Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perfectly Portable School Supply Box

Toa of Boy needed the following supplies for co-op. And, since he changes rooms from class to class, his supplies needed to go in his backpack and travel with him through the day. Here's what he needed:
  • crayons
  • pencils
  • eraser
  • glue sticks
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • a pencil box
I'm presuming that the pencil box was meant to hold all those things together in his backpack. Let me tell you, Toa of Boy can't keep his supplies neatly in one place even when he is reasonably "stationary". The floor and the area around where he is working is constantly littered with a rain of pencils, crayons, etc. His backpack, I was sure, was going to become a bottomless pit of loose supplies which would be irretrievable in times of need. The tiny little "pencil boxes" which were in the school supply aisle could hold only a few of the items he needed on his list. So, I could buy THREE pencil boxes to put his stuff in and wish him and his co-op teachers the best of luck in keeping THAT straight....

Or I could invent a plan B.

Check out my plan B

This beautiful clear plastic box measures 9 x 13 x 2 inches. It fits easily inside of Toa's child-sized "Kung Fu Panda" backpack, still leaves plenty of room for his three ring binder, and allows the backpack to be easily zipped closed. I had Toa test whether he could put his belongings in his backpack on his own and zip it up. He could, no problem.

The box has a hinged, clear plastic lid which latches closed to secure the contents. Toa of Boy can easily do and undo the latches...also pretested. (I can't show the box with the lid closed, cause I already have Toa's first and last name on the lid...and I'm not clever enough to know how to photo edit that out before posting.)

The box came with many adjustable clear plastic dividers so that we could set up the compartments however we needed. The dividers go all the way down to the bottom of each section, and fit flush with the lid at the top, so no matter whether the box is on its side, on its end, upside down, shaken to pieces in a boy's backpack, etc..... all the contents stay in their own compartment.  The compartments make it easy to keep all the supplies neat and easily accessible. Toa, who loves art, is thrilled that his crayons are sorted by color family. (In fact, he sorted them that way himself.)

And, the box cost me $ only two dollars more than I would have spent for three vastly inferior "pencil boxes". Completely affordable and totally worth it.

Where did I find it? Not in the school supply section, not in the craft section, but.....(drum roll).....

In the fishing department near the tackle boxes.

Just for a further point of comparison, at the co-op we attended last year, the kids kept their supplies in a plastic shoe box sized storage container. Each grade stayed in the same room all day, so the boxes were kept on a shelf of the classroom. I know from being a teacher's aide that the supplies all wound up mixed together inside those boxes. They were just a big jumble of crayons, colored pencils, and markers. Plus, the shoe boxes were two big to fit in the child-sized backpacks. So, no, in my opinion, the larger plastic box is not an alternative "pencil box". This cool storage container is.

Plus, this storage box works for families who
  •  * homeschool on the go (don't we all at times?) and need to pack up supplies to travel
  •  * want to take school outside to the deck, backyard, or park on beautiful days
  •  * school all over the house, and want the supplies to be easily grabbed and brought along into    whichever room is the learning center at that time of day
  • * need to take school, or learning activities, with them for a few days or a week when they are going to be away from home. (We did this last year when we spent many days and weeks at my in-laws house when my father-in-law was in and out of the hospital. It was a pretty emotional time, but having some of the lighter lessons to do kept the kids occupied and kept some normalcy in their day and helped keep the situation from being too stressful or worrisome for them.)

So, that's what Works for Me!! Check out some other cool ideas at We Are THAT Family.


Marbel said...

What a fabulous idea! I love it! This would work well for my girl's beading supplies, too.

Yunia said...

great idea - I really like that box!!! thanks for the tip - have a great day