Friday, September 17, 2021

Kids in Masks? Better Make Clip-Clips!

Well, it has been so long since I've blogged I almost forget how to do this. Life sure has a way of keeping us busy... I'll let that suffice as to why I dropped off the Blogging Planet. I am back today, however, because I have a big tip that is TOO good NOT to share!

When I learned this summer that my kidpeople would need to wear masks in the classroom this year, I spent weeks thinking about HOW they were going to take care of their mask when it wasn't on their face. I couldn't find anything to purchase that I thought was kid friendly, sturdy, safe (as in not around their neck), cleanable, AND affordable– until I discovered THESE clips! 


They open by pulling up on the rear tab near the loop. I only show you on the table so you can clearly see what is happening. The kiddos can easily do it while holding it in their hands. 


Then push the tab down to close the clip, or "close the alligator's mouth" as I say to the kids. 


Well, that was all fine and dandy, but how was the clip going to hold the mask?? Ah-ha! The answer is USE TWO! One to hang onto the shirt and one to hang on to the mask! Now it's a Clip-Clip!

To attach the two clips together, take the rectangular loop off of one of the clips. I did it by prying it off, but you could just clip the loop with toenail clippers and slide it right out of the tube hook holder... duh. 

Then take the loop of the second clip and snap it on where the first clip's loop was. Needle nose pliers help but are not necessary. 

Voila! You have a Clip-Clip all ready to go. 

The Clip-Clips are easy for the kids to manipulate with a little direction and practice. Every single one of my four and five year olds can do it by themselves in seconds now. We say "The alligator is really hungry and wants to eat a lot of your shirt!" Once the kiddos get the hang of grabbing a big fold of their shirt, those clips don't come off until the kids take them off, even during active recess time. They put their Clip-Clip on in the morning so it is there to hold their mask as needed during snack, lunch and recess, and we collect them again before going home. 

That being said, in addition to learning how to use the Clip-Clips, we did have to talk about what happens if we yank them off, instead of lifting the tab. With yanking, the loops might come undone or the clip might break. I told them that if that happened, they would only have one clip to use. I demonstrated and let kids try to put both their shirt AND their mask in one clip... hmmm, that a lot harder to do. That kinda took the fun out of yanking. 

And the best part– each clip costs about a quarter! The set of fifty have been ranging in price between twelve and fourteen bucks! That's right! It comes down to each clip costing about twenty five cents! When you combine two to make each Clip-Clip, they've only cost you fifty cents. I cannot vouch for every kind of plastic pacifier clip out there, as they all are different sizes, degrees of brittleness, exact mechanics, and kinds of loops. But this clip does work. Click on the affiliate paid link below to see them on Amazon. 

And they come in TEN colors!


Because there are 50 clips in ten colors you can make a lot of unique color combinations, which turns out to be really handy in the classroom. My kiddos can pick out their mask from the the egg carton without even needing to read their name any more. I did write their name on the clip with Sharpie at first, and even put a light coat of clear nail polish over it, but the names still rubbed or chipped off. In the end it doesn't matter because they don't need their names to find their Clip-Clip. I made a little color chart with the two color combos and student names so I know whose Clip-Clip is whose just in case.  

You can use a tray, or one of those boxes with the little dividers, but I have found a recycled egg carton does the trick just fine at no cost. I made a couple extra one color Clip-Clips as spares just in case somebody wears theirs home and forgets to bring it back the next day. 

I placed them in the egg carton with the names showing until everyone learned their two colors.

Now the Clip-Clips can just be in the egg carton without names because everyone knows their two color Clip-Clip combination. 

With Clip-Clips costing 50 cents, I don't really worry that eventually some might break. I have some to spare and have spent way more money on other classroom necessities, so this seems like a huge bargain. And when we no longer need to wear masks to school... and YES, that day will come!... I'm sure I'll find some other purpose for any leftover clips. In fact, look for future posts because I already have an idea or two!

I hope you find this post useful. If you do, please share it with your colleagues or Pin it. 

Keep hanging in there. Teaching has never been as complicated as it is these days. I am reading my teacher IG and Twitter friends more than ever because TOGETHER we can, and will, use best practice in spite of it all. Remember, you are not alone. 

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