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5 Best Back-to-School Craft Ideas

Aug. 6, 2018

Summer days are filled splashing, sun, and relaxation. It’s no wonder why kids and parents alike feel uneasy about getting back to the daily school routine! Especially for the littlest of learners, it’s a tough transition that can be easily handled with a little bit of preparation and excitement. 

Back-to-School Activities for Elementary Kids 

Ease your child back into the swing of things with fun-filled back-to-school crafts, perfect for pumping little ones up for learning! No matter if you’re a parent, teacher, or even both, there’s no need to go searching for Pinterest craft ideas, because Kids Academy has you covered! Take a look at the awesome activities below, and get crafting to stir up some excitement for school! 

Inspirational Painted Pencils

There’s no better way to say welcome back to school, than by inspiring our little ones, and building a healthy self-esteem. Work on this together with your child, or give these adorable pencils as a gift. This easy, themed arts and crafts activity is great for preschool through tweens as they head back into the classroom this fall! 

back-to-school crafts

What You’ll Need: 

  • Package of pencils 
  • Super fine tip permanent marker 
  • Acrylic paints
  • Precision paintbrush with a flat end
  • Masking or painter’s tape (optional) 

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What To Do: 

  1. Prepare a surface safe for drying the pencils. You might lay out paper towels or newspaper on a counter, near a wall. 
  2. If using painter’s tape, carefully attach a small amount of tape around the eraser. Using the acrylic paint colors of your choice, paint each pencil. 
  3. Lean each pencil against the wall with the eraser touching the wall. Make sure to stand it up gently to avoid it falling and smudging the paint. Let dry for at least 30 minutes. 
  4. After the pencils are dry, check to see if they need a second coat. If so, repeat the above steps. 
  5. Using the permanent marker, write inspirational messages on each pencil, horizontally. Remove the painter’s tape. Message ideas include sayings like, “Love, Mom”, “You Can Do It!”, or “Make Today Count”. Personalize your message for the age and maturity level of your child. 

Hide these pencils in your child’s pencil pouch before the first day of school to delight her with motivation starting from the very first assignment! If you’re working together with your child, encourage her to get creative with messages or decorations for each pencil to make cute designs and inspirational sayings.   

Adorable Pencil Toppers

If you need crafts for toddlers easy enough for little hands to make, look no further! This easy DIY back-to-school activity can be completed in mere minutes by the youngest of learners. Head to your local arts and crafts store to stock up on these common items to get started! 

adorable pencil toppers

What You’ll Need: 

  • Colorful Pipe Cleaners
  • Package of small googly eyes 
  • White craft glue or tacky glue
  • Pencils

What To Do: 

  1. Take a pencil and a pipe cleaner, and starting midway up the pencil, wrap the pipe cleaner around the pencil until you get to the eraser. 
  2. Take the tip of the pipe cleaner and ball it up to make a head, curling it into itself and glue it with a tiny bit of glue so it doesn’t unravel. 
  3. Glue two small googly eyes on the head to make a bookworm! 

The beauty of simple craft activities like this one, is that the options are limitless! Jazz it up even more by using different colors, adding pointy foam board ears to make monsters, or whatever else your child can imagine to make fuzzy pencil tops your child will adore! 

DIY Super Hero and Princess Book Marks 

Back-to-school crafts should excite kids for learning, and serve as a source of motivation. Ready your kids for reading with this charming arts and crafts idea that will inspire them to keep opening their books time and again! 

DIY super hero and princess book marks

What You’ll Need: 

  • Jumbo craft sticks
  • Acrylic paints 
  • Fine point black permanent marker
  • White paint pen
  • Mod Podge sealer, or other clear paintable sealer 
  • Paint brushes
  • Felt, twist ties, pipe cleaners, small googly eyes, or anything else your child would like to use (optional)
  • Craft glue (optional) 

What To Do: 

  1. First, talk with your child to see what he or she would like to create. Your child might want to create Bat Man, The Hulk, Rapunzel, or any character, monster, or animal your child would love to make! Based upon your child’s ideas, select paint colors and supplies accordingly. 
  2. Depending on your child’s design, free hand draw or paint the character on the jumbo craft stick. For instance, Rapunzel might wear a light purple dress, so feel free to paint the craft stick purple, or attach a felt dress. For the Hulk, paint the stick green before drawing his face and hair at the top. Use the white paint and permanent marker pen to draw eyes, or other details depending on the character your child is making. 
  3. After the paint is dry, dress up the book mark with any additional materials. For instance, use yellow twist ties or pipe cleaners for Rapunzel’s hair. Glue this on using a small amount of craft glue. 

