Spread Joy into Your Back-to-School Routine with These 3 Backpack Essentials

The back-to-school buzz is all around us and I just dare you to ignore it. It is crazy — kah-RAY-zee — to think we are already halfway through the month of August. Just one more reminder that I need to take a deep breath, slow down and spread joy. We have two weeks left to prep for another school year and do all the fun summer stuff we haven’t gotten around to.

work and baseball,
soccer, karate, and work,
assorted appointments, the other soccer,
more baseball, swimming lessons, karate…again,
that pesky work “thing”, birthday parties, teen’s babysitting gig.

Oh, and back-to-school shopping. That needs to happen right about yesterday.

Deep breath.

3 fun ways to #spreadjoy and get your kids totally jazzed to head back-to-school.

“Pass the yellow, please.” The question is: which yellow?

My life feels like a veritable replay of Abbott and Costello’s iconic, “Who’s on first?” Ironic, given the amount of baseball we’ve witnessed over the past three months. Four kids committed to multiple sports means we make it work. And while there are nights we could use an extra mom or dad clone, we have our scheduling down to a science.

As summer winds down, the busy-ness of the sports and end-of-season tournaments still lingering in the air, we’re all feeling like we could use an extra month of vacation. How do we get kids amped up for school when they’ve just settled into cottage mode? (Side note: “cottage mode” refers to a three-day rental at Sauble Beach that has us as excited as if it were two weeks.)

First, before we can even begin to get kids jazzed for school, there’s some unpleasantness to get out of the way. I am referring to purging the closets of worn-out and outgrown items, going through bins of hand-me-downs to see what fits, and taking stock of what’s needed. It is every parent’s end-of-summer nightmare and you may have caught mine “live” on Instagram this week. But, hey, I got ‘er done!

Next, you need to go through the remnants of last year’s school supplies to see what’s salvageable. (Hint: every kid will declare nothing is worthy and will require replacing with shiny, new things.)

The final step is the fun one: shop for all the fun things. Topping our list, next to “new backpacks” is “Sharpie markers”.

3 fun ways to #spreadjoy and get your kids totally jazzed to head back-to-school.

Spread Joy with These 3 Backpack Essentials

Guys, I have a bit of an unnatural obsession with Sharpie markers; to the point where I have my own secret stash of markers so the kids don’t ruin borrow them. The smudge-proofness (new word) is handy for school projects and heavy-duty colouring, though, so I decided it was time the kids had their own collection. They wasted no time tearing open the packaging, in awe of the rainbow of colours. Then we had ourselves a little fun.

Keep your family calendar situation strong with colour-coded entries for each family member.

While, admittedly, the calendar updating just got A LOT more fun for Mom, the kids will have fun choosing “their” colour.

If You Give a Mom a Calendar — and Each Kid a Colour

That family calendar? The one sent down from the organizing angels above? That is now your new best friend. Turn it into your family’s communication hub by assigning a new PaperMate InkJoy gel pen colour to each family member. This way kids know instinctively what they’ve got going on, at a glance, on any given day. Trust me, they will look and they will notice every flipping entry.

Whether it’s updating the calendar, taking notes in Geography class or writing a thoughtful note, you and your kids will spread joy — not smears — with a smooth, gel ink that dries 3x faster* for reduced smearing. With 14 brilliant colours, a comfort grip and smooth style that keeps the joy flowing, you may want to stock up at Walmart. Write on!

*vs. the leading gel pen at retail based on average dry times of black, blue and red. Individual dry times may vary by colour.


If You Give a Kid a Blank Canvas

Turn a piece of back-to-school clothing into an art piece. Pick up some plain, white undershirts or canvas shoes (hand-me-downs are great for this) and a set of the Sharpie limited edition Color Burst Fine permanent markers and have your children create a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art. (Watch for our finished Converse projects over on Instagram.)

With 37 assorted fade- and water-resistant colours, your kids will be excited to show off their unique threads at school. Wouldn’t this be fun for picture day? Or even the first day of school?


If You Give a Kid Some Paper

In our day we doodled on brown-paper-bag-text-book-covers (remember those?) A journal, a binder, a notebook or just plain white paper works just fine for sketching out the next Google doodle submission, practicing bubble letters or starting a Tic Tac Toe marathon.

Encourage kids’ creativity with the Sharpie precision, Ultra Fine limited edition permanent markers with color burst which come in 25 assorted colours for added detail and vibrancy. You may just have the next Picasso on your hands.

Where to Find These 3 Backpack Essentials

Your kids want to load up their backpacks with only the coolest school supplies but you don’t want to drive all over town to find them. No problem. Shop all your back-to-school essentials, including PaperMate InkJoy gel pens and Sharpie Fine and Ultra Fine markers, at Walmart, both in-store and online.

But, wait. There’s more! Sharpie and PaperMate want to spread joy and ensure you usher in the back-to-school season in a burst of colour. Enter below for your chance to win one of four colourfully cool prize packs!

Sharpie and PaperMate Back to School Giveaway

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Sharpie/PaperMate and have received compensation for this post. All opinions and artistic liberties are my own.

About Erica

Erica writes with humour and heart about family, #fit40s and living life in the carpool lane. Part-time banker by day and Netflix-addicted-cake-decorator by night, Erica's in-between time is spent dreaming up ways to ruin her kids' lives. Obviously.
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  1. love them for writing down, and highlighting, events in my agenda!

  2. I would use the papermate items to write in my agenda of important dates. I would use the sharpie items to label all of my son’s school supplies.

  3. For younger kids it’s important to use sharpies to label their personal items. For all different GE groups this year there are coloring book style backpacks, notebooks, and lots of other cool supplies that would look great done with sharpies!

  4. Colour coding everything!!

  5. LOVE those papermate pens!

  6. I would colour code all of the activities, practices and due dates for projects on our family calendar. 🙂

  7. Sharpie are essential in every household. We use them for art work, labeling, signs and fun doodles.

  8. Love all these pens!! They will be lots of fun !!

  9. Love them for labelling kids school supplies and for doodling

  10. School is in !

  11. I use sharpie everyday in my classroom and to label most of my daughter’s items for school. Thanks for hosting.

  12. Sharpies are great for highlighting important events, and you can never have enough paper mate pens etc for back to school.

  13. Mark name on all supplies

  14. I love using sharpies for labelling things

  15. kids would love to doodle and make a cover page for their binders and also doodle on a mini shaped canvas keychain and hang it on to their back packs. I would love to write quick inspiring notes and artwork to index cards and add it to their lunches. These cool pens will also be great for their vocubulary word builders and greetings cards. Oh, the possibilites are endless. Thank you for hosting a very useful and lovely giveaway.

  16. We Love sharpies! Great for art journaling, fine point for detailing homemade cards and art.

  17. We would use these for identifying things- like who’s backpack it is etc. Sharpies are great for marking anything and I am loving the new colors!

Comments are welcome here