{DIY} First Day of School Survival Kits

Last week I kicked off my PTA duties by assembling 70+ “First Day Survival Kits” for the teachers at the elementary school. This was a super easy, inexpensive project that the teachers loved! But even if you don’t have kids in school, I think this “survival” themed project would be fun for anyone who could use a little pick-me-up.

Since the theme for the school year at the elementary is “Learning Safari, Destination Success” I thought the “survival” theme would work perfectly and created a safari-themed label which loosely mimics the “Survivor” logo.

Inside each bag was a variety of goodies. . .

. . . and a note which explained each item’s “meaning.”

Using a paper bag was my last choice, but I struggled to find a container/bag/box that was affordable, could be bought in bulk, AND looked cute. If I would have thought of it sooner I think I would have used plain Chinese takeout boxes. But in the end with my time crunch and lack of local resources–the paper lunch bags worked.

The day before school started I knew most of the teachers would be working in their classrooms so I loaded up our little red wagon with goodie bags and kids, and set out to make door-to-door classroom deliveries. The teachers were grateful for the gift and while it was a fairly small effort (and cost) on our end, it was a nice way for the PTA to show we care and are thinking about them as they kick off a new school year.

(BONUS: It was also a good way to teach my kids a social lesson on how to introduce themselves to new people, and they were pros by the time our deliveries were made!)

After I made the kits a few people asked about the cost of assembling them. . . . Since I was making so many I did some shopping around to find the best prices and take advantage of all the school supply sales. I also bought a few things in bulk at Sam’s Club and Staples. It ended up costing just under $2 per bag. The pack of gum was the most expensive part–about $0.70 of that $2.

If I was to do this project again and create just one bag instead of 70, I think I would have gotten a bit more generous–maybe by including the entire pack of highlighters, pens, Post-its, etc.  instead of just one, or even a gift card for a pedicure or a favorite restaurant. Because some days a little break is the best way to “survive.” Maybe next year. For just one teacher :).

Do you know a special teacher who deserves a “survival kit” of her own?

Or maybe a mommy friend who could use a pick-me-up? I’m pretty sure a “survival kit” filled with Diet Dr. Pepper and chocolate would help me on a day when my house feels like a zoo! (Though, admittedly, this is most days.)

Click on the image to download.

This project is for personal use only, please. If you love it, please send your friends on over this way!

Linked to: 733, My Girlish Whims, Fabric, Bows, and More, Someday Crafts, Lil’ Luna, Tidy Mom, Fingerprints on the Fridge, 30 Handmade Days, Blissful and Domestic, Delicate Construction, Happy Hour Projects, Small Fine Print, Family Ever After, Bear Rabbit Bear, Skip to my Lou, C.R.A.F.T, Making the World Cuter, Tip Junkie

33 Comments on {DIY} First Day of School Survival Kits

  1. Nicole
    April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm (2 years ago)

    I just made these kits for my Resident Assistants who are working for me next year! Being in a peer role with college students you go through the same things as teachers! Lol

  2. Izzy
    February 1, 2013 at 4:37 am (3 years ago)

    I would be terrified of giving nuts to children with all the allergies these days.

    • pameladonnis
      February 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes, you’d want to watch that if you’re giving it to kids. This particular “kit” was handed out to teachers and staff on the first day of school.

  3. Dave Mathason
    August 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Pam,
    Love your Survival Kit. I am a 5th grade teacher and will have a new teaching partner this year.
    I want to put together one of these kits to welcome her. Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer.

  4. Mandy |Small Fine Print|
    July 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm (4 years ago)

    I’ve had this “pinned” forever and am finally getting around to featuring it on my blog! I don’t have kids in school yet but I definitely don’t want to lose this idea. Thanks for posting this idea!


  5. Nina Buss
    May 3, 2012 at 5:13 am (4 years ago)

    What kind of ideas do you have for end of the year gifts for teachers. I love the first day of school survival kit. I can not wait to use this idea for my sons first day of kindergarten.

    Thanks so much

    Nina Buss

  6. Heather @ Family Friendly Frugality
    September 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm (4 years ago)

    I made them and we gave them out this morning! The teachers were so appreciative and happy. Thank you for such a great idea! You have a pingback from the post I made.

