember to keep the magnet away from your computer!).

Pencil Toppers

Personalize those pencils to make homework fun!
For a dangly decoration, tape the center of a 12-inch piece of embroidery floss to a pencil just below the eraser. Wind the ends of the floss around the pencil several times, then tie them together. String beads, charms or bells onto the trailing ends. Tie overhand knots below the last beads to keep them from slipping off.

To make a fringed pencil top, cut out a 6-inch-wide felt circle with a 1/4-inch slit in the center and slip it over the eraser. Then, make a series of 2 1/2-inch cuts inward from the edge of the circle. Or, for a stand-up fringe, you can wrap and tape colored paper around the pencil end and snip downward through all the layers.

Make a springy star pencil topper by cutting 2 stars out of tagboard or construction paper and cutting a slit in each one that runs from between any 2 points to the center of the star. Decorate both sides of your stars with glue and glitter. Slot the stars together, by sliding the slit into one star into the slit on the other. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the pencil to make a coil. Straighten out a short length and tape it to the star. Gently pull down the pencil so a few coils spring off the end.

Lunchbox Goodies

Make lunch time special by packing up some fun treats that you made together! For more fun, include a short "love note" in your child's lunchbox- use decorative plastic goodie bags for snacks, or include a cute sticker or two!

School Day Jello Jigglers:

Pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling juice into 2 (8-serving size) packages of Jell-o brand gelatin (any flavor). Stir until completely dissolved, and pour into a 13" by 9" pan. Refrigerate until firm. Dip the bottom of the pan in warm water for about 15 seconds, then cut the jello into decorative shapes using cookie cutters. Lift from pan.

Oreo-Os Graham Cracker Bars:

Line the bottom of a 13" by 9" pan with graham crackers. Microwave 1/4 cup of butter on high for 30 seconds, or until melted. Add 1 package (10 1/2 oz) of miniature marshmallows and mix to coat. Microwave for 2 minutes and then stir. Microwave an additional 1 minute, stir until marshmallows are smooth and melted. Stir in 6 cups of Oreo Os cereal until well blended. Let cool slightly, and then pour mixture over graham crackers. Melt 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle over top of bars. Cool completely & cut.

Custom Book Holder

Need a storage spot for all those books the kids will be bringing home from school? Make a pair of colorful cardboard cases out of an empty, large laundry-soap box, colored paper, glue and felt.

With scissors, cut off the top half of the box and discard it. Then cut the bottom portion of the box in half vertically to create two open-face cases. Use a pencil to trace around the sides and back of each case onto a piece of colored paper. Cut out the paper tracings and glue them onto the outsides of the cases. Then cut out felt pieces to cover the undersides of the cases and glue them on.

Now your kids can decorate the cases to suit their individual tastes with stickers, colored tape, glitter glue or original drawings.

"Look What I Did in School Today" Board

Here's a great way to display all the school and art work that your child brings home without covering your walls! You'll need a piece of thin wood about 10" by 4", 2 wooden clothespins, and a 18" piece of wire for hanging.

You'll need to drill 2 holes in the top of the wood about 1" from the top and 2" from each end. If the wood is rough, use sandpaper to get rid of rough edges and splinters. Then have fun painting and decorating! You can write a slogan on your board like "Look what I did in school today" or "Dylan's Artwork" etc. Paint the clothespins too! Allow to dry.

Use a glue gun or wood glue to glue the clothespins to the bottom of your board. They should be positioned so that when the board is hung up, they will be able to grab the papers you want to display. String your wire though each hole and knot. Voila! You're ready for backpacks full of school work!

ALL NEW! Harvest Days and Halloween Packages!

Send your child our next personalized themed mailing! The Harvest Days package is filled with fun fall activities, stickers, everything you need to make an adorable Harvest wreath, and a personalized letter from you!
Harvest Day Mailing!

We have a brand new package for Halloween! Its full of ideas for Halloween activities, spooky stickers, everything you need to make a "Welcome to Our Patch" sign, and a personalized holiday greeting from you! All for just $9.95 (includes shipping!)!
Halloween Mailing!

School Calendar

Now starts the endless scheduling of school functions, soccer practice, PTA meetings, etc. For a fun way to keep track of all of your commitments you can make a custom school calendar! You can do the entire year ahead of time, or make it as you go and create a fun event to look forward to each month!

You'll need colored 12" by 9" sheets of construction paper, plain sheets of 8 1/2" by 11" paper, yarn, glue, and crayons or pens. Use a ruler to draw a calendar outline on a piece of the plain paper. (or you can print out calendar sheets from your computer) It should have 5 rows and 7 columns. Fill in the days of the week at the top of each column, and add the days where appropriate for the month you are working on. Use fun colors to make it bright and eye-catching!

Now glue your calendar sheet onto a piece of construction paper. Repeat with each of the months that you want to include. Stack each of your months in order, and add a plain piece of construction paper to the top. Now use a hole punch to punch 3 holes in the top of each sheet. String your yarn through the holes and tie in a bow. (if you want to add more pages later, then don't knot your yarn!)

Punch a hole in the bottom center of each sheet for hanging. Now when you "open" up your calendar to each month you'll have a section to decorate- you can draw a picture, glue on photos, or attach artwork that you make at school!

