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/ Source: TODAY Contributor
By Amanda Mushro

Even if your kids are already hitting the books or you have a few more days before you snap the first-day picture, it’s not too late to try a few back-to-school hacks and DIYs to get your kids excited about the new year. From making boring supplies more personal to creating an organized homework space, these tips and tricks will give your kids an A+ start.

Amanda Mushro

1. Chalkboard notebook

Notebooks are a staple for kids in every grade, but with a little chalkboard paint, a boring notebook can be turned into customized gear. By painting the cover of a notebook with chalkboard paint, which can be found at any craft store, your kids can use chalk to write down homework assignments or reminders for each class. Sure they could write everything on regular paper, but isn’t writing with chalk more fun?

2. Keychain flash drive

The old excuse of “the dog ate my homework” has probably been replaced with “I lost my flash drive.” This hack makes it easy to always have your flash drive when you need it. Using an inexpensive plush keychain, make a small hole in the side of the plush and remove a small amount of the stuffing. Then put the flash drive inside the hole and secure it with a dab of hot glue on the flash drive case. Attach the keychain to a book bag or to a binder for easy access.

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3. Lap desk

Back to school also means back to homework. With this quick and inexpensive DIY, you can make a lap desk that is perfect for finishing school work at home or in the car. Start with a small throw pillow and use hot glue or Velcro strips to attach a white board to the pillow. The finishing touch is attaching a pencil pouch to the side of the white board with hot glue or Velcro strips so your kids have everything they need for a comfortable and productive homework session.

4. School schedule hack

During those first few days of middle school, remembering your class schedule can get tricky, but this hack creates a quick reminder. If your child has a cellphone, have them snap a picture of their schedule and make it the home screen picture. During the school day, they can check their lock screen without having to search for their schedule in their bookbag.

5. Locker combination hack

If your middle schooler needs a reminders of their locker combination, have them write their combination inside a rubber bracelet. When they need access to their locker, they can quickly look at the numbers by flipping up their bracelet.

6. Mason jar supply organizer

Keep all of the supplies your kids will need for their homework organized and in once place with this DIY. Start with a few mason jars and use hot glue to stack the jars. Once the hot glue dries, fill the jars with everything your kids will need to make homework a breeze.

7. Reusable to-do list

If you are always writing notes and reminders for your family, a reusable family to-list can help everyone stay on track. Start with an old picture frame and pop in a colorful piece paper instead of a picture. Use a dry erase maker to write notes on the glass. Leave the frame in a place that everyone will see and try to get your family in the habit of always checking the list. Here’s an extra hack: a cotton pom from your kid’s craft supplies can be glued to the dry erase marker lid to make a reusable eraser.

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