The first thing I wanted to do when I bought a laminator was to find unique things to laminate!
One area where laminators shine is fun, reusable crafts for kids. Whether you want to laminate things for a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, or even Pre-K and Kindergarten, we have tons of fun ideas for you! (More age ranges to come, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates.)
One mama bear here is a working mom, and she likes to develop educational activities for her kids to do with the nanny during the day. The other mama bear here is a homeschooling mom, and she creates fun activities for the school day.
A laminator is so much more than a piece of equipment – it opens the door to many learning opportunities for young kids. Plus, making your own laminated activities is often a lot cheaper than buying it pre-made. We’re so excited to share 17 fun things to laminate for your little ones!
- Laminating Ideas for Babies
- Laminating Ideas for Toddlers
- Laminating Ideas for Preschool, Pre-K, and Beyond
Which laminator should I get?
If you’re shopping for a laminator, we recommend Scotch!
It’s inexpensive, highly reviewed, and we both love it.
Both of us have laminated hundreds of sheets of paper and it still works like new.
Which laminating sheets are the best?
Don’t go cheap on the laminating sheets. I originally got laminating sheets as part of a bundle when I bought the laminator – they were the Scotch brand, and everything was great.
Then, when I ran out, I got the Amazon brand because it was quite a bit cheaper. They were horrible! Super thin and very yellow in hue. My laminated sheets ended up curling and warping because the sheets were so thin. I ended up returning them and going back to the Scotch brand.
What other items do I need for laminating projects?
For some laminating projects for kids, you don’t need anything but printer paper, the laminator, and laminating sheets.
However, some unique activities require some additional items. Nothing is too expensive, and many items can be used for all kinds of things!
We’ll show you how each laminating idea works, but here’s a quick list of other items you may need for laminating crafts:
- Vis-A-Vis Wet-Erase Expo Markers: The wet-erase part is key here. Dry erase markers don’t work well on laminated sheets.
- Clothespins: Some crafts require clothespins to help the child identify shapes and numbers. They also help develop fine motor skills. You can pick some up at your local store, but if you’re like me, you want to order everything together, and these are the best deal we could find on Amazon.
- Sticky dots (Velcro): Sticky dots allow you to create unique matching games where the child can stick on the matching item. We use these for shape matching and dinosaur matching, but they can be used for anything!
- Rounded corner punch: Make any sharp edges rounded so no one gets poked! It also adds a finished, professional look to any laminating activity.
- Pouches with Zipper Pulls: These pouches help you organize your crafts. Don’t go crazy looking for parts of your craft under the couch or in a bin somewhere! Trust us, these help you stay organized. If you’re new to busy bags, check out this article: Your Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags
- Thicker printer paper (80lb): For crafts that require printing on the front and back, I found that thicker printer paper helped maintain quality. It doesn’t bleed through, which is really nice!
Laminating Ideas for Babies
If you have a baby on the way, want a custom gift for a baby shower, or are desperate for activities in those first few months, we have a couple of great ideas!
1) Contrast Black and White Flashcards
Best for newborns up to 6 months
Newborns have a pretty limited view of the world – they only see things in black and white. While you and I can see different shades of blue, it all blurs together for a baby.
That’s why babies are so drawn to these high-contract black and white flashcards. They’re really easy to make yourself, and they help with cognitive development.
While you can buy high contrast flashcards for baby on Amazon for around $10, you can make them for a lot cheaper if you have a laminator.
It costs less than $2 to make these infant stimulation cards!
2) Vocabulary Cards
Best for 6 months through 2 years old
We always got the Lovevery Play Kits, and one of our favorite items was the ‘Things I See’ Texture Cards.
You can hold them up and say each word, let them feel the texture on the card, and have fun interacting with your baby. Experts say young children need to hear about 21,000 per day, and I always found activities like this to help me say more unique words with my kids.
You can recreate this type of activity at home with your laminator, so we developed some flashcards featuring first words and everyday objects.
You can download them and get instructions here: First Word, Everyday Objects Flashcard Printable for 6+ Months
These flashcards are also great for your baby to play with independently – they’ll give you a few minutes to tidy up or prep dinner.
3) Laminated Flowers and Leaves (Montessori-Inspired)
Best for 6 months and up
I never would have thought of this unique activity on my own, but how fun is laminating flowers for your baby to touch and explore?
The Kavanaugh Report recommends laminating flowers and flower petals and creating an exploration tray. It’s great for fine motor practice – picking up the flower sheets – and it encourages interaction and conversation between you and your baby.