Use stickers or markers to note the days that you have special events to remember!

Collage Art Box:

You can bring this colorful box to school with you, and its great for storing pencils, pens, markers and crayons.

You'll need wrapping paper or tissue paper, a cigar or chocolate box, scissors, and glue.

Mix together 1 cup of glue and 1/2 cup of water in a small pie pan or sturdy paper plate, and set it aside. Then cut out various shapes, comics or designs from the wrapping paper or tissue paper. When you have enough, dip the paper cutouts into the glue mixture, thickly coating each piece. Press the pictures onto the box, overlapping the cutouts. Continue gluing the cutouts onto the box until it is completely covered.

When the box is dry, paint the shapes with an additional coat of the glue. Let the box dry thoroughly before filling it with pencils, erasers, markers and other school supplies.

Wooden School Box:

Purchase a small wooden boxes at a craft store. Sand it down to make it smooth, and brush a light coat of latex wood primer on all its surfaces. Now paint the box any color(s) you like. This will have to be done in stages (the inside first, the bottom next, and the top and sides last), allowing the paint to dry each time. Once the paint dries, apply a coat of acrylic varnish to protect and enhance the colors and let it dry completely. Now glue a felt liner to the inside of the box. Finally, glue decorative items, such as a rhinestones, shells, colored pasta, toy cars or other items, onto the top. With items that are hard to stick, try gluing bits of felt to the bottoms and then gluing the felt to the box.

Just in Time For Back to School!!

Now is the perfect time to complete some of these great crafts with your child!
Fantastic Frames- 2 acrylic frames for you to decorate and insert this year's school photo!
Read All About Me- Create a wonderful journal to record memories and events from the summer or upcoming school year!
Click here for more information!
Craft Kits!

OR- Send one of our personalized art totes full of all the basic art supplies! Crayons, markers, glue, scissors, chalk, stencils, paints and more! All in a handy art caddy with your child's name on it! Check it out here
Art Supplies Tote

School Charm

Send your child off to school with a special lucky charm to make him/her feel more secure.Choose a favorite family photo (or a color photocopy of one). If your child reads, write some words of encouragement on the back: "We're thinking of you!" or "Miss You" next, laminate the photo (at a copy center, or do it yourself with transparent Con-Tact paper or laminate sheets you buy at an office supply store) and cut it into any shape you like. Punch a hole in the top and you can make it a key chain or attach it to a backpack zipper or lunch box handle!

Custom School Supplies

Tote Bag:
Buy a plain canvas tote bag with a handle. Cut some apples, potatoes, onions or kitchen sponges into various shapes. Pour some fabric paint into aluminum pie tins, or sturdy paper plates. Dip your "utensils" into the paint and create some "Back-to-School" art on your tote bag! When it dries it will make a great bag to use for carrying books and lunches!

Book Covers:
Using the utensils and paint above, make designs on brown postal wrapping paper. When it dries, you can cut the paper and use scotch tape to wrap your books with your artwork!

Lunch Sacks:
Don't put the paint away yet! Decorate some plain brown lunch sacks with colorful paint designs! Lunches will never be lost again!

Special School Project Storage Box

Find a box that you think will be a good size for school "take-home" projects. (A shirt box? A pizza box? A shoe box?) Paint the outside of the box using white tempera paint. When the paint has completely dried you are ready to decorate! Mix some craft glue with a bit of water in a sturdy paper plate. Using a paint brush apply the glue to tissue paper strips and shapes. Arrange on the box. You can also paint over the tissue paper to make sure that it stays secure. When finished you'll have a colorful, homemade school work holder!

Don't forget your grandparents this Grandparents Day, September 10th! Send them a special Mail Just 4 Me Grandparents Day postcard!
Grandparent's Day e-Cards

Recommended Back to School books

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade, by Robin Pulver
Never Spit on Your Shoes, by Denys Cazet
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon, by Mike Thaler

Back to School Time Capsules

Making time capsules is a fun way to see how a child can change over the course of a school year! To make a capsule, you'll need an empty paper towel tube, drawing paper, plastic food wrap, scotch tape, and crayons or markers. Record things on the paper such as; A favorites list which could include: book, holiday, movie, song, food, color, and hobby, a "How I measure up" chart that lists height, weight, shoe size and clothing size, and a current photo. Insert the paper into the paper towel tube. Cover the ends with plastic wrap and secure with the scotch tape. Decorate the capsule and store till the end of the school year. On the last day of school you can retrieve the capsule and see how much has changed!

Making Back to School Mornings Stress-free

Help your kids be more responsible- buy them their own alarm clock and help them set it each school night
Fix their favorite breakfast the first few days, so at least getting them to eat won't be an issue
Write a note on the napkin that you pack in their lunch, or draw a picture, its bound to generate a mid-day smile
Listen to a tape of silly songs in the car on the way to school to ease tension
Leave time for the unexpected!

Recommended Back to School sites

Disney has an entire section devoted to fun back to school activities! There's printables (like Mickey book covers and notebooks), stories (like Pooh's first day of school), and games (like cafeteria food fight). This is good for hours of fun!
Disney's Back to School

Scholastic and school just go together! Their site features games and adventures with Magic School Bus, Clifford, I Spy and Goosebumps. (just to name a few)

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