How-to: Make a Reusable (Not Disposable!) Kid’s Name Tag for School Field Trips

Reusable Nametags for a Whole Year's Worth of Field Trips

Kid going on a field trip? Generally gotta have a name tag.

I suppose that if you’re in school, disposable name tags, while spendy and wasteful, are easy enough to dish out, but they’re certainly not green. And we’re homeschoolers, so buying an entire package of disposable name tag stickers just for the couple of field trips a year that require them is just silly.

Instead of buying disposable name tags, or, I don’t know, writing our names on notebook paper and taping them to our shirts, my kiddos and I make reusable name tags. These name tags can be made almost entirely by a kid with just a little adult help, and can be used until any of the information changes–if a kid made one of these in kindergarten, and used it until she headed off for middle school, that’s probably worth an entire package of disposable name tag stickers right there, and if the whole class did it, that’s a good effort towards helping a school go green.

cut plain light-colored fabric to size

1. To begin, cut any light-colored cotton-based fabric to size. I used a notecard as a template for one kid’s name tag, and my younger daughter free-handed hers. Zig-zaggy scissors are fun, and will keep the fabric from fraying.

2. I iron fusible interfacing to the back of the name tag fabric just to stiffen it so that it’s easy to write on–this is an adult’s job in my house, because in my house only the adults are careful enough not to get the iron sticky. Of course, you could also use starch to stiffen the fabric (and a kid could do that one), or these natural fabric stiffeners for a greener project.

decorate the name tag with fabric markersΒ 3. Write your information directly on the name tag fabric. We like Tee Juice markers, but Sharpies or any other permanent markers will also work well for this project. Kids can also take this opportunity to decorate their name tags and make them really special (and less likely to be groused about when it’s time to wear them).

4. To add even more support to the name tag, back it with the kid’s choice of wool felt, trimming the wool felt about 1/2″ wider than the name tag on all sides to show off the pretty color of felt that the kid has chosen. Kids can also free-hand this one, especially if they want to make the felt a silly shape!

stitch the name tag to the wool felt background5. Stitch around the edges of the name tag to secure it to the wool felt backing. Since the stitching just needs to hold the name tag to the felt, not be…I don’t know? Competent?…this is another great chance for a kid to take control and do the sewing herself.

Two easy ways to attach this name tag to a kid are to 1) use a safety pin to pin it to a shirt or jacket or to 2) punch a hole at the two top corners and attach a cord to hang the name tag around a kid’s neck. Either way, you’re all set for Children’s Day at the local farm!

4 thoughts on “How-to: Make a Reusable (Not Disposable!) Kid’s Name Tag for School Field Trips”

  1. OK, just gotta say, I have a problem with name tags on field trips. We tell our kids not to talk to strangers but here let me plaster your information on your chest. I don’t want someone to come up to my kid and say “Oh hey Sydney, your mom just told me to come get you. You go to Bloomington school right? Yeah, I’m suppose to drive you home.”

    No I’m against name tags on field trips

    1. If someone said that to Sydney, she’d scream her freakin’ head off and kick them in their genitals like Momma told her to, because she’d recognize the exactly four things incorrect about what was said, based on what I tell her every time we go on a field trip or to a museum, etc., together. It doesn’t personally bother me when name tags are required on our field trips, because I don’t permit my children to rely on their anonymity with a false sense of security or think that information about them is power over them.

      That being said, schools around here do seem to prefer matching T-shirts for field trips, which I’m assuming helps them quickly identify the kids that belong together without announcing their names. It’s mostly Children’s Day-type activities around here that require that children have name tags to participate–liability or insurance reasons, perhaps, or the large possibility that that someone will get lost on a day in which a venue is extremely crowded with lots of kids and few adults?

  2. Nametags for school kids are not unusual where I live. I live in a poor neighborhood and I don’t think they could get kids matching T-shirts, when nametags are so much cheaper. The kids go to big museums all together on the subway, so honestly in some circumstances I think it’s probably more important for them to have accurate contact information visible on their bodies than to worry about a stranger knowing their full name. There are so many ways that a bad person could find out anything that they ever wanted to know about any kid that it’s better to focus your efforts on making sure your kids know how to stay safe than on trying to keep their last name private.

    Anyway, I bet my kid’s class could make something like this so easily–I’ll suggest it!

  3. I just wanted to point out a fun way to attach the name tags to the kids would be to sew in a high powered magnet into the little pocket between the nametag and the felt. Then handsew the rest (because I don’t know what that would do to the sewing machine). Then you put a magnet on the inside of the kids shirts to stick it. I have seen this with some adult reusable nametags. I would say to let the kids play with the magnets before the school trip, because they might play with them on the fieldtrip and loose it or something. That is one downfall of this idea.

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