Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

Can you believe how fast summer went? I'm always amazed at how quick it goes. The first part doesn't seem so fast, but for some reason, after the fourth of July, it just really blows by.

As a kid, I can remember being so excited about back to school shopping. I loved the idea of new clothes and new notebooks. I was excited to get back and see my friends and meet my new teacher. (I know, I'm a geek!)

As a parent, the experience is so different. The start of a new school year causes me to stop and reflect. The kids seem to be growing so fast and the start of a new year helps cement the fact that they are a year older.

We try to make the first day special. Our school has an open house the Friday before school begins. A chance for the kids to bring in their school supplies, meet the teacher, see their classroom and their friends. This is a great way to ease into the year. Then, they celebrate the start of school by announcing their theme for the year and having a big balloon launch. We mark the first day with lots of pictures. We try to celebrate the first day of school with a special meal out - it worked every year until now. My husband had class that night, and we wanted to go as a family.

Somehow, it seems now that school has started, I have started to think about Christmas. Have you noticed all of the clearance deals on back to school supplies already? These back to school clearance sales are a great way to stock up on items for Christmas (and supplies that will need to be refreshed with the return to school after Christmas).

I am a big fan of creative gifts for my kids and others. I also find that many back to school supplies work well for the home and car. Here are some things that are great to stock up on for future gifts and use:

  • Construction Paper - kids love this colorful paper, pair it with some scissors and glue for hours of entertainment and plenty of new artwork for your refrigerator.

  • Plastic Pencil Cases - the larger cases make excellent organizational tools. They can hold markers or crayons or pencils, but they can also hold treasured toys or Silly Bandz. They can help that art table or bookshelf look more organized and less cluttered. You can also use one to keep pencils and colored pencils organized in the car.

  • Notebooks - these come in handy in the car. My kids use them for writing lists, drawing pictures and playing games, on road trips and around town. In fact, my daughter each morning (she's 3) will ask me how to spell this word or that and will spend the drive to school writing a word - what a great way for her to learn about words/spelling, practice her letters and entertain herself. Couple this with a pencil case full of colored pencils and the entertainment and creativity continue.

  • Pencils/Pens - we use these around the house all of the time, why not pick up a few for cheap.

  • Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils - much like construction paper, these supplies can lead to hours of entertainment and creativity. Plus, as a kid, I remember that there was nothing better than opening a new box of crayons. Something special about all of those tips still being intact.

  • Binders/Folders - these offer a good way to keep artwork and special papers and a way to help keep your home papers organized. Pick up the character ones and the kids see them as a real treat.

  • Book Bags and Lunch Bags - you can use book bags for carrying toys to Grandma's house, packing for one night away, taking stuff to sports or the pool, organizing books and magazines to keep in the car and more. If you find a roomy one, they can be a great extra bag to have on hand. The lunch boxes can be used as coolers for a trip to the zoo or park (if you find the insulated ones, like many are). The old style metal and plastic ones with their easy to operate latches and convenient handles make a nice carrying case for crayons or small toys like matchbox cars.

  • Running through this small list (I'm sure there are more creative uses for school supplies), makes me ready to head out and stock up.

    This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday Back to School Tips.

    Enter to win a Seventh Generation Back-to-School kit here.


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