After each bookmark is completely dry, your child can use them in their books to mark their spot! Encourage your child to create more throughout the school year using new characters or animals. DIY crafts like this one could easily help your child build a collection that fosters his or her love of reading!

1st Day of School Photo Frame Prop

Did you know fun back-to-school crafts can take the form of props for an exciting photo op? We’ve all seen those cute frames that celebrate this important milestone posted to social media. Get in on the fun and make memories that last a lifetime with this activity for preschoolers or kindergarteners that celebrates the very first day of school!

What You’ll Need: 

  • Large rectangle piece of cardboard
  • About 200 crayons; look for 8-9 boxes of 24 count crayons, or 2 boxes of 64 count crayons
  • Utility Knife
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Markers
  • Pencil
  • Sentence Strips
  • Scissors
  • Mini chalk board and chalk 

What To Do: 

Help your child line up the crayons, one by one, around the sides of the cardboard. With a pencil, outline the inside middle of the cardboard, and cut out the middle using the utility knife. 

  1. Using the hot glue (parents only!), glue each crayon down to the cardboard frame. 
  2. Using markers, write the ABC’s in colorful letters on the sentence strips. On another sentence strip, write neatly, “The First Day Of…”. Trim the sentence strips on the top and bottom. 
  3. Glue the sentence strip that says, “The First Day Of…” at the top of the frame, in the middle of the crayons. 
  4. Glue the ABC sentence strips down and across the sides of the frame on the remaining 3 sides. 
  5. On the bottom right corner, glue the mini chalk board to the frame, and write whichever grade your child will be entering this fall. 

On the first day of school, have your child pose with the frame for a picture to send to your family and friends! If you have multiple children, simply erase the chalk board, and replace the writing with whichever grade your children will be entering. This versatile craft idea can last throughout your children’s primary years! 

Easy Pencil Pouches 

Arts and crafts are fun to make, but even better when they can be used again and again! This practical project covers kindergarteners through tweens, and is simple to construct! Using materials that can be found around the house, this activity will be one that can save you money on school supplies! 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Quart sized Ziploc Slider bags 
  • Standard-sized decorative duct tape in the design of your child’s choice
  • Mini duct tape in a color that matches or contrasts with the design
  • Scissors 
  • School supplies, like markers, pencils, and erasers

What to Do: 

Help your child lay a Ziploc bag flat on a workspace or table. Using the standard-sized duct tape, attach a long piece across the top, right under the zipper. 

  1. Flip the bag over and attach another long piece of duct tape on the other side. 
  2. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create another row of tape on both sides of the bag, directly underneath the first row. 
  3. Next, using scissors, cut off the very bottom of the bag. 
  4. Again, repeat steps 1 and 2 to create a 3rd row of tape on both sides of the bag, directly underneath the second row. 
  5. Cut off around ½ inch of tape at the bottom of the pouch, leaving enough to hold the bag together. 
  6. Add a row of mini duct tape at the bottom and along the sides to add a color that matches or contrasts with the design. 

When finished, load up the bag with school supplies, and place inside a backpack for the first day of school! Keep Ziploc bags and duct tape handy around the house, and create new pouches whenever needed throughout the year, or make a few now, and use them as needed. Just like that, your child created brilliant crafts for back to school that are both fun and functional!  


If your child isn’t already excited for school to start, he will be after creating some of the above projects. Making pen pouches, pencil toppers, bookmarks, and so much more, will invigorate your child’s creativity and imagination while growing excitement for the school year to come. Try out some of the above back-to-school crafts, and watch with delight as each fun-filled project turns into a practical way to prepare for the first day of school and beyond.

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