3 tips for the beginning of school year

Hi guys, Shannon here!

Anyone else feel like September is already flying by?? Summer seems to be officially over (even though it sure doesn’t feel like it), school routines have started and stores are ramping up their holiday decor madness. And whether you’re still feeling a bit teary-eyed because your littlest just had their first day of kindergarten, elated about the change of pace, or gearing up for a year of education at home, I get it. It’s a lot!

I get asked about my favorite resources, supplies and beginning of school year tips a lot, so I thought I’d jot them down here in case it’s helpful for anyone else.

  1. a few special supplies to keep at home

    I know school supplies can really add up. Especially when your daughter insists on the glittery folders rather than the plain ones (just saying... ahem), but there are a few goodies I suggest trying to budget for. Or put them on a birthday or holiday wishlist. My top recs:

    1. Paint sticks. We sell these in the store and they’re uh-mazing. Seriously, I can’t recommend them enough. Great for little hands and for adding quick color to any project. Best of all? It’s dry. They rub on like glue sticks, have a bit of an oily texture but dries to the touch within minutes. brilliant.

    2. Magnetic tablet. An upgrade from a chalkboard, this can grow with your child. I use it with our youngest (21 months) and our 1st grader loves to practice her letters on it. I also love to take it with us when we travel. We’ve liked it so much, we invested in the cursive letter board too.

    3. Visual dictionary. We have this one. This gets used nearly every week, alongside our other favorite- “Nature Anatomy” by Julia Rothman.

    4. Quality play dough. This doesn’t have to be something you buy, you can make a batch at home (try this recipe! ). Having something squishy like dough or putty helps some children relieve stress and re-inforce learned concepts.


2. Keep a special place for tracking your child’s school year

Last year, the grandparents gave us two portfolios that have been game changers for wrangling in all the papers and projects, as well as jotting down little anecdotes we didn’t want to forget. These are a bit fancier than file folders, but just about anything would do. You can find others that are even more elaborate. This one is quite large and holds all the bigger projects. And this one has simple prompts to fill in.

3. Self-portraits

Anyone else a big fan of children’s drawings? It’s so precious to see how a child views themselves, refines their drawing skills and can express creativity all at the same time. Self-portrait projects have become a staple in our house to bookend each school year (and they get tucked into the portfolio above). I highly recommend having your child create one or more self-portraits throughout the year. They’ll almost always be frame-worthy. :)

Your turn! What do you recommend?