{dry erase activity books}

Jan
07
41

 I don't know about you, but I am always looking for something to keep my kids quiet and occupied during church,  while traveling, and any other time we have to wait anywhere for any length of time.  I've got some busy kiddos, and I'm sure the people in the church pews in back and in front of us appreciate the effort.  :)

When I came across these darling dry erase activity books by icandy handmade, I thought it was brilliant, and couldn't wait to make some of my own.  Instead of using a binder, and sliding coloring and workbook pages inside sheet protectors (which is a great idea), I decided to make them differently, for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I wanted mine to be smaller, so they would fit more easily in a diaper bag, purse, or church bag. I also wasn't sure how long the sheet protectors would hold up with my four little kiddos, and since they aren't super durable, I wanted to try a different method. I created half sheets, laminated them, and used book rings to hold them together.  I bought some dry erase crayons to use with it, and I wish I would  have bought them sooner. I LOVE LOVE how they turned out, and my kids are crazy over them. It's a hit!

Dry Erase Activity Book | simplykierste.com

These would also make super fun gifts for any child--birthday, Christmas, or just because! Add learning worksheets, word searches, coloring pages, church-oriented pages, and more.  These are easy to personalize for any age, and a great way to keep kids busy and entertained. I love that they can be used over and over again, and easily cleaned up.

Here's how I did it!

{supplies}

- printables of your choice, saved as images

-white cardstock (not textured)

-laminator (or access to a store that does laminating, i.e. Staples or Office Max)

-paper trimmer

-scissors

-book rings (3 per book)

-ribbon

{directions} 

1.  The first thing you'll need to do is search online for the printables you want to use in your book.  I ended up making three separate dry erase activity books, because there were so many I liked!  All of the ones I used were free for use, and the link are at the bottom of this post.  Some examples?  I used coloring pages, word searches, learning worksheets:  money, telling time, counting by 5's, etc., alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and a lot of pages that were church oriented.  My boys are 3, and my girls are 6, so I targeted those age ranges.  I wish I could share the file I created, but many of the free printables I used have restrictions against re-sharing them online.

When you find a printable you like, the key is not to open the printable to a full page to print it like you might normally do, but to SAVE THE PRINTABLE AS AN IMAGE--as large as you can.  Save it to a folder that you've designated just for the dry erase books--it will save you a lot of time.  Why save it as an image?  Because we want it in half sheets, with all  images the same size, and we need a way to put two printables on one page for printing.

Let me show you an example:

These are the number printables I used.  Instead of clicking on the link to download and print, I clicked on the image itself to enlarge it.

I right-clicked on the image, chose save as, and saved to my designated file.   You have to make sure you are able to enlarge the image, or you may not be able to use it.  There were just a couple of images that didn't enlarge, and were just too small to use.  This site was perfect!  The images ended up being the exact size I needed, I didn't have to re-size them at all!  Plus, I was able to click all the images along the bottom of the page that you can see, and save them--so easy!

2.  Once you have all of the images you want, you're ready to create your document for printing. I used Word, so my directions are specifically for that program, but I'm sure you could use something compatible.   Open a new document.  Format it to landscape orientation, make the margins as small as possible (top, bottom, and sides), and finally into two columns (in this order).  Insert your images, and re-size to fit the space. Repeat with all of your images. I ended up with 50 pages, lol.

I also created a fun and simple cover page, and you're welcome to use it if would like it! It's also already formatted as I explained above, so you could just use this and add to it if it makes things easier! I also included my complete file, so you can just print and laminate!!

Dry Erase Books File Download

Dry Erase cover page

3.  Now that your document is finished, you're ready to print!  I used plain white cardstock that I bought in a package of 110 sheets at Walmart for around $4.  I wanted something thicker than plain paper, so it would be a little more sturdy, but not so thick that it wouldn't laminate easily.  Just make sure you don't use anything textured--that will be too thick.

4.  Using your paper trimmer, cut each piece of cardstock in half, separating the two images.  If you cut them exactly in half, it would make them 5.5 inches wide.  I took off an extra 16th of an inch from the side that was originally in the middle of the whole paper (in the example above, between the bee and the apple).  I did this so the two halves would easily fit in my 8.5 x 11 lamination sheet, plus leaving a little for a border in between them.

5. Time to laminate!  I have to say, my laminator is one of my most favorite possessions, and absolutely worth the $25 it cost!!  This is the one I have:

I bought it on amazon.com, and it has been one of the best investments I've made.  If you do a lot of laminating, or would like to, you may want to consider getting one of your own.  I can guarantee I would have spent a lot more paying per project to get things laminated!

