Editor’s Note—Today’s post originally appeared on Traci Smith’s blog last week and is shared today with the author’s permission. I saw the post in Traci’s Treasure Tuesday email, which you should certainly sign up to receive as it’s full of parenting and ministry gold. I’d love to hear how you are marking the return to school in your faith community, so please leave us a comment below. —Allison
So… back to school. I know I might actually be *late* in posting this (cue over-the-top crying noises about how fast summer goes!) but I wanted to share a couple of pictures of how our church participated in our community back-to-school fair. It was a simple way to give a little love to kids going back to school, and it was cost effective. I feel like the “giveaways” at things like this are often candy or food, and for a lot of reasons, I didn’t want to do that. These backpack tags worked out great!
The tags themselves were from Illustrated Ministry who offers them as a digital download. We chose these because 1. We needed something that was in Spanish and English. 2. We needed something that had a positive message but not specifically Christian-centered (we gave these out at a public school setting where there are people of many faiths represented. 3. We didn’t have a huge budget. The specific tags we chose were THIS and THIS.
We went super low tech to make them, but were glad we did. All we did was laminate using our personal size laminator THIS is the one we have, and it works great. You’ll need EXTRA POUCHES, too. We poked holes and put on KEY RINGS.
Our procedure (since I’m all about the details!) was 1. Print and photocopy the tags 2. Laminate the sheets 3. Cut out the individual tags 4. Punch holes and 5. trim to size and add keyrings. Notice there was an extra step of trimming to size. I think it would have been better to cut all in one go and then just punch (step 4) and add rings (step 5) but since I was having an admin. assistant help (and because we were doing the initial cut before we got the rings) we couldn’t exactly visualize how they were going to look and work so we had to do some improv on the fly at the end.
The kids LOVED these, and parents, too. I hope they bring lots of joy to the year to come!
Here’s a picture of us handing them out!
My youngest can’t resist popping in for a photo.
A couple of bonus points/thoughts.
1. I really recommend getting a printed tablecloth of your church logo like this for events out in the community. We used to do table top signs, but this tablecloth was so amazing. I’m looking for a link to where we got ours and will update this post when I have it.
2. Notice how we used our kids backpacks as “props.” This led some to believe we were handing out actual backpacks as well. We made sure to get those who were in need of backpacks connected to one, but if I were going to do this event again in the same way, I would do it differently, keeping in mind that the “display” backpacks didn’t necessarily work as intended.
All in all, I was super happy about this event and our participation in it, and I think it’s a great way to extend backpack blessings from beyond the walls of the church and out into the community.
More Backpack Blessing Resources!
I’m happy to offer this newly redesigned BLESSING OF THE BACKPACK KIT over in my Etsy shop.
It’s got editable postcards and blessing cards (both use Avery8387 although cardstock would also work.) In addition to those two editable elements, there are a bunch of Social Media images and a parent letter (1/2 sheet and full sheet options) with links to resources and further faith practices. For the blessing cards, you can type in names of students or write out your own. Names could be written on the morning of the blessing or typed in advance. One other option is to give the cards to parents and charge them with the responsibility of reading the blessing and giving their children the card on the first day of school, with a personalized note on the back. Many options for this kit, and I’ve found the creativity of ministry leaders in using it to be endless! Head on over to take a look!