Come September, most parents are more than ready to load their kids onto the school bus. And for little people, going back to school often comes with a lot of excitement...and some jitters. Indeed, after three carefree months, the transition back to the structure and separation of school-life can feel daunting. Fortunately, you can help calm nerves and ease the transition back to academia with a little art therapy. Check out this roundup of back to school crafts for kids so your little learner can hit the ground running.
30 Back-to-School Crafts for Kids to Combat First Day Butterflies
With just a little cutting, painting and pasting, kids of all ages can easily craft these adorable paper plate apple bags, which feature a handy pouch for storing pencils, crayons, erasers and other small school supplies that have a habit of going missing.
These back to school stress balls are incredibly easy to make—just get some red balloons at the dollar store and a swatch of green felt, and then raid your pantry for flour or any other filling with sensory appeal. This palm-sized stress-reliever is especially great for kids who suffer from separation anxiety at the start of the school year. Plus, the apple design is on-theme and totally adorable.
3. Apple Stamps
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more novel to your preschooler than an activity that sanctions food play. Slice an apple in half and have your child help by painting the cut-side red for an apple stamp that best imitates the work of Mother Nature herself. Just don’t forget to give your wee one some googly eyes for good measure.
With the help of these homemade monster bookmarks, little readers will be ready to dive right into new material (and then pick up where they left off on day two). Gather some craft sticks, paints, pom poms, googly eyes...and don’t forget your kid, because the crafting fun is fuss-free and child-friendly.
The process of picking out a first day of school ensemble is a yearly rite of passage, so get a head-start one late summer afternoon with this easy craft. The finished product? An accessory that goes well with any getup and makes your daughter look like the good apple she is at her core.
The geometric design on this eye-pleasing apple craft is the result of a pretty nifty technique that involves dipping the end of a toilet paper tube in paint and then stamping it onto paper (in this case a free apple template) to create perfect circles. It’s easy enough for a little kid to achieve and looks seriously cool, especially once your little one has added some watercolors to complete the work of art.
It doesn’t get easier than this free printable craft—just cut out the cardstock crown (or have your kid do it if their scissor skills are up to snuff) and leave your kid to color and decorate it however they see fit. Tip: Pom poms, rhinestones and other crafty embellishments will make the project more fun.
When you go school supply shopping be sure to stock up on extra glue sticks so you and your child can put together this cute wreath. It’s easy to make and there’s no hot glue gun involved, so kids can help at every stage of the crafting process. Plus, it will look darn cute hung up in the classroom and the gesture will likely get your kid on the teacher’s good side.
If the first day of school is a source of dread for your little one, keep things light with a balloon craft that’s both foolproof and Insta-worthy. We highly recommend maximum kid involvement: Schoolyard veterans can write their own celebratory messages while new kids on campus can use the latex canvas to write down their worries before letting them go (just make sure your balloon is tied to a string so it doesn’t float away). Either way, the exercise will facilitate a helpful dialogue and the photo-op will make you misty-eyed.
With some comic books, a little creativity and that composition notebook on your back-to-school shopping list, your schoolyard superhero can bring her (adorable) delusions of grandeur to life...and to a classroom desk. These decoupaged notebooks are so darn cool, we wish we could turn back time and sport one ourselves.
Your son’s pencils are everywhere. They’re on the floor, behind the sofa cushion, on the dining room table...yet how is it that when we actually need one to jot down an important note, they’re nowhere to be found? Think of this craft as a (judgment-free) call to action. In other words, let’s capitalize on the Star Wars phase to get kids on board with the organization effort...before the school supplies eat us alive.
The mad dash to make it to the bus stop on time is not yet a daily occurrence but it’s right around the corner, so ease back into the school year routine with a little cardboard crafting fun. Kids of all ages can participate in this easy project. Best of all, you only need basic arts and crafts materials like construction paper, paint and glue to pull this one off, so you might even be able to skip a trip to the craft store.
If you’re preparing your future preschooler for his first day of formal schooling, this easy salt dough craft is a must. Little hands are more than welcome to get in on the action—toddler siblings can help, too—and the resulting magnets will look lovely when used to attach your kid’s most recent masterpiece to the fridge.
Kids love bubble wrap (and don’t we all)? Turns out that this beloved packing material can also come in handy when the time comes for back to school crafting. This simple, child-friendly craft requires nothing more than the filler from your last Amazon order and some non-toxic paint. (Little ones might need help when it comes to painting something that actually resembles an apple but for bigger kids, the process is as easy as ABC.) When the painting is done, your mini can make use of this super cute apple imprint, which makes notebooks, binders, and even plain old pieces of paper look snazzy.
The end of summer often goes hand in hand with ambivalence and angst. Enter The Kissing Hand—a library mainstay that helps kids cope with separation anxiety. Read the sweet story with your little one and then bring the heartfelt message to life with art. When the project is complete, your child will continue to benefit from this carry-along craft that symbolizes your bond.
27. Backpack Charms
You know how your son’s collection of small plastic animals seems to have no purpose but to injure the soles of your feet? Well, those trinkets finally found a raison d'être as charming ornaments that will get your kid excited to put on his backpack for the big first day.
Tweens can customize their lockers in a decidedly wholesome way with this magnetic pencil holder, designed to stick to that classic campus staple. But really, this cute accessory boasts both form and function, and your offspring will be proud to say he did it himself.
Yep, the original way to pin it has survived the times. This duct tape cork board is inexpensive and so easy to make that even the littlest ones can get in on the artsy endeavor. Once this board has found its rightful place on the wall, it can be used as a gallery for budding artists or a schedule-keeping tool for parents.