We started using a pocket chart for scheduling our school “days” this year, and the kids responded really positively to it. My husband suggested that I use it to put up tasks that are expected from the kids, so that they could turn them around when the tasks are completed – like we do with our school tasks. When I began using rows of my scheduler for chores, I had to significantly simplify the school list and the kids were a little annoyed. I decided to give making our own mini charts a shot. Mind you, they aren’t flawless, but they were quick and easy and in the big scheme of things, cheap!
The items required – for the chart itself – are a laminating machine, two thermal laminating pouches, scizzors or a paper cutter, one colored piece of paper & packing tape. The laminator I have and use SO MUCH is the Swingline GBC Laminator, which is reasonably priced and is easy to store and use. I have used a few types of pouches, but the most recent I purchased was Scotch Laminating Pouches.
First, I laminated the colored page. The second pouch, I ran through the laminator with nothing in it. I cut the empty laminated page into full length strips that were 1.5 inches wide. In total, you only need 3 strips. One page should give you 6 – so if you have multiple kids, plan accordingly.
The next steps get sort of hard to show in photos because we’re dealing with clear tape and clear laminating sheets. I cut a strip of clear packing tape that was about an inch longer than the long side of the paper. I laid it on the table, sticky side up. Then, I took my first laminated strip and positioned it about 1/8 above the tape, centered, and pressed it down. Once I flipped it over, I lined up the bottom edge of the laminated portion with the bottom edge of the colored paper. I cut the corners of the tape off to make folding the tape over easier. I hope that the notes on the photo below will help explain that logic.
The edges of the laminated pages should line up perfectly. I pressed down to secure and then peeled it up (off of my table) and flipped it over. I then folded the excess tape onto the back of the chart. Voila! Strip one : Completed.
The next two strips are put on, essentially the same way, without needing to cut corners or line up the bottoms with the paper. The best suggestion I have is to put your chore card – or whatever you plan to use this for – into the bottom row and then line the next row up, accordingly. For mine, I needed about 1/2 inch gap between the strips. Simply attach and then fold over the tape around to the back, again.
If you are a perfectionist – which I usually am, unless I’m pregnant – you could probably use a credit card and apply the tape to the strips more carefully, and not end up with bubbles like I did. In my case, the concern was that the kids had to be able to see their cards and in that regard we have mission : accomplished.
The chore chart cards that I used were from Susan Fitch, on Etsy. Click on the preview above to go straight to the listing. Under other circumstances, I would have tried to hand-draw icons and make my own, but after an hour of searching Google Images for clipart I liked and slaving over trying to make a template on my computer, I finally decided that $10 was worth it to save my sanity. She also offers the chore clipart in a separate purchase, and I think I would perhaps have enjoyed that MORE, since we didn’t need all of the cards, right now. Certain cards like “feed the dog” would be ‘dogs” in our house and “homework” would be “homeschool,” but the cards are beautiful and practical, so they work.
I printed two sets of the cards, cut them all out and then laminated them and cut them all again. Doing this instead of laminating a full sheet and cutting through prevents damage from cards getting wet. Since you never know what’ll happen with kids… I always play it safe.
All said and done, I use the top row for morning chores – things that have to be accomplished before the kids can have free-play. The second row is for chores to be accomplished after school time, during our clean-up time. Again, they have to be accomplished before they are allowed any free play in the afternoon.
The third row is pre-bed chores. These are things that must be accomplished if the kids want to be able to use tablets before bed.
My kids have LOVED knowing what is expected and I love not having to debate whether I warned them about expectations or not. I hope that this post helps your family too!