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This mom's 100th-day-of-school hack is a game-changer

We salute her brilliant solution.
/ Source: TODAY

The 100th day of school is looming. And for parents, this widely celebrated event can add some extra items to the never-ending to-do list.

Schools across the country celebrate the marker by asking families to get creative and bring in 100 items of their choice. Some simply use up spare stickers or throw candy in a bag, while others go Pinterest-wild with major craft projects.

But of all the iterations of this ages-old parental challenge, one solution has reached new heights of genius.

"My oldest was in first grade and my son was a toddler," Indialantic, Florida mom Rachel Ellsworth told TODAY Parents. "The night before the 100th day of school, my daughter reminds me at bedtime — of course, at bedtime — that she needs to bring 100 items to school the next day."

Florida mom Rachel Elsworth sent her daughter, Brigit, into school on the 100th day with a 100 calorie pack of Oreos.
Florida mom Rachel Elsworth sent her daughter, Brigit, into school on the 100th day with a 100 calorie pack of Oreos.Rachel Ellsworth

"Now here I am on the 99th day of school looking around my house — turns out I have 86 buttons, 72 stickers and only 54 paper clips," Ellsworth continued. "I was rummaging through the pantry when I saw my 100 calorie packs of Oreo daughter thought it was hilarious and her teacher thought I was a genius. It also doubled as her snack that day."

Here are nine more ideas from moms who totally nailed it.

1. Hands counting by fives on poster board

Stacey Waltzer

Stacey Waltzer suggests keeping things simple by tracing your child's hand 20 times, attaching the cutouts to poster board and having them count by fives all the way to 100.

2. Little green army men

New York mom Colleen McGarty says her son, who was in kindergarten when he completed a 100th-day-of-school project, is now in college. Still, McGarty recalls counting out 100 green army men with her son to send to school on the big day.

3. Lollipops

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson sent her son to school with 100 lollipops — what a sweet idea!

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4. M&Ms

"I handed my kid a big bag of M&Ms and said, 'Count these until you reach 100 and you can eat the rest,'" said Wendy Cross.

5. Buttons

Carrie Shives

Whether you get creative like Carrie Shives, or toss 100 buttons into a plastic baggie, this is a great example of using something you have sitting around your house anyway.

6. Bandaids

"I've sent in two boxes of fifty bandaids," said New York mom Michelle Lynch. Brilliant.

7. Stickers

Allison Slater Tate

The best part about stickers, says TODAY contributor Allison Slater Tate, is that they're virtually weightless. Don't forget to factor that in before you make the rookie mistake of taping 100 pennies to posterboard.

8. Words

Maryland mom Heather Lane nailed two birds with one stone.

"Buy a white sweatshirt from the craft store and have your kids write 100 words on it in marker," said Lane. "Then they can wear their project to school and they don’t have to carry anything extra."

9. Can tabs

Whether you're a soda drinker or a lover of beer, saving can tabs can pay off. Just ask Maryland mom Roxie Blue.

"I sent my son with 100 Budweiser tabs when he was in kindergarten," she said. That's what winning looks like.

This article was originally published in January 2018.