Is it me, or is there is something about all those back-to-school ads that pop up very August that signal the end? To me, it’s the end of doing things on your own schedule, the end of homework-less evenings, the unofficial end of summer. If you are a parent or educator (or both) you know exactly what I mean. My children, on other hand, are looking forward to their return to school. Like many kids, they especially love back-to-school shopping. Getting fresh school supplies, new shoes, and clothes creates enough positive energy that they actually forget that their vacation is ending.
While, as a parent, I’m dreading the hectic schedule that will begin in just a matter of days, the professional side of my life sees it quite differently. I love all the fun and practical promotional back to school items that I’m confronted with on almost a daily basis. Honestly, when I went back to school shopping with my kids, my mind was just buzzing with ideas that schools could use for school fundraising or building school spirit. And what school couldn’t use a little of both? So, here’s my list of 5 custom school supplies and school spirit items that your school may want to use this year.
1. Duffel bag or Messenger Bag
We all think of backpacks first and foremost when talking about school supplies. However, I’m suggesting using a custom duffel bag or messenger bag as an alternative for upperclassmen. Why? It has a more mature look than a backpack and can be used to carry a variety of items without looking like you are going to school. Therefore it can be continued to be used even after graduation. A great promotional idea is to offer custom duffel bags or messenger bags for all graduating seniors as a gift at the start of the school year. A simple motivational statement can accompany your school’s name and logo, making it more special. It’ll give the students a sense of pride that they have something exclusively given to graduating seniors, a mark of distinction, if you will.
2. Insulated Lunch Bag
Now here is an item that’s practical for students, teachers, and staff! Everybody needs to pack a lunch from home some days. Custom school lunch bags make perfect sense to sell in school for fundraising. Many kids will obviously arrive the first day of school already having purchased a lunch bag elsewhere, however, this does not mean that your school can’t still sell them later in the school year. Some kids are pretty rough on their lunch bags (my kids’ had several stains on theirs by mid-year) and a fresh new bag bought to support the school won’t be a hard sell. You can even have the lunch bag tie-in to a school-wide healthy eating campaign, encouraging students to pack fresh fruit and other healthy snacks and water bottles instead of sugary juices. Oh, yes and speaking of water bottles…
3. Sports Bottle
A simple way to encourage students and staff to drink more water is with some colorful sports bottles. Added bonus: parents save money on buying all those juice boxes that are typically packed into lunch boxes! Custom sports bottles are, of course, practical to use outside of school as well so this is a good way for your students to advertise your school. Possible fundraising campaign tie-ins: equipment for your sports team/gym or out-of-town school trip.
4. Silicone Wristbands
A great way to show off your school’s name and motto is to have it printed on the popular silicone wristbands sometimes called awareness wristbands or bracelets. Encourage students to wear them on school outings as a sign of school solidarity. You’ll find that these silicone bands are very economical to buy, so they make great giveaways or fundraising items. And don’t be surprised if students like them enough to wear outside of school as well. Just a few weeks ago at the library, I saw a girl proudly wearing a silicone band around her ankle bearing the name of her elementary school. If you’re school has no motto, this is a great opportunity to have a fun, school- wide campaign to come up with one. Have older grades come up with suggested mottos, then have the entire school vote for the one they like best! The new motto gets printed onto silicone bands to be distributed in school. A great way to promote school spirit!
5. Hand Sanitizer
I don’t need to remind you of the plethora of germs that exist in schools. Providing hand sanitizers is a no-brainer. There are several kid-friendly options, like those that come with a clip so it can attach to their backpack, or easy-to-use spray. Alternatively, your school can provide each teacher with a custom hand sanitizing pump to put on their desk.