I’ve been on a roll since Red has been to “school.” Each August, for his preschool and Pre-K years, I’ve made a quick back to school sign on the computer for him, and snapped his photo outside (See our Back to School Sign for Preschool and for Pre-K). You can make your own back to school sign for free, too, with a little elbow grease on the computer and a few answers from your budding student!
Ask Your Questions
You already know your little guy’s name, but what about his most recent interests? If your kids are young, I’m sure you know them better than they know themselves, but it’s always interesting to ASK them anyway and see what they say. That’s how “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” was started, I’m sure. For instance, I often drink water flavored with juice or a flavor drop, and Red told his teacher this year my favorite drink was, “Red water.” THEY THOUGHT HE MEANT WINE. HA!
If you need some question ideas, start basic, or increase thought processes with age. For Kindergartners, ask them what their favorite food or toy is. Do they have a favorite book? That’s enough to go on. Grade schoolers can comment on what they want to be, or what their favorite activity is.
Create a canvas in Picmonkey
Size your canvas to 2400×3000 pixels. This will be a fair size to either print to scale or import to a Word Document if you like printing from that format. It’s nearly the scale of a piece of 8.5×11 printer paper. After that, visualize your format. Think about your fonts, color scheme, etc. in order to form a cohesive look. I change up my fonts each year, sticking to 3 or less.
Import Themed Clipart
As you can see from my previous back to school sign incarnations, I choose something basic and fun for each year. Until Red decides he wants to choose something, I’ve picked an apple, a backpack, and this year a “bookworm” with a pencil.
Create Text Boxes with your Student’s Answers
Three areas should suffice for your design. One for name and grade, another for likes, and though I always put his age on our sign, you can do what you like. Maybe have them draw a picture for you or write their own name. Options are endless, and you don’t have to keep it the same from year to year.
Print and Mount
If you’re on a mac, select the image to print, and choose “fill entire page” in the options. You’ll get a nice size and proportion if you created the right size pixels. Print that sucker off and either stick it in a frame (leave the glass to the side, it won’t photograph well) or mount it to a basic clipboard like we did this year.
This step sounds simple, but it can be the trickiest. DO NOT try to do all of this the night before school, or heaven forbid, the morning of the first day. It’s so much lower stress to take a photo a few days before school starts, so that your camera is charged, clothes are pressed and there’s great light in the late afternoon to catch on camera. Here’s a helpful back to school checklist printable that will help you prep for the big morning – my friend Carly made it!
And heck, if you’ve come this far and you don’t want to make a sign, that’s okay. You’ve got enough to do. Head here for some free K-12 printables that you can use instead. Print and hold!