Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dry Erase Activity Binder

This project is a super easy one, and it made my kids SO happy on Christmas.  My 5 year old uses his constantly.  I was inspired by this Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center, but I didn't want to spend the money.  Also, I didn't want something so large and clunky cluttering up my house.  I did, however, like the idea of being able to slide different pages behind a clear plastic sheet and practice writing skills, and then just be able to erase when done.  So here's my version:

(I am so sorry that my pictures are apparently horrible in this post -- blurry and with shadows!  I am such a bad photographer -- sorry!)

It is just a white "view" 3-ring binder -- the kind that has a clear plastic sheet on the cover.  The child just slips a sheet into the cover and then uses dry erase markers to practice handwriting, math, memory verses, or play games.  The best part is that the binder is stiff enough that it acts like a little desk on the child's lap, so it is great for them when they are sitting in the car, or in a waiting room, or in a church pew.

Inside the front cover, there is a zipper baggie with dry erase markers and a scrap of fabric to use as an eraser.  The hardest part of the whole project is punching holes in the ziploc, but it worked all right when I used a handheld single hole punch.  I folded the baggie over so that it would be less likely to rip out.

Now is the FUN part!  Fill the binder with whatever you wish!  It is infinitely customizable, and this is the part I like.  As the kids get bored or master certain skills, I can just add in new sheets.  I printed all the worksheets on cardstock, as that is easier for little hands to slide in the binder.  I also used sticky reinforcements on each hole because I thought they might tear through them fairly quickly.  Here are some examples of the contents of the binders:

Here are the sources for the worksheets:
     1.  Handwriting worksheets:
          This is an amazing worksheet generator.  Tons of possibilities!  You can do individual words (like names) or whole paragraphs (for Bible verses or the alphabet or your address and phone number or whatever you would like). The individual word worksheets even have arrows and start dots to show how to correctly form the letters.
     2.  Math worksheets:
     3.  For mazes, connect the dots, shape sudoku, and other fun and games:

One final hint:  Dry erase markers are NOT very easy to remove from clothing or even skin, sometimes.  For my 3 year old, I do not trust him with dry erase markers yet, so instead I got him washable crayons.  I got the triangular type to encourage proper grip.  Fair warning -- the writing is not nearly as dark with crayons as markers, so it is not as much fun.

I hope this is helpful.


  1. I LOVEEEEE THIS JEN!! I have soo many ideas now. How about wet-erase markers like these?

  2. That's a great idea! Those are what I always have thought of as transparency markers for old school overhead projectors. The nice part about them is that they have a really fine point, so they would be easy to write with.

  3. Crayola also makes dry-erase crayons - they are pretty similar to the washable crayons, but the colors are deeper and richer. We use them at school (love that there is no stink!). After a while there is some build-up from the wax (this may also be true with regular crayons), but a baby wipe or damp paper towel usually does the job! What's nice is that since the colors are darker and easier to read, kids don't feel the need to press as hard - they have more of a "natural" writing grip.

  4. Thanks so much for the tip about the dry-erase crayons! I bought some today at Walmart, and they are fantastic! They write so much darker and smoother. And, they are washable!

    Also, Expo now makes washable dry erase markers, too, so there are lots of options for the little kids.


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