Back to School Tools

IMG_20150816_130941250_HDRI have an older post with some of my favorite ‘must have’ back to school supplies here.


I have a couple of new favorites for the Cherub (so think preschool level):

Expo Dry Erase Learning Board (89063): This is double sided. It has lines on one side, is blank on the other. The Cherub has other lap-board sized dry erase boards (one of the few things she likes to do is scribble). But she always flips them over and draws on the back of the board. This way, that won’t matter. Now, you can make your own with cardboard, or even a piece of board or a bit of melamine and Con-Tact Readi-Write Dry Erase Roll of Contact Paper, 12-Inch x 4-Feet, White (04F-C22010-06), and if the Cherub actually were a toddler who will outgrow this, that’s what I’d do. But she needs sturdy.
There is a cheaper double sided board at Amazon, but many reviews complained that they didn’t erase well.
You can also probably find plane jane boards for a dollar or two at your local Target or Walmart, and then just cover the back with the contact paper. Another issue with the Cherub is that she would find the edge of that paper and start tearing it off, so I’d be replacing it on at least a weekly basis.
Then again,

Now, the Cherub is not discriminate about where she draws, and she doesn’t put caps back on. Last month I found a new-to-me goody at our local Walmart (no apologies, I like saving money, and I am not a socio-economic snob): Crayola 8ct Washable Dry Erase Colored Pencils
These are bright, and look more like crayon on the whiteboard. It does take a little more elbow grease to erase, although I haven’t tried it with a wet cloth, only dry. Another feature that is an advantage for us, but won’t be for everybody- the ‘wax,’ or whatever the coloring element is, can be colored down to the nub so you have to sharpen the pencil again fairly frequently, especially if your young artist presses down hard, which the Cherub does. But for me, this is preferable to markers, because that means that if I don’t notice that she’s started scribbling on herself, the dog, the floor, a book, the couch, the table, or the walls, it’s only a matter of time before she’s run the colouring medium down to the nub and can’t do any more damage (and, this being the Cherub, when this happens she comes and shakes her pencil in my face, so it also serves as a good “MOM, PAY MORE ATTENTION!” warning). Then I can either sharpen it for her, or take it away and start clean up. These are washable, even on the floor, although, again, it takes a bit of elbow grease.
The box says they are heat sensitive, too, which is why they are shipped unsharpened. That tells me we probably won’t be using them in the car.

Now, if your main concern with dry-erase markers is the way young’ns lose the caps, then go for the clickables: Expo Click Retractable Low Odor Fine Tip Dry Erase Markers

If you want a magnetic board, my favorite is either the refrigerator (we had magnetized map puzzle there for years), or a stainless steel cookie sheet (I bet you could cover it with whiteboard contact paper!): Fox Run Stainless Steel Cookie Sheet, 12 Inch x 14 Inch

Even better would be one of those stainless steel cake pans with a lid so you can store the magnets when not in use, but you should look for those second hand, as the cheapest I found at Amazon is forty dollars.

Wide rubberbands in different colors or color-coded cups- Because you have better things to do than wash five glasses for every single person in the house by lunch time.  Everybody gets one cup.  It’s either in their color, or they put the rubberband in their color around that cup.  That’s it until the dinner dishes are done.

What are some of your favorite back to school supplies?

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  1. Mama Squirrel
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Three hold punch. Nuff said.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted August 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the rubber band idea. I had been using a piece of scotch tape on the cups, but that required writing said kid’s name new each day, or when it got rubbed off or …. I was also worried about putting tape in the dishwasher. Rubberbands would be easier if the kids would leave them on. Any issues with that?

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 14, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      The Cherub doesn’t leave hers on, but it’s also easier to keep track of her one cup.

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