I wanted to have activities on each side of the pages in my book, so I put two half sheets back to back together in my laminating sheet.  I did that twice, so that I was actually able to fit 4 half sheets total on each page.  I made sure to put the pages back-to-back that I wanted together in my book, because once they're together, there's no changing things, lol! For example, with the alphabet, I had A and B together, C and D together, and so on.  I also grouped all the coloring pages together, learning pages together (and into sub-categories, like colors together, shapes together, money together, etc.) and church pages together.  I laid them out in groups of two ahead of time, just to make sure it was the way I wanted it.

Here are my sheets laminated--with two just like it on the back:

If you take yours in to get laminated, follow the same procedure:  Trim them as outlined above, and direct the store to laminate them back-to-back.  Laminating them like this will not only save you money, but will allow you to fit more pages in your book without it getting to thick. If you want specific pages together, make sure you paper clip them together, and let them know.

6.  Take your scissors and cut the laminated pages in half!  Organize them as you want them in your book(s).  I decided to make three books for a couple of reasons--first, with over 100 images, I had 50 sheets, and that was too fat for one book.  It also means that more than one child can be using one, which is essential at our house.  :)

7. Once they are organized how you want them to be, use your hole punch to punch three holes down the side of each page.  To punch in the same spot on each page, and ensure even spacing, this works wonders:  punch your first page, then use it as a guide for each page after that.  Just lay the punched page on top of the un-punched page, and punch!

 8. Slide the pages onto book rings, then add a little ribbon for fun!  I can never resist ribbon, lol.

 9.  Now you're ready to use them!!!  Get ready for some excited kids!  I found the dry erase crayons at Walmart for around $4.  They are washable, and come with a cloth to clean your pages.  It works okay, but I've found that a baby wipe is perfect, removes all traces, and I always have one in my bag or car. ENJOY!!!!

My Henry just couldn't wait until it was time to use them!

There are so many free printables out there, so no matter the age of your child(ren), you can find plenty of options. As a starting point, I've included a list of all the sites I used as a reference and starting point.

Links I used for images/printables:

http://colouringdisney.blogspot.com

http://melonheadsldsillustrating.blogspot.com

http://www.mrprintables.com/alphabet-coloring-pages.ht

http://www.sightwordsgame.com/sight-word-activities/sight-word-activities-numbers-1-5/

http://www.coloring-pages-kids.com/coloring-pages/transportation-coloring-pages/transportation-coloring-pages.php

http://amazingworksheets.blogspot.com/2012/04/skip-counting-worksheets.html

http://www.supermommoments.com/2012/08/kindergarten-readiness/

http://amazingworksheets.blogspot.com/2012/04/free-printable-coloring-worksheets.html

http://scrapcoloring.com/news/fire-truck

http://www.coloring-book.info/coloring/coloring_page.php?id=108

http://www.kidslearningstation.com/money/counting-money-worksheet1.asp

http://www.supermommoments.com/2012/07/worksheet-wednesday-time/whattimeisitprintable/

http://pdf.mrprintables.com/mrpfc01_a4.pdf

http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/colors/colors-yellow1.htm

http://www.kidslearningstation.com/colors/worksheets/colors-shapes.pdf

http://www.free-for-kids.com/telling-the-time-worksheets.shtml

http://test7.mormonshare.com/lds-clipart/i-love-to-see-the-temple-full-page

{kierste}

Simply Kierste
Kierste is a blogger who shares her love of all things DIY. She is the mother of six, and most of her posts revolve around making her home a beautiful, organized, and fun place to be. When she's not chasing around two sets of twins, a teenager, and a baby, she's working on a project, training for her next race, reading one of her favorite books, or baking something with chocolate in it.
Simply Kierste

@simplykierste

Blogger at Simply {Kierste}: Where you can find simple ideas and tutorials for DIY projects, holiday crafts, home & family, organization, recipes, and more!
Simply Kierste


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comments

  1. This is a genius idea. Thanks for including all of the details!

  2. Wow! SO love this idea! Didn’t know there was such a thing as dry erase crayons! I’m getting some of these ASAP! Thank you for posting!

  3. I was so excited to see my name on your blog!
    thanks for the shout out…yours turned out so great! May have to make a few changes, though my kids do still love them!!! I like the idea of them being smaller!

    • simply {kierste} says:

      You are so welcome! It is a BRILLIANT idea, and I didn’t know about dry erase crayons until know! Thanks for letting them world know, lol!

  4. Dry erase crayons!? Awesome! I definitely need to make a few of these for my kiddos, I’m thinking Sacrament meeting might be a little quieter:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. First of all, thank you for posting this. What a wonderful idea! Secondly, dry-erase crayons?!? What the heck? Uh-MAZE-ing! Lastly, pinned ya.

