1 Identify It. You and children can use markers to label work immediately upon completion. Attach a marker to the easel with a string so it's readily available.
2 Get a Receipt. Add a short checklist of items sent home to the bottom of an accompanying note to parents. Ask that the note be returned to school.
3 Bag It! Use pre-labeled paper shopping bags for children to carry items home. Shopping bags with short handles are easy to loop over wrists to keep hands free if children need to hold onto a railing or an adult's hand. For a class adventure, put all the bags in a wagon and wheel them out to the parents waiting in the lobby or curbside.
4 Mark It Boldly. When sending a collection of materials home with children, list the contents on the outside of the bag or folder. You can also list reminders for parents about conferences and field trips, and note that the month's newsletter is inside.
5 Transport Personal Items. Identify a laundry bag as a "lovey" bag. Send bedding and special "lovey" toys home in this bag to be washed weekly.
6 Make Manageable Storage Space. Low storage space allows children to put finished materials on shelves and retrieve them independently. Place items waiting to go home out of the way so they won't be bumped and broken during the day.
7 Create Damage-Proof Containers. Children can help tear newspapers into small pieces and stuff them in clean, washed out cans with snap-on plastic lids to form gentle nests to transport small handmade items home. Roll up parent notes and self-portraits and silhouettes and store them in mailing or wrapping-paper tubes.
8 Think Safety. Consider alternatives to plastic bags for carrying items. If you must use them, punch lots of "breathing" holes in them with a fork. Make sure carrying containers aren't so long that children trip on them. Watch out for small pieces that may break off from projects and become a choking hazard.
9 Design Extra Storage for Holiday Projects. Children can help build temporary shelving with cardboard boxes and wooden blocks. If holiday presents that are painted or made of clay need to dry, use wire cookie racks or discarded oven racks. Hang dyed fabric or painted projects with clothespins clipped to wire coat hangers.
10 Include Notes to Parents. Provide information about the upkeep of projects (example: watering seeds/plants). Use picture recipes if the family wants to do similar projects at home. If a folder goes home regularly, add a photo of the child creating the project to generate a discussion.