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4 Back-to-school crafts to try with your child

Whether your child is excited or hesitant to begin the 2015-2016 school year, back-to-school crafts are a wonderful way to begin the transition from summer to academia. For kids who enjoy such projects, back-to-school crafts are highly engaging, but they also serve as a prompt to change their mindset to one of lined paper and pencils. They can also be a launching point for discussions about behavioral and grade expectations, school changes, etc. Here are four crafts to try now:


A student can never have too many bookmarks. Not only are they easy to lose, but children in all grades can use them in workbooks, textbooks, assigned novels and books they read for pleasure. Bookmarks are very easy to make at home: Almost any material can be re-imagined as a bookmark, from fabric to paper to string. If your student loves to create friendship bracelets, consider designing a braided bookmark together. If she prefers duct tape art, challenge her to create a patterned bookmark in her favorite colors. If she loves to draw or paint, experiment with different techniques — such as watercolor — on bookmarks cut from thick white paper.

2. Lunch bag or box

A handmade lunchbox or lunch sack may not possess the cooling or heating technology of a store-bought item, but it can give your child a way to express her individuality — and if you choose to upcycle an old metal lunchbox or unused textiles, it’s also environmentally friendly! Re-envision a metal lunchbox with products like Mod Podge, and allow her to select the colors, graphics, and/or patterns that reflect her current interests. If your child is particularly crafty, she can also sew (and then decorate) a lunch bag from canvas, cotton and quilt squares.

3. Pencil case

A pencil case is a wonderful organizational tool for students in kindergarten through 12th grade — even college-bound teens can benefit from one. Rather than purchasing a clear plastic pouch with a zipper, try your hand (and your child’s) at making your own. Both craft foam and felt are ideal for this purpose, and your child can personalize her pencil case in a number of ways: applique, colored buttons or zippers and embellishments like charms, gemstones, glitter and small metalwork pieces. Your child can even tie-dye a cloth pencil case or knit one independently (or with your help, if she’s younger or not creatively inclined).

4. Textbook covers

As many middle school and high school students (and their parents) know, it is important to keep school-issued textbooks in good quality. Many families buy adhesive or stretch covers, but you can also fashion your own from any durable material (such as brown butcher paper or paper bags from grocery stores). This type of textbook cover may require replacement once or twice throughout the school year, but they’re inexpensive, and they allow you and your child to decorate them with vegetable stamps, stickers, colored pencils — whatever your student’s heart and creativity desires!

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