Think back to the best parts of elementary school - chances are, you've got visions of papier-mâché volcanoes and construction-paper Valentine's Day cards. That's because getting crafty with your own two (somewhat sticky) hands was among the most engaging, stimulating, and just plain fun things you could do as a budding student.
So now that you're on the parenting end of the equation, it's time to get a head start on the glue sticks and pipe cleaners by starting your little learner off with some educational DIY before the first class bell rings. These simple crafts will give your child's school supplies some extra flair, and help them stay organized too.
Label With Shrinky Dinks
Whether they're on clothes, backpacks, or pencil boxes, labels are essential for keeping track of your kid's belongings in the chaotic classroom - but there's no reason they should be boring.
Enter shrinky dinks, a project that injects a little magic into the back-to-school process. Track down some PDF line drawings of quirky characters online - cats, monsters, aliens, whatever your little one likes. If they're uncolored, have your child choose what colors will fill them in, and bring them to life with digital paint. Customize them with your little learner's name in a bold font, and print them on white shrink film with your PIXMA printer, setting the color at 50% opacity. Cut out the designs, pop a hole in their tops with a ¼-inch hole punch, and bake them according to the shrink film's instructions. As the shrunken characters cool, place a heavy book over them and you'll end up with colorful, keychain-like labels that you can use to personalize just about anything. Some simple ball chains from your local jewelry store will keep them secure even through playground tumbles.
Think Outside the Box
Have a priceless piece of artwork hand-crafted by your soon-to-be student? Print a high-resolution scan (your PIXMA printer will figure out the right settings with Auto Scan) and decoupage it to the front of a plain lunchbox with a bit of rubber cement and some clear coat. That sense of pride is guaranteed to make peanut butter and jelly taste better.
To personalize a pencil collection, opt out of the boring plastic box in favor of a photo memory box. Let your child pick and print her favorite 4 inch by 6 inch photos (pets, friends and vacations work great) to really make her pencil box special. Rather than buying a new box for every new grade, just swap out the photo with a fresh one to give it a whole new look.
Customize with a Collage
Every student needs plenty of folders, but off-the-shelf designs aren't very exciting. Get your scholar excited about school by creating themed photo collage covers for each folder - a collection of paintings for an art folder, covers of favorite books for a writing folder, or a hodgepodge of wild animals for a science folder. Make the crafting process interactive, informative, and hands-on by picking photos on your smart device, sending them wirelessly to your PIXMA printer, and letting your little one take the wheel with simple Touch & Print controls.
When your kids design and create their school supplies themselves, those supplies become more than just tools - they're miniature works of art, conversation-starters for classroom friend-making, and portable points of pride that help young minds become enthusiastic about the learning process.
- Buzzfeed: 37 Awesome DIYs to Make Before School Starts
- HuffPost Living: 8 Fun Do-It-Yourself School Supply Decorations