Little man moved up a room at daycare last week — a move that felt a lot bigger than his previous transitions, since his prior moves were still all contained in the infant wing. Now, we’re on the “other side of the lobby,” as I call it, where all the lower preschool and pre-K rooms are. Where they brush their teeth and scrape their plates after lunch, and wash their own hands, and drink out of lid-less cups, And sleep on cots, not in cribs. And ride bikes on the “big kid” (not infant) playground. As I write this, I sit beside his room’s monthly newsletter, telling me he’ll be going on his first field trip next month. *Sigh* When did he get so grown up??
Anywho — I wanted to give his infant room teachers a token of our appreciation, both for caring for our son and for helping him learn so much. (I could get on a very large, sturdy soapbox about how much more we as a community and country should be supporting early childhood education and affordable (!) quality (!) child care, but I won’t. At least not now ;).) We chose this facility — and made room for it in the budget — because they are a curriculum-based, experiential education center that goes above and beyond in preparing young minds to tackle life. Love it.
I had the hardest time coming up with a gift that didn’t seem silly or useless. I Googled, I talked to friends, I searched Pinterest. I could have gotten gift cards, but that seems lazy. Plus, while I know his teachers fairly well, I still wasn’t sure which store would be the best choice, or how much (since we are on a budget!) to spend, or whether it would be more of a burden for already-busy teachers (great, something else to carve time out for to go get!). And, I wanted something that Owen could be involved in a little as well. The clock was ticking, and I had no time left to come up with something. So, at the eleventh hour, I thought of something I had just made for myself: an embellished clipboard to serve as my “command central” of bill due dates, meal plans and shopping lists (a post on that is in the works). It was fast, easy, cheap, and cute, and most importantly, it was actually practical. I remembered that his teachers are constantly carrying clipboards from room to room, or using them in their own rooms, so it fit the bill.
All you need is a clear acrylic clipboard, scrapbook paper, ribbon, poster board, spray adhesive, and clear contact paper. I also used an Xacto knife to trim the paper and some craft punches to make the label, but you could use decorative scissors or a die-cut machine or something similar, or just freehand it with scissors.
I just eyeballed the placement of the contrasting pieces of paper and ribbon — I was going for fast! I placed the ribbon down first, then the solid color paper, then the patterned paper, spraying each piece with adhesive to adhere it. I trimmed all of them AFTER I had them glued to the board — this meant that I didn’t have to be exact with lining up edges, I only had to make sure the ribbon and polka dots were straight across.
Then, I did the same thing with a piece of white poster board (glossy side facing out) to hide all the paper overlaps and give the underside a smooth finish.
Last, I printed off labels on white cardstock that I layered with the same scrapbook paper. I then layered each tag between two pieces of clear contact paper to laminate them (you could use a laminating machine or pouch, but I liked the softness and flexibility of contact paper in this case), to give them some added durability. I then used basic craft glue to stick that sucker on the clip part of the board.
I played around with adding a ribbon poof to the top of the clip, but it only looked odd and seemed like it would get in the way fast, so I left them as is. While I did most of this, Owen was able to help stick the labels on and put them in the gift bag. I also had him help “sign” the card with a crayon (read, drew a scribble picture) and he helped carry it in to give to his teachers.
They all loved them, and the comment I heard the most was, “That’s such a practical gift, we’ll actually use these — thanks!” Goal accomplished.
Now, if I could only get baby boy to stop growing as quickly as this project was to throw together.