Updated: Jan 13
With the first 10 days of January gone, most of us have packed away the holiday decorations, polished off the last of the Christmas cookies, and resumed our pre-holiday season mindset. As we get ourselves back into the routine of work, school, and afterschool activities, let the chaos of overpacked family schedules begin!
But what if, instead of papering the fridge with post-it notes for your kids and cramming your own planner with reminders for their important school events and afterschool activities, your kids could actually remember their own dang bake sale?
The Great Planner Debate - Old School or Still Cool?
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For me, nothing says new year better than a brand new, pristine planner. And despite the golden age of big tech and environmentally friendly, green thinking, apparently I’m not alone in declaring my love of paper planners in the great debate of paper vs. electronic. As more and more schools are including use of daily planner as part of a student’s overall grade, it’s become more important than ever to encourage our kids to learn the critical life skill of planning.
By teaching our kids at an early age simple organization skills like how to prioritize tasks and the importance of keeping commitments, concepts like goal setting, productivity, punctuality and time management become intuitive as they grow. Surprisingly, research continues to show that writing things down by hand improves kids memory and learning. In fact, according to a new study conducted by Princeton University and UCLA, writing things down by hand continues to be more beneficial than typing notes on laptops or electronic devices.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the coolest planners for kids that will motivate them to step up to the plate start scheduling like a pro. Kids’ planners have come a long way from the rudimentary, school issued agendas and simple spiral planners, and these 5 picks for the best student planners will get your kids excited about the task ahead!
Klutz Best Year Ever! Planner & Gratitude Journal for Kids begins our list due to its irresistible appeal for tweens and teens alike. With customizable pages that enable you to start using it in January or at any point in the year and filled to the brim with over 125 activities centered around the theme of happiness, gratitude, and kindness to others, this planner has it all.
With Klutz, a name that’s synonymous with activity kits and crafting, you can bet your kids will get a whole lot more than just a planner. They’ll get an entire year’s worth of motivational activities and crafting fun, with over 250 stickers, sticky notes, and even 16 paper bookmarks to decorate on their own.
Best Standout Feature: This calendar presents a special monthly challenge, where kids are assigned unique tasks for the month to promote goal setting, creativity, and fun including things like writing letters to a future you, performing a random act of kindness, and joke telling.
What’s Not So Hot: The size of the planner is a little smaller than we'd expect, measuring 10 x 9 (so essentially smaller than a piece of paper) and has a soft cover, but what it lacks in size and sturdiness it makes up for in fun!
No planner list would be complete without an amazing pick from planner guru Erin Condren. Erin Condren’s lifestyle brand brings together functionality and trendy fun and packs it all into her organizational products, and her 2020 line of planners is no exception.
This planner, created especially for kids and designed to help kids build great organizational skills, includes everything from goal trackers and reading logs to stickers, activities, and creativity spreads. It also gives you 12 months of undated pages, so your kids can get started whenever they receive the planner.
Best Standout Feature: This calendar offers a unique option to add interchangeable covers, so your kids can keep changing the look of their planner to match their mood without changing planners midyear!
What’s Not So Hot: The calendar only includes monthly pages, not weekly pages. While there are other options by Erin Condren that offer weekly designs, this planner is best for beginners who are just getting started with the concept of scheduling.
The Reminder Binder not only has an irresistibly cute name, but it has everything your kids will need to stay organized for the next 18 months! Beginning with its water-resistant hard cover to its laminated monthly tabs, this planner will withstand being carried back and forth to school, band practice, and lacrosse games without falling apart. It includes the very best options from the planner-verse, including weekly, monthly, and yearly views, perforated to-do lists that you can easily tear out, checklists for every occasion, and over 360 stickers to boot!
Best Standout Feature: The Reminder Binder comes in an adorable, reusable matching gift box, which not only looks great if you’re gifting the planner, but it’s the perfect place to store the completed planner for reminiscing on your year of memories in the future!
What’s Not So Hot: We wish there was a bit more variety across the 360 stickers; there are a ton of sports game stickers but very few music/art related stickers. But this is nothing that can't be remedied by adding your own stickers to match your kid's personality.
The STMT Planner Set by Horizon Group USA is a real treat for younger girls. The planner comes with 70 pages divided as a monthly calendar, blank lined pages, and blank dotted pages in a 4 ring binder, so it’s the perfect combination of planner, journal, and bullet journal! But where this kit really shines is in its trendy accessories, as it comes with colorful stickers, funky paper clips, 4 colorful stamp markers, and a gold pen.
The Horizon Group USA also offers two other similar kits, the Journaling Set and the Agenda Set, which come with different accessories like gel pens, gems, glitter tape, and more, so depending on what your child is more focused on journaling vs. planning, there is a kit to meet her needs.
Best Standout Feature: The STMT Planner Kit, and its sister sets (Journaling and Agenda) take the cake for adorable accessories and embellishments. While we’ve come to expect stickers with most kids’ planners, these kits offer gel pens, stamp markers, glitter tape, magnetic bookmarks, a faux suede tassel keychain, chipboard frames, and die-cut shapes.
What’s Not So Hot: Since this planner kit is so clearly geared towards younger girls and tweens, it would have been more convenient if the monthly calendar came pre-numbered, as younger kids are not known for their patience. But if you’re willing to help set up your child’s calendar, then this becomes a non-issue.
National Geographic’s Weird But True Daily Planner: 365 Days to Fill With School, Sports, Friends, and Fun!
Perfect for animal lovers and kids who thrive on “fun facts”, National Geographic’s Weird But True Daily Planner offers a bright, entertaining calendar that’s chock full of "wierd-but-true" facts and trivia in true National Geographic fashion.
With neat sections for writing daily tasks and monthly goals as well as extras like a cool homework section complete with a world map, multiplication chart, other conversion charts, your kids will have everything they need for the school year. We should note that this calendar runs from September - August though, so if you’re buying it for a January start bear this in mind. This is definitely a "must have" planner for superfans of the Wierd But True books.
Best Standout Feature: By far the best feature is the wierdness! Kids will never be bored in class or on the go with this planner, as it includes zany facts, tons of colorful photos, and entertaining activities, like fun to do prompts that celebrate the your kid's inner "wierdness".
What’s Not So Hot: The calendar runs from September- August, which means there will be some unusable pages in the planner.
So what's your favorite tried and true favorite brand or style for kids planners? Did your favorite make the list? Let us know in the comments below!