Thursday, March 10, 2011

every once in a while i get a great idea: giant white board

I spent a lot of time wishing I didn't do things.  Just the way I am.  But sometimes I come up with something that I am really glad I did.  It's time I share...

We came to the island two weeks before Eva's birthday.  I was trying to think of something that would make it special and make up for the fact that she would be away from friends, family, and any toys that didn't make the nine suitcase cut.

I actually planned ahead on this one.

Back when I was getting my teaching degree, I remember some experienced elementary teachers giving us some pointers on how to come up with teaching materials on a very very small budget (insert speech on how it is dumb how little that budget is).  One of the ideas was to go to Home Depot and get what they call shower wall and cut it up into small boards to make a small white board for each student.  Fact is, white boards are fun for kids and it makes math, spelling, writing all that more exciting.  So I thought, if small is good, big is better, right?  

I figured we would have hardly any toys and lots of blank wall space and so I started thinking...

I made sure there was a Home Depot in Kauai.  Then I made three dry erase markers out of old socks and packed a set of markers that I have had since my teaching days.  

A few days before Eva's birthday we went to Home Depot and picked up the shower wall.  They knew what I was talking about but turns out it is called white panel board.  Thrifty white panel board, even better.  We also picked up some things to put around the edges.  It was right by the board.  It took two of those.  

Karl and the Home Depot guy loading it in our 1998 mini van.  It was a miracle, like the van was built to carry thrifty white panel board.  See that gecko?  Cute, huh?  Don't get attached.  I'll tell you why later.
And for just over $20, Eva got a giant white board for her birthday.  The ideal kind of present to me, no batteries, uses her imagination, isn't a big plastic eyesore...
She woke up on her birthday, saw it, and got started right away.

I would love to mount it, but we are in a month to month rental and so it's not worth it right now.  Eva just bought a big set of dry erase markers at Costco for $10 to use on the board.  

I do feel a pang of guilt every time I see the board because when we first got it, I was moving it   to get to just the right position to project  movie onto it.  After the movie, we moved it back to see that I totally squished a little gecko into the wall.  So sad, right?  

The giant white board, easy on the budget (ahem, if we had one), useful, and encourages creativity, and weeks later is still being played with (because we all know that isn't always the case with a lot of birthday gifts), this one was a winner.


Abbigail said...

perfect. I think we may need to make one!

Adri Ballingham said...

That is such a great idea... when I finish my basement that is going to go in our playroom. Great idea! Lydia's teacher at school cut those up and gave them to the kids in a math box and they have to little projects with that white board. For some reason writing on the board is more fun then paper. Love her art-work. She is so cute!

Liz O. said...

Kids really are drawn to those things! Luke asked for one in his room, so that's what he got for Valentine's Day--only it wasn't a big huge fun one like yours! Hoping that in the next home, we'll have the room to do that. LOVE IT!

Robin said...

This is FABULOUS!! What do you use to clean it?
pls let me know! Also: what do you mean you made markers out of old socks?! Wow!


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