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laminator2What's more exciting to an organizer than a label maker?  A laminator!  Laminators are not just great for teachers; they have lots of great uses at home!  In this post, I will describe 101 awesome ways to use a laminator with your children and around your home.

IMG_2548This week, I purchased a Scotch brand thermal laminator value package from Joann Fabrics.  I had a 50% coupon and a giftcard, so my total came out to around $6!  Well worth it!  As a former high school teacher who was always slightly jealous of elementary teachers who got to laminate everything, I was so excited to give it a try!  

Tip: You can also purchase good laminators on Amazon for around $20 (on sale), and pouches at any craft or office store (check stores that have regular coupons).

IMG_2557My first project:  to laminate the many prayer cards my hubby and I have accumulated over the years.  I want my daughter to be able to flip through them and admire the beauty of the images and prayers without immediately destroying them.  She's very observant, loves books, and points out where Jesus and Mary are in the statues and paintings around our house.  I know she will love to look at them, stare lovingly at the artwork, and increase in love for Jesus, Mary, and the saints.   Just today, after I finished laminating and cutting, she spent forever looking at them and showing them to me!

If you want to purchase a laminator, I would suggest you also purchase a corner-rounding paper cutter so the edges of your lamination aren't sharp.  These can be found at any craft store in the scrapbooking section.

 

 

Now onto the list!  I spent all day thinking of different ways to use a laminator so that anyone could justify spending the money!  The things in bold are meant to be helpful and useful for adults (organizing, planning, etc.), and the non-bolded items are great for children!  If you have any other ideas, add them in a comment below!  I'd love to know how to get more use out of my laminator!

