Originally published on Savvy Auntie.
At the start of the school year, young nieces and nephews might need a little encouragement from Auntie as they attempt to get back to their regular routines. Inspire them to be creative and to look forward to learning all year long with these fun activities!
1. Friendly Creature Pencil Toppers
Here’s a fun project to keep them busy when they come to visit Auntie for the afternoon. If your little nieces and nephews have worries about starting school, such as meeting a new teacher or making new friends, this activity allows them to create happy little creatures that they can bring with them to help ease those first-day jitters.
-Embellishments (e.g., eyes, pom-poms, and glitter)
1. Cut a set of the same shape out of the craft foam – if your niece wants to make a heart-shaped head for her creature, have her cut out two hearts.
2. Squeeze some glue along the perimeter of one shape, but leave some room for the pencil. Create a sandwich out of the two shapes by pressing the second shape onto the first. Repeat these steps until your nieces and nephews are happy with the amount of creature heads.
3. Now, the fun starts! Have your nieces and nephews use the embellishments to decorate as many friendly creatures as their pencil boxes will hold! When you are sure that everything has dried properly, help them carefully place their new toppers onto their pencils.
Now, they’re ready to tackle whatever problems they may face with their troop of friendly creatures!
2. Crafty Personal Lunch Bags
This activity can help make lunchtime a little more special for the kids. These bags are great alternatives to those brown paper bags and can serve as extra totes for school items or books once lunch is over.
-Paint or markers (fabric)
-Embellishments (e.g., sequins and glitter)
-Wax or craft paper (and newspapers)
1. Place some of the wax or craft paper inside the canvas bag before your nieces and nephews start decorating, and make sure to line the entire arts and crafts area with newspapers if you’re not doing this activity outside.
2. Have the kids paint or draw their names with markers on the front of the canvas bag. They can also paint or draw on anything else that they would like to include on their special lunch bags (e.g., smiley faces, flowers, or cars). Auntie can help out with the minor touch-ups and details, using the embellishments to really make the artwork pop!
3. Make sure to place the lunch bags in a safe place to dry before the kids start using them for school.
3. Photo Binders and Binder Dividers
Nieces and nephews in elementary school might be asked by their teachers to start bringing binders to class in order to keep all their assignments organized. Help them preserve all the fun summertime memories they’ve shared with Auntie with their own photo binders.
-Construction or scrapbook paper
-Embellishments (e.g., stickers or paper frames)
1. Have the kids insert sheets of construction or scrapbook paper into the front and back of the binders to make sure that they fit properly into the inserts. Do the same for the inside dividers.
2. Allow nieces and nephews to decorate the sheets with magazine cut-outs, stickers, embellishments, and photo borders before gluing on your summer photos.
3. Help them pick out their favorite pictures to put on the sheets, and have fun remembering all the great summer pastimes you’ve enjoyed together. Once they place the sheets into the proper inserts, they’ll be ready to tackle their class work!