This activity even extends into the toddler years as you can practice color sorting, counting, and shapes. I also love the idea of taking your kiddos outside, finding flowers together, and making it a family activity.
Laminating Ideas for Toddlers
Starting at age 2, your toddler is ready to discover and learn about shapes, colors, patterns, and like objects. We love laminated matching games for this age – it’s interactive, fun, and what toddler doesn’t love velcro?
4) Shape Matching
Best for ages 2-3
This laminating idea for toddlers – sticking the shape on the sheet – is one both mama bears use regularly!
We love this laminating activity because it helps your toddler learn shapes and colors while also assisting with fine motor skills.
It’s not as difficult as using tweezers or clothespins, but it does require them to stick on each shape and match up the velcro dots. It’s a challenge, and I find my two-year-old daughter spending extra time ensuring the shape is matched up evenly and not crooked.
It’s awesome to watch those little minds working!
For the sticky back dots, I compared so many brands (how many dots do you get for the money?), and the ones I ended up purchasing have been awesome. We’re nowhere close to running out, and they stick really well.
I also like that the actual sticky dots aren’t super strong. My kids can pull off the shapes without too much frustration.
5) Matching Leaves
Best for ages 2-3
My two-year-old daughter found some matching card games on her tablet, and she loved it! That’s when I decided to find some matching game printables that I could laminate. I’m always looking for ways to put away the screens, as it’s often our fallback when trying to get things done (especially making dinner).
Plus, laminating the matching cards would allow us to play with them many times without having to throw them away from rips and tears.
I’m so glad I found these leaf matching cards from PreKinders. The leaves are all very similar, which made this particular activity a challenge for my daughter, who was starting to get so good at matching games it was boring for her.
Just print off two copies and cut out all the leaves. Laminate the leaves, cut them out, and you’re set to go! You can also use a rounded corner punch to get rid of the sharp edges. It’s definitely not necessary, but it adds a polished finish just like you’d buy from the store.
6) Learning Dinosaur Names and Matching Dinosaurs
Best for ages 2-3
My two-year-old is obsessed with dinosaurs, and after purchasing a laminator, I was on the hunt for a fun dinosaur printable.
I searched high and low and never really found what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own dino matching printable.
This printable is perfect for 2 and 3-year-olds features 23 dinosaurs – some everyone knows (T-Rex and Triceratops!) and some your child can learn (Mimenchisaurus and Ankylosaurus!).
You can get the printable and instructions for assembly here: Free Dinosaur Printable for Toddlers: Learn Dino Names, Practice Matching, & More
7) Body Part Matching
Best for ages 2-3
Another fun matching game is this body part matching activity from Powerful Mothering.
Print two copies of the flashcards, laminate and cut them, and have fun matching!
You can keep all of the cards face-up and ask your child to find the pairs. To make things more difficult, lay them facedown and have your toddler flip two at a time until they uncover the matches.
My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter loved identifying all the body parts on the cards and then pointing to them on her own body. For example, she’d find the pair of eyes and then point to her eyes. It’s a great, fun learning activity!
8) Popsicle Stick Pattern Cards
Best for ages 2-4
Here is another idea that is great for putting in a busy bag. Your child chooses a laminated pattern card and then recreates the pattern with their popsicle sticks. When they’re done, throw all of the supplies into a zippered bag, and you’re ready to go for next time!
Head over to Playdough to Plato for a free download of her popsicle pattern cards: Craft Stick Patterns – Playdough To Plato
9) Clip the Clothespin on the Matching Shape
Best for ages 2-4
I love toys and activities that last. When you’re raising little ones, everything comes and goes so quickly. It feels like every other month, you’re packing up another box of clothes and stuffing them in the attic.
That’s why I especially appreciate this particular laminating idea for toddlers, which has several elements at different levels of difficulty. We downloaded this activity from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.
There are three components to it:
- Recognizing shapes
- Pointing out colors
- Clipping the clothespin on the sheet (fine motor skills)
My daughter is about two-and-a-half, and she loves pointing out the shapes, shouting out the colors, and flipping through the stack of flashcards. However, she’s not able to maneuver the clothespin yet.
For the time being, we use this activity for practicing our shapes and colors, and I know that sometime in the next year or so, we’ll be able to use it to its full potential.
It’s also nice right now to show her how to clip the clothespin on the edge of the sheet – she watches me do it, and I know eventually, she’ll have the fine motor skills to do it on her own.
