Here's what we did.
First I gathered up materials to make a box to hold all of Baby L's fun summer writing materials: 1) a cereal box decorated with catalog clippings, 2) some stapled booklets of blank paper, and 3) some crayons, markers, tiny notepads, stickers, envelopes, and post-its:
Then I put it all together, so that Baby L has one transportable, totally fun, totally awesome SUMMER WRITING KIT! I even added in the mini-clipboard that the Easter Bunny brought her.
In the classroom, I love ending the school year by making reading kits and writing kits for the kids to take home for their summer reading and writing lives. You can spend the last week or two of reading workshop or writing workshop teaching the kids how to take care of and use their special summer kits so that by the time they leave for summer vacation, they've had plenty of practice with taking things out and putting them back, coming up with their own ideas for reading and writing projects, and dreaming up the kind of reading and writing they hope to do.
Here are some ideas that many teachers (and parents and caregivers) love!
For a container you could use:
- A giant zip-loc baggy
- Cloth bags ordered from Oriental Trading or other catalogue
- If you're a classroom teacher, sometimes parent volunteers are willing and able to sew beautiful bags for reading or writing kits. Thanks parents!
- Blank aluminum lunchboxes (available at some craft stores and websites) for children to decorate
- A typical pencil box
- Children could decorate whatever the container is with glued on pictures, stickers, or paint to personalize the kits
Some possibilities for tools to put in the Writing Kit:
- A notebook or notepad with blank paper (unlined for young children)
- “Special” summer writing paper with a place to sketch, and lines to write on just like writing workshop at school (photocopied onto colored paper to make it special; stapled or hole-punched and stuck on a ring to turn it into a notepad)
- Consider various paper sizes, decorating the paper with a stamp, photocopy a border or design onto it or placing a sticker at the top to turn it into “stationery”
- Colorful post-its, or post-its cut into shapes (stars, hearts, clouds, or other)
- Special glittery or colorfully designed pencils, pens or markers
- Envelopes and stamps, include a card with an address where children can to write to you and their new teacher(s) over the summer
- Post cards, greeting cards, notecards, etc.
- Poetry object(s) (seashells, stones, feathers, leaves, dried flowers, other)
- Recipe cards, list paper, How-To paper, mini-calendar
- Mini-staplers, tape, and/or glue sticks
- Personal Word Wall, Alphabet Chart, Blends Chart
- Collect favorite books to put in the reading kit
- Include books written by the child, other children, or by the teacher or parents or caregivers and friends
- Special book marks with reminders for things to think about while you read ("I'm wondering..." "This makes me think..." "I notice..."
- A tiny flashlight for reading under the covers
- Special post-its (of course!!)
- A tiny notebook for making a wish list of books, or for jotting or sketching ideas about the books
- A tiny calendar for tallying up how many books you read each day or how many pages you read (if you are an older kid who reads chapter books)