Best Teachers Hands Down

How do you thank the people who nurture, teach, inspire and love your child(ren) each day?  The end of the year gifts are always so special.

These are some of the ones I’ve put together and received over the years. Each is so unique.  My absolute favorite are the notes that are hand written with such care and love by students.

Helping Me Grow is so easy to make and and totally affordable. IMG_8704Use a terracotta pot I chose 2 sizes one for the Director and the 2 smaller ones for the supervisors.  I used a 6 inch pot and 4 inch pots.  Use a little yellow paint and a sharpie marker with a ruler to get good spacing and off you go.  Trace your little one’s hands and glue to Popsicle sticks, fill the planter with mints and a I tucked in a gift certificate to a local nail salon and bingo; adorable.   P.S. This is still on the Director’s desk filled with mints (new ones) 3 years later.

For those classroom teachers I grab something I hope that they will use and think of my kiddo.  A chiller cup and gift card to a local coffee shop.    Another trip through the coffee shop will take care of those bus drivers and monitors that wake up oh so early each day to meet your kid with a smile at the bus stop.  These gifts also work great for crossing guards if you’re a non-bus family.  Usually can’t go wrong with a good bottle of wine, especially if you can get a good spy to find out their favorite. But remember it’s best not to send this gift into school with your underage student.  A quick trip into the school office to tuck it in a mailbox is wise.  I found these and had to buy them, honestly I bought them in the summertime.  They screamed elementary teacher cute.  They are salt and pepper shakers 

What ideas do you have for your teachers this year?  Feel free to share below because there are about 18 years worth of teachers to buy for.

Creating a kids work station

Creating a space where kids school aged can do work and pre-school kids can be creatively and practice their skills is so important in making sure you lay the foundation for good study skills.

When tight on space the kitchen table often becomes the best option.  As parents prepare dinner; questions can be answered, daydreamers can be brought back down and the unmotivated can be re-directed.  I had to create a quick and easy solution so when it was time for homework to pause and dinner to hit the table it was a quick clean up.

In a quick afternoon project we make this colorful caddy using

  • old soup cans
  • spray paint
  • a ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • toilet paper tubes

IMG_6202

Wash and clean empty tin cans.  Using a variety of sizes worked well for us.  Peal the paper labels off and get ready for painting.  Spray paint two coats of any color of your choosing.  IMG_6214

Wait until dry and place a vertical line of hot glue on one can.  Press it onto its mate joining them together.  Repeat with additional cans until all 3 cans are glued tightly together.  Place fabric ribbon around all three and glue where they touch the cans and each other.  (The ribbon is purely decorative and doesn’t really provide any structural support in holding the cans together.) I suppose you could wrap the cans in some tight fishing line if you wanted more support, before putting the ribbon over it.

Using toilet paper tubes as dividers in the larger of the cans allows you to separate pencils from pens from highlighters from colored pencils etc.

IMG_6203

As time goes on and you use this caddy more and more you’ll realize what you want to add.  With a first grader we ended up making sure glue and a huge eraser were added.  IMG_6201There are of course tons of other products out there that help solve this need.  I’ve seen them made with plastic shower caddies and those are nice because of the handle.  I’m sure this won’t last forever but it’s gotten 3 good years thus far.

Happy crafting, cheers.

Kindergarten Tissues, Cheers & Tea

Hello Kindergarten and hello new friends.  Did you realize that as your little peanut gets ready to start the journey of education you’re about to begin the journey as “so in so’s mom/dad”. Not only will your little one be making friends that may last the next 13 years and maybe beyond but you are too.

My oldest started last year on this journey and I figured I needed some new people in my village and tribe.  Ones who can talk shop with me when it comes to school politics, policy, and scoop.  I kept my ears open in August kinda hoping that the school, PTG, or 1st grade parents might host something like this. But with no avail I set out to do it on my own.

It was pretty easy. Picked a local coffee shop that was between all the elementary schools, had parking and an area to sit. I wanted to include all the elementary schools as my town has more than one. It made sense because as our kids grow the schools merge; plus the more the merrier. I made a public Facebook event grabbed as many emails as I could from school correspondences and Pre-K friends and hit invite.

I decided hosting it at a local coffee shop was the easiest.  It would have been awkward for people to come to my house. What I really liked is that it was no stress for me. I didn’t have to buy supplies for coffee and food. I left purchase up to each person and they could keep whatever time table they wanted.

The event invitation was worded as so…”Do you have a child entering Kindergarten this fall at insert school names here? Doesn’t matter if it is your first, last, or one in-between. Join other parents in a quick sip before you head to work or start the day. Consider it a chance to meet others who will be walking the same path of school for the next 13 years.  Tissues will be provided but Tea & Coffee will be up to you. Tell your friends and share the invite.”  Set the invite for 10-15 min pass the school bell which allows those that put kids on the bus to get there first; those that drop off to get out of the parking lot, and those of us that followed the bus just to sneak a peak time to drive by.

I did call the coffee shop ahead of time to see if they could do something special for us and to let them know we were coming.  Honestly, I had no idea how many people would come. I also made special tissue boxes figuring it could be an ice breaker and let those arriving know where all the Kindergarten parents were. FREE download below.

It worked out great. We had a good group; some came and left on their way to work, some stayed for over an hour and had breakfast. Doing it at school would have been crazy as our schools don’t have tons of parking and teachers and parents are already a bit on edge taking care of our kids and teaching them the ropes.

So now as a first grade mom; I’ll keep my eyes pealed on the first day, for those taking a few extra pictures, giving a few extra hugs and extend a tissue and an invite to coffee.

Have a great school year!

free download button

If you are interested in a FREE tissue box wrap download them here..  You only need to print 2 pages per box so pick your favorite color combos.  Print them on regular paper and trim the edges.  A little scotch tape and you’re done.  These tags are designed for the square boxes not individual packets nor rectangular boxes.

Looking for other back to school ideas and tips?  Try reading Back to School.  Which is all about how to be prepared in the AM and for the year.