Mom Tip #1: Give Your Kids Bragging Rights!

As a classroom teacher, I learned pretty quickly that kids truly thrive with just a few words of encouragement.  It doesn’t make them into overly confident snobby kids… it makes them into secure ones!

For this reason, in my classroom, I had an established “Bragging Wall” where students could post their very best work every week.

"Higginbotham's Hotshots"

Each child changed out their work weekly with new work and saved older work in their student “portfolios” (which was really just a fancy term for a big binder that held all their best work from the year).  At the end of the year, they had a pretty hefty collection of some pretty amazing projects!

As a mom, I realized that I really wanted to take this same approach with my daughter.  I quickly sought out a huge bulletin board for her playroom, which was a central room in the house that she was in the most.  However, I quickly learned that big jumbo bulletin boards have a REALLY jumbo price tag!  The one I looked at the time was well over $100!    I wanted her to have a place where she could truly “show off” all her accomplishments, but I really didn’t want to break my pocket book in the process.

It was my father who had the idea to create a make shift board for a fraction of the cost…

My dad happen to have extra Styrofoam insulation sheets in his garage, but they only cost about $10 at any hardware store.  The one we used measures about 4 ft. by 8 ft.  He used spray adhesive and glued on a selection of brightly colored fabric, which I had left over from my teaching days.  Any fabric would do, but I suggest a heavy duty fabric as thinner fabric might allow any manufacturing print from the board to show through.  (You can actually see it on my board, but Kayla usually fills it up with her things, so it is rarely noticeable.)  You could always spray paint the board a darker color prior to putting on the fabric if you wanted to avoid the bleed through.  I probably would have done that if I were going to repeat the process.

I told my dad that he didn’t really need to make a frame, but he insisted that he had extra metal pieces laying about and could piece them together to frame it on the wall.  If you didn’t want to frame the board, you could always wrap the fabric around the board and secure it in the back… that way it is completely covered even without a frame.  I’m sure there are several other really creative ways you could find to “frame” the board… you could always use the decorative board trims that teachers use if you wanted to add extra color or go with a particular theme.

We hung our completed project using standard heavy grade picture hangers so it wouldn’t fall off the wall when my daughter was pinning things up and down.  It isn’t made of cork, but it serves it’s purpose.  We have found that the smaller flat thumb tacks work best for this board… it is amazing how much Kayla can hang on it!  I also really like that the board itself is extremely light weight, so I don’t have to worry about anything heavy being on the wall in my kids’ playroom – better safe than sorry.  You never know when a flying ball might knock something off the wall!  🙂

Of course, there is no way her board would hold an entire school year’s worth of work, it’s just not that big…So, I also got Kayla a plastic school bin for her to put her older work into once she removes it from her brag board.  I keep it right in her playroom so she has sole control over what she puts up on the board and what she keeps stored.  Any bin will do, but make sure it is big enough for an entire school year’s worth of work and can be secured if there are younger kids in the playroom…there is nothing worse than having to pick up scattered pages from all around the playroom floor when the two year old decides to explore Sissy’s things.  Sigh.

I got this bin from Walmart for about $10… I always get her a new bin with every new school year and always label it with her name and the school year.  After she completes a school year, I can store the bins away and pull items from them for scrapbook fodder when I work on her school scrapbooks.  When she gets older, I will let her look back through them and throw away whatever she doesn’t want.  I figured she would have a lot of fun looking back on what she did when she was in each grade level.  🙂

So, I hope you will give your kids bragging rights this year!  Remember, you are the only one who can!  🙂

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