    • pameladonnis
      September 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m so glad to hear that!!

  7. Heather @ Family Friendly Frugality
    August 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm (4 years ago)

    I am going to be making these for my kids teachers tonight! I’ll post a pic of the completed bags on my blog and link back. I LOVE this idea!

  8. Renee
    August 31, 2011 at 3:34 am (4 years ago)

    This is the cutest thing ever! I absolutely love the topper. Totally going to Pin this one…

  9. Amanda
    August 22, 2011 at 1:53 am (4 years ago)

    this is pretty much THE coolest thing ever! where you do come up with this genius stuff?! i love it! miss your face!

  10. Danielle
    August 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I am loving this. What a fantastic idea! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up!

  11. Modd
    August 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Brilliant. I know the teachers really appreciated the gifts and thoughtfulness.

  12. Randi
    August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm (4 years ago)

    What a fun idea … I’m sure the teachers love things like that!

  13. Elizabeth
    August 19, 2011 at 5:16 am (4 years ago)

    I love the idea of the survival kits. thanks for sharing. I am in process of making some my question is how did you get the list to print looking like a brown post cards….was that a special paper that you used or a program on computer?

    • pameladonnis
      August 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm (4 years ago)

      I actually just printed them on a piece of paper…I just made the postcard image in Photoshop to make the post cuter. :)
      Here’s the list if you want to copy and paste:

      Rubber Bands: To help you stretch your mind and remind you to be flexible.
      Paper Clips (or binder clips): To help you “keep it together.”
      Thumb Tacks: To help you stay sharp.
      Laffy Taffy: Because a sense of humor goes a long way.
      Extra Gum: For those “extra” sticky situations.
      Band-Aids: To help heal the boo-boos.
      Post-it Notes and Pen: To jot down your best ideas.
      Highlighter: To remind you to highlight the positive.
      Tissues: To wipe away the fears (and tears).
      Peanuts: Some days will be nuts, but tomorrow is a new day.

  14. Nancy
    August 19, 2011 at 12:10 am (4 years ago)

    Just found your blog – love the survival kit idea! Thank you for sharing.

    • pameladonnis
      August 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm (4 years ago)

      You’re welcome! Thanks for visiting :).

  15. Sally
    August 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm (4 years ago)

    SOOO cute! Can you email me the survival list also? Or maybe it’d be easier for you to post a download link! And thank you, thank you for sharing your creativity. Sally (crazysallyteacher@yahoo.com)

  16. Laura
    August 17, 2011 at 8:24 pm (4 years ago)

    Let me refine my question #2 – I’m talking about your DIY banner and the Meal Plan banner…I am also interested in the school images you used as the divider in your “Answering the Call” post…I basically just love all the cute little images you use that kind of look like stickers even though they aren’t…I just want a collection of all of those cute little things :) How can I get them? Thanks!!

    • pameladonnis
      August 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Laura!
      Thanks for your kind comments.
      I do have an answer for you, but I’m not sure you’ll like it. LOL
      All the images on my blog are created by me…with a rare exception that I do credit. However, they are not currently for sale . I used to design digital scrapbooking kits (which is where everything comes from), but the store I was selling at closed in April and I was in the beginning of a rough pregnancy so I chose not to move to another store. I am just getting back into blogging again (and getting over the morning sickness) after a couple of months off, so hopefully things will even back out soon and I will be able to get those things loaded for resale again.
      Thanks for your interest!!

  17. Laura
    August 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Love the kit idea! 2 questions: 1) What is the font you used to make the word SURVIVAL on the label? 2) Where do you get all the cute little felt images you use for your post title or headers? Are they part of a digital scrapbooking kit? You probably make them yourself but I love them and would love to get my hands on them so can you help me out?

  18. Allison
    August 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm (4 years ago)

    ME TOO!
    Can you email me a copy of the list.
    This is super cute!
    Thank You,

  19. Valerie
    August 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm (4 years ago)

    Can you email me a copy of the list? I wanted to add the pedicure idea for 1 teacher and print it out. Thank you for the great idea!



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