back to school

3 Back to School Prep Ideas + {PRINTABLE} Checklist

by Shea Homes on August 11, 2015

3 back to school prep ideas.After enjoying a summer full of outdoor excursions and long, sunny days, we know that readjusting to fall– and the school routine, in particular – can be difficult. However, the change of seasons can also present a great opportunity to refresh your home to create the perfect environment for your back-to-school lifestyle. As you welcome the cooler weather, consider these practical and fun “station” ideas for prepping your living space, helping to make your transition a little sunnier.

1. Take a Bite out of a Snack Station

Your kids have just returned home from school, exploding with a day’s worth of pent-up energy, and are already asking you what’s for dinner. To tide them over for a little longer, prep the kitchen with a snack station for your children that will also help them settle down before homework time.

To create this station, start by clearing a big enough space on one of your kitchen surfaces. It can be the end of your island counter, a separate table on the side, or even a shelf within the pantry—just make sure it’s easy to reach!

How to create a snack station.Now it’s time to start setting up! Find either one large container or four to six small ones (they can be organization bins, drawers, or even cardboard boxes—as long as they’re big enough to fit a handful of goodies!). Then, shop around for healthy, easy-to-open snacks. Some suggestions:

  • String cheese
  • Pretzels
  • Light-butter popcorn (already popped)
  • Fruit leather or dried fruit
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Applesauce

Get creative: you can label your containers by the snacks that they contain, or even organize them by food group! An added benefit: this station can also double as a lunchbox prep station! You might want to add a section for juice boxes or water bottles, but the organization can remain the same. When your kids have fun options that they can access unassisted, you have a little more time on your hands to prep your own lunch (and perhaps finish dinner as well).

2. Pencil in an Organization Station

The school year is just on the horizon, which means handouts and schedules from various sports teams, clubs, and classroom activities are approaching as well. Keeping the whole family’s individual tasks and calendars in an organization station will not only minimize clutter, but it will ensure that all deadlines are remembered and all schedules are in one place.

What you’ll need:

  • Large bulletin board, or blank wall space in a common room area
  • An erasable whiteboard calendar or large desk calendar
  • Assortment of multi-colored pens, markers, highlighters
  • A pen holder
  • One folder or mail tray for each member of the family

Place your items on a table first to determine how you want to lay out your station. Then, simply start installing them on the wall or attaching them to your bulletin board. To organize your calendar, designate a different color pen for each member of the family, and record the colors in a key for reference. When new schedules or due dates come in, make sure that they are all written in appropriately! Keep highlighters or stickers on your wall for signifying the important things like weddings, chapter tests, or big game days.

Customize the rest of your station with separate mailboxes, “to-do” lists, key hooks—whatever works for your family! Make sure that the area is kept clean and up-to-date, and you will find this school season less stressful, all while teaching your kids a good lesson in organization and responsibility.

3. Hit the Books in a Homework Station

Often times, a warm, welcoming environment is all we need to be productive. Help your children feel confident and capable this school year, by creating a space for them to keep their items organized and get things done. A homework station is not only functional, but it’s fun and engaging, encouraging your kids to work hard with a positive attitude.

Each station will vary depending on your child’s needs, but the essentials for making this fun work environment involve:

  • A clean desk or table
  • A comfortable chair (have your child pick out a fun seat cushion for some added personality!)
  • Basic office supplies: lined paper, pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, tape, stapler, hole punch
  • Filing trays or drawers for storage
  • Desk lamp
  • Planner for your child to keep track of assignments
  • A small whiteboard or corkboard for your child to customize their area and write important notes

Homework Station ideasBring your child with you as you collect these homework station items, helping them to get excited about working in their own space and allowing them to personalize it in their own unique way. Before school begins, spend some time setting up the homework station together, perhaps labeling the trays for each subject, or organizing all supplies in an easy-to-access way.

While you’re busy preparing your home with these functional and fun spaces, don’t forget the back-to-school shopping! Feel free to download and print this back to school checklist to take with you as you ramp up for an enjoyable school year.

printable, back to school checklist


Eat Better Now!

by Shea Homes San Diego on July 31, 2014

Pack Your Own Lunch with Shea Homes’ Insulated Lunch Tote

As back-to-school time approaches, parents must again confront that annual lunch conundrum: buy it or pack it?

For roughly the same price as five days of cafeteria food, you can buy enough ingredients to pack a healthy lunch each day. With a packed lunch, you control the ingredients and choose items based on your family’s budget and food preferences.

To make back-to-school time just a little easier, Shea Homes San Diego is giving complimentary insulated lunch totes to homeowners at seven local neighborhoods. From August 11-29, residents are invited to visit their sales office to pick up their new blue tote.

Fifty insulated totes will be available to homeowners at the following Shea Homes communities. Please note: one tote per child, per family (limit of 3 please).

For tips and ideas on healthy packed lunches, please check out our Pinterest page.