  6. Very cute! Thanks for the idea and the great directions.

  7. These are super cute! I just got dry erase crayons from a friend of mine for watching her kiddos – and I honestly didn’t know what to do with them LOL…now I do! Good thing I have the same laminator, I love it too! Thanks for tweaking and making it smaller!

  8. AWESOMENESS! thank you- smart idea!

  9. Beth Roach says:

    I love this idea, too! Thank you for posting.
    I did a binder with clear plastic sheet protectors . Then you can change out the printables.

  10. This is a great idea. Can’t wait to make some for my boys. I also had no idea a laminator was that affordable. I’ve been thinking about one for a while. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • simply {kierste} says:

      Yes, super affordable! If you belong to Sam’s Club (and probably Costco as well), you can get a pack of 200 laminating sheets for only $20. Great deal. If not, you can buy them on amazon, or save coupons and get them at staples, office max, etc. XO

  11. I was wondering if the plastic sheet protectors would work for this project. Do you know what I mean? The heavy sheets that open at the top to protect valuable sheets. If that would work then you could change the images / project sheets when ever you wanted too. I don’t know if I will ever make it back to this page, I tend to loose great pages even when Pined, so email me on if you think this would work. Thank you!

    • simply {kierste} says:

      The original link I posted actually used the sheet protectors in a binder. I think both ways have advantages, and it just depends on what your priorities and needs are. I think it would be great to be able to switch out different pages, but for my kids, I don’t think the sheet protectors would hold up too long, which is why I tried this different method. I also wanted them to be smaller than a full sheet, so that they would be more portable. We use them mostly away from home, not at home.

      So, to make a long story short, lol, you could definitely use sheet protectors!!! Both ways work!!! :)

  12. That’s an awesome idea! I think I need to buy myself a laminator now, my kids are always pulling papers out of the sheet protectors. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love this idea! Thanks for explaining it so well. I have a laminator and it is one of my favorite things too:)

  14. Hi Kierste,

    I am in love with your books! Everything in them looks fantastic. Is there anyway you can share the file to your books all ready to be printed? I want to make a bunch of them for my kids, and my nieces. It would save me a ton of time, and I’ve looked through some of the sites and my computer doesn’t seem to be copying things the way it should.

    Please help!
    Megan

  15. Kierste, I just found this on Pinterest and am so excited. Going to make the files right now and pick up some cardstock tonight so I can put my printer and laminator to work. I have five girls, four of them are young enough that they will enjoy these very much. Maybe I can come put with some quiz ones for my teen!!

    • simply {kierste} says:

      Yay!! I’m so glad you found me, and I think your girls are going to love them! If you’re interested if my files–so you can just print them–let me know!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  16. Kierste, love your blog. Was wondering if I could get the files you printed for your books. Their super cute!
    Thanks :)

    • simply {kierste} says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!! I sent the files to your e-mail address–let me know if you don’t get them!!! xoxo

  17. Kierste, you have the cutest stuff! I had no clue I could get a laminator for that cheap! I’m always looking to laminate projects. Thank you!! Could you email me the files?

    • simply {kierste} says:

      Thank you so much!! Yes–laminators are so reasonable, and I use it all the time! The files are actually in the post–toward the bottom, just click on the link! xoxo

  18. Awesome thanks!!

  19. I absolutely loved this idea! So I featured this on my blog and shared with my readers how well the activity books worked for me. Thanks for the inspiration and the free printables. http://howlinghorn.blogspot.com/2014/01/dry-erase-activity-books_27.html

  20. Ana Ortega says:

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to try this out. Can you tell me how many sheets you ended up using? As you mention, there are so many great printables it is hard to choose. I have a 3 yr old as well….do you happen to notice what her interest level was given the number of pages you used? Any lessons learned about that project?

    Great post, great blog. Ana

    • simply {kierste} says:

      I made three different books, and I think I used about 50 sheets of cardstock–with two to a page. I’ve had good success with the number of pages, because it was intended for times when they had to sit still for a while–at church, in the car, waiting for an appointment, etc. and I wanted them to last a little while. I made three different books, and I’m so glad that I did that–it gives varying choices, and they can choose which one they want. Make sure you always carry baby wipes to erase the dry erase crayons–the rag that comes with it is hard for kids to use, but the wipes take it right off! Have fun!! It’s one of my kids’ favorites!! xoxo

  21. Hi Kierste,
    Thank you so much for this. I have some ok ideas in my brains but am horrible at execution. I’m only a couple of steps in so far, but with all your clear instructions, I reckon this is going to be a success!
    Lets hope the plane trip is just as good…
    Thanks,
    Naomi

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