101 Ways to Use a Laminator
  1. Protect paper prayer cards (the ones you have lying around the house, that you get a funerals, etc.  Great way to teach children to pray for the deceased.)
  2. Saint prayer cards colored by your children (you could also let your children write their own prayers and color a picture on the back!)
  3. A matching game (like Memory) with pictures of your family
  4. Matching game with pictures of your child's silly faces (or yearly photos)
  5. Matching game with letters (uppercase matching to lowercase)
  6. Matching game with the saints and their names, with bible verses, with images of Jesus and parables
  7. Matching game with emotions (words) and faces demonstrating the emotions
  8. Addition flashcards
  9. Subtraction flashcards
  10. Sight word flashcards with pictures
  11. Dry erase cards for practice printing or cursive (on dotted lines)
  12. Dry erase cards for tracing letters, names, sight words
  13. Dry erase cards for coloring shapes (maybe print the outline of each shape a different color so they have to color the shape to match)
  14. Handmade books written and illustrated by your child (bind with hole punch and ribbon or metal rings)
  15. ABC book with items for each letter colored by your child
  16. "My Family" book (use pictures of each family member with names and other fun information)
  17. Puzzle of a family picture (just make sure to cut the puzzle and space the pieces out before you laminate)
  18. Puzzle of a picture colored by your child
  19. Shape puzzle (Print a full sheet with outlines of various shapes, then laminate colored cutouts of those shapes for children to place on the outline)
  20. Color sorting puzzle (Print a sheet with 4 quadrants, one for each color, then laminate cutouts of items that are those colors. Children place the item, like a banana, in the corresponding color quadrant, yellow).
  21. Puzzle of the United States with 50 State cutouts (for the bigger kids!)
  22. Special certificates of achievement
  23. Place mats created or colored by your children
  24. Place mats made from photographs
  25. Dry erase menu board for when/if your kids want to play restaurant
  26. Weekly menu to place your fridge (use a dry erase marker)
  27. Chore charts
  28. Chore checklists with pictures for children who can't read
  29. Blank To Do list to post on the fridge
  30. Shopping List
  31. Weekly prayer intention list (for kids or the family!)
  32. Dry erase calendar
  33. Black and white flashcards for newborns
  34. Recipes (hole punch a corner and use a metal ring to hold together, hang on a hook)
  35. Tangram shape puzzles for older kids
  36. Homemade bookmarks colored by your child
  37. Homemade bookmark with pictures or a cutout of your child
  38. Baby schedule & babysitter information (where you will be, contact numbers, etc.)
  39. Instructions for washing laundry (especially if you cloth diaper!  I have instructions posted on my machine just in case someone wants to do my diaper laundry for me!)
  40. Christmas tree activity with ornament cutouts (attach Velcro squares to the tree and back of ornaments so child can stick ornaments on the tree)
  41. Advent calendar with 1 nativity scene character cutout for each day (use Velcro to attach)
  42. Jesse tree with laminated cutouts of symbols
  43. Waterproof instructions for changing a tire (keep in your car for a rainy/snowy day!)
  44. Waterproof instructions for using jumper cables
  45. Preserving expensive specialty board game cards (my brother plays games that come with special cards and laminated them to help them last longer)
  46. Preserving children's artwork
  47. Preserving keepsakes (cards, letters, pictures)
  48. Make your own coupons (for child chores, back rubs/beauty parlor makeover/manicures from your children, one special dessert at a time of their choosing - this is great as a gift for your spouse from your children)
  49. Punch cards for various activities and incentives (similar to buy 10, get 1 free cards you punch with a hole punch...maybe children can do 10 extra chores, get 1 extra privilege)
  50. Garage sale signs
  51. Pretend money (print off play bills and coins so they can learn to count money and learn the values of each coin)
  52. Sign to hang on the knob of your front door saying "Please knock, baby is sleeping"
  53. Door hanger for your child's door (either color and laminate, or print a box where they can write memos...except for "keep out", haha!)
  54. Tic Tac Toe game with dry erase markers (or cutouts of Xs and Os to place on a laminated tic tac toe board)
  55. Homemade "Guess Who" game with pictures of your family members (use file folders stapled together to form a barrier between players -imagine a back to back setup like Battleship boards...use a paper clip to pin up the current character on the folder)
  56. Christmas ornaments colored by your child (use a ribbon to hang on tree)
  57. Kitchen measurement equivalency chart for easy access in the kitchen (so it won't get dirty or wet!)
  58. Assortment of basic words cutout and laminated individually so your child can form their own sentences (like the word magnets)
  59. Skeleton or paper doll (use hole punch with brads to attach bones or limbs together)
  60. Paper doll with outfits to velcro on
  61. Pretty printed labels for all of your stuff! (use great modern outlines, fonts, and colors!)
  62. Bingo cards (with numbers, letters, objects, Saints, family members' pictures)
  63. Connect the dots pictures for younger children (with dry erase markers)
  64. Connect the dots pictures with string for older children (hole punch out the dots and have children lace string in and out)
  65. Food cutouts for play kitchens
  66. Stained glass pictures for the window (made with colored tissue paper)
  67. Mr. Potato Head face with laminated accessories (or even use your child's face with cutouts of accessories like hats, sunglasses, earrings, etc)
  68. Laminate road pieces (like train tracks) so children can create their own roads for their toy cars
  69. Emergency numbers or contact info to fit in your wallet (the size of a credit card, for in case your cell phone dies...or for your child's backpack)
  70. Labels for around the house so your kids can learn basic words (like table, chair, oven, couch, pillow, etc.)
  71.  Road trip alphabet game (list the letters and let child cross them off with a dry erase marker when they see it on a sign)
  72. Road trip sign game (print out a sheet with lots of common road signs, like a stop sign, mile marker, exit, and let children cross them off)
  73. Mazes children can complete with a dry erase marker
  74. Dry erase word bubble cutouts for fun quiet play (paste blank word bubbles on popsicle sticks, let children write silly messages with dry erase markers, hold them up to their mouth, and have a conversation all without talking!)
  75. Playdoh play mats for children for children to "trace" with playdoh (letters, animals, faces)
  76. Word searches with dry erase markers
  77. Superhero masks (children can color, you can cut out and tie on string)
  78. Puppet show characters (print out animal or character cutouts and glue to Popsicle sticks)
  79. Conversation cards for dinner with the children (or date night with your spouse)
  80. Pretend credit cards (be careful, maybe we should make pretend library cards, ID cards, and pretend Kroger cards, so kids don't learn how to get into pretend credit card debt!)
  81. Transparent nature book (gather leaves, flowers, grass, and other nature objects on a hike with your children, laminate, and make a book! that you can see through)
  82. Pattern cards (your child can mimic matching patterns with legos, colored candy, or other objects)
  83. Complete-the-pattern cards (start a pattern of shapes, numbers, symbols, or colors and have blank spaces following the pattern for your child to complete the pattern with a marker or small objects like M&Ms)
  84. Building cards (print out cards with pictures of legos built into figures, and have your child mimic the image by building a figure like the card)
  85. Hangman game (using a dry erase marker...would be great for the car!)
  86. Custom closet dividers (rings or door knob hangers)
  87. Letter of the day worksheets (for school aged children, instead of printing papers for each letter, reuse the sheet and change the letter!)
  88. Build-a-Pizza (laminate cutouts of pizza slices and cutouts of various toppings)
  89. Make-believe play mats (print out images your child can use as the floor of a scene with their toys...use a top-down image of grass/dirt/rocks/bushes/water for their animal figurines to play on, or cobblestone/streets for their cars and Little People figurines,  I'm sure your children can draw their own)
  90. Teaching placemat (so children know where utensils and plates go on the table when they are learning to set the table)
  91. Color sorting with paperclips (laminate circles of various colors and let your child attach the matching colored paperclip to the circle)
  92. Fruit & vegetable sorting (laminate cards with fruits and veggies on them, let your child sort by color or by type)
  93. Backpack checklist (list supplies your child should have in his/her backpack each day, like their lunch, folder, etc, and let them double check each morning using a dry erase marker)
  94. Tags for labeling baskets in closets, pantry, fridge or freezer (use a hole punch and ribbon to attach to a basket...it's hard to tape labels to baskets!)
  95. Tags for labeling laundry baskets (so children can learn how to sort their dirty clothes themselves...include pictures if necessary)
  96. Cleaning checklist
  97. Waterproof freezer labels for prepared dinners
  98. Freezer inventory list
  99. Tool Organization (take pictures of each tool in the garage, laminate, and attach to the work bench behind where the tool hangs!  Then, if the tool isn't there, you will know what's missing!) - thanks Hubby for this great idea!
  100. Waterproof labels for recycling bins (or anything else that might live in the garage or outside)
  101. And finally, you could compile a list of prayers/songs said/sung in church (hole punched and attached to a ring so your child can flip through and follow along!)

I hope this gives you a little inspiration!  A lot of these crafts you can make without a laminator, so get started!  If you have any other laminator ideas, add a comment below!  I'd also like to know which idea is your favorite!  In a comment, write the number of your favorite and explain why!  Happy laminating!