10) Tracing Lines Prewriting Exercise
Best for ages 2-4
My 3-year-old adores doing schoolwork like her big sister, but she’s not quite ready for writing numbers and letters. Prewriting activities like these from Modern Preschool are perfect for strengthening your child’s pencil grip.
These penguin tracing pages are another go-to in our preschool busy bags. She enjoys helping the penguin get to the fish. For now, I only have the 4 easiest tracing pages in her bag, but I will include the more intricate ones throughout the next year.
Laminating Ideas for Preschool, Pre-K, and Beyond
The older your child gets, the more activities you’ll find that are perfect for laminating! Around preschool age, there are so many amazing printables that involve patterns, shapes, numbers, letters, and more.
This age is so fun!
11) Sequencing Puzzles
Best for ages 2-4
These sequencing puzzles are great for reinforcing number order.
I love these specific free puzzles from Planes and Balloons because she made 3 variations:
- Count to 2
- Count to 5
- Count to 10
I’ve categorized this in the preschool group because the 5 and 10 piece puzzles are perfect for this age group, but a two-year-old could easily complete the two-piece puzzles. There is so much flexibility here to choose the difficulty that is just right for your child.
12) Numbers, Shapes, and Clothespins
Best for age 3
This activity is very similar to the matching shape activity listed in the toddler section. This is actually one of my favorite activities on the list for my preschooler, and it’s one of her favorites too! Emma often chooses this busy bag during her school time.
I downloaded the free printable from Powerful Mothering, laminated and cut out the shapes, and painted 5 clothespins to match. It took a little bit of prep time, but it was well worth the effort.
I love that this activity not only reviews numbers, colors, and shapes, but it also incorporates fine motor skills. Opening and closing the clothespins can be a bit tough at first, especially for a young 3-year-old. I was afraid my daughter would become discouraged and give up, but after a few tries, she started to get the hang of it.
13) Patterns with Pom Poms
Best for ages 3-5
This pattern practice is similar to the popsicle stick pattern cards, except these pattern cards use pom poms and have the last pom pom color blank so your child has to figure out which color comes next in the pattern.
For detailed instructions and to download your free printable, head on over to our Pom Pom Pattern article.
14) Montessori Alphabet Matching
Best for ages 4-5
Matching uppercase and lowercase letters lends itself to printing and laminating. We developed a set of four half-sheets that present letters in a Montessori-inspired order. (We also have an A to Z version if you prefer that.)
You can download them here: Alphabet Matching Printable – Montessori Letter Order
Your 4-5-year-old will have a blast sticking the lowercase letters next to the uppercase ones – velcro is so fun! 🙂
Anything you can do to make learning fun is a win in my book. By turning alphabet practice into a matching game, you’re giving your child a chance to look forward to their ABCs!
15) Tracing Numbers 1-10
Best for ages 4-5
For writing and number practice, these worksheets from K5 Learning are amazing!
You can print out the numbers 1 through 10, and by laminating them, you can use them over and over again.
I tried these out with my nearly three-year-old, and it’s still too advanced for her (she just wanted to scribble all over the page), but I love the concept for a Pre-K exercise. Once your child is better at gripping a marker, give it a try!
Be sure to use wet expo markers instead of dry – they work a lot better on the laminating sheets.
16) Counting Sprinkles Matching Activity
Best for ages 4-5
Counting is an essential skill to master before heading off for kindergarten, and we have a super fun way for practicing!
There are two versions, one that goes up to 6 and another that goes up to 12. Choose the one that is best for your child!
17) Personalized Copywork
Best for ages 5 and up
Learning to spell and write your name is an essential skill our kids need to master before entering elementary school. One way to practice this skill is through copywork.
You can create personalized copywork worksheets online and laminate them for repeated use. You can also create pages that have your address or phone number to help with memorizing other personal information.
If you use the generator from The Teacher’s Corner, click on “puzzle options” in order to customize line spacing and text size. I find it’s nice to create larger text for younger children and then smaller as they get older.
One way to make copywork more enjoyable is to pair it with a read-aloud. I often will give my children small activities to keep their hands busy during storytime. For my kids, this has helped them to sit still longer, and it is an easy way for me to include more fine motor activities in our day.
Making educational activities at home is not only fun, but it’s a huge money-saver. Once you invest in your supplies – and it doesn’t cost much – you’ll be able to laminate dozens of fun learning projects.
I bought a laminator, laminating sheets, and velcro, and I still have plenty of supplies to keep going for a long time – and I’ve been laminating all kinds of things for our home and our kids!
Plus, it’s just the best feeling to say, “Hey, I made that!”
What will you laminate first? Drop a comment below!