It doesn’t matter if your kids are 5 or 15 – the first day of school is a big deal. After months of chasing fireflies, family camping trips, video game marathons—the gears of education have started to grind once more. Whether you greet the new school year with glee or gloom, fun family traditions can help make the transition easier for everyone. Here are a few of our favorite ideas to kick off the school year. For more ideas, check out our 15 Ways To Conquer The First Day Of School blog for more useful tutorials!
1. Count Down the Days
Who is more excited for school to start: you or your kids? Counting down to the big day will help everyone in the family get prepared. Paper chains made from construction paper are easy to assemble and even easier to take apart as the last days of vacation go by. Make your chain with school colors for an extra blast of school spirit!
2. Family Shopping & Fun Night
Back-to-school shopping is an annual rite of passage, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. Turn your shopping trip into a fun event by having a family night out that celebrates the end of summer. The fun memories will only add to the excitement of the new school year.
3. A Visit from the Backpack Fairy
Create mystery and excitement around the first day of school with a visit from the Backpack Fairy. Tell your kids to leave their backpacks out the night before school starts, and fill them with a few surprise treats to discover in the morning. Personalized pencils, a special book, a piece or two of favorite candy –choose goodies that will put an extra-big smile on your child’s face.
4. Back-to-School Cones
From Germany comes the tradition of the schultüte, or school cone. These decorated paper cones are filled with small treats and school supplies to make the first day of school special. In Germany, some schultüte can be as big as the child! This smaller version of a school cone is easy to assemble and can be decorated with your child’s favorite colors, cartoon characters, or school spirit icons.
5. Back to School Coupons
The first day of school can be both exciting and overwhelming for kids. These printable back-to-school coupons are a great way to encourage them when things get tough. Rewards can include things like a trip to the ice cream parlor or a new book.
6. First Day Breakfast
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, and that’s never more true than on the first day of school. Send your kids off with a meal that not only nourishes their body, but puts them in the right mood for a great first day. Offer some fun foods like these back-to-school apple donuts, pencil waffles, or a cereal bar that’s decorated with school-themed decor!
7. First Day Photos
The start of a new school year is a memorable milestone that should be marked with a special photo. Instead of just snapping a picture as they run out the door, plan ahead and include a placard that indicates each child’s age and grade. It can be as simple as a computer printable or as elaborate as a hand drawn chalkboard sign. In years to come, your collection of first-day-of-school photos will be a treasured reminder of how much they’ve grown.
8. Back to School Interview
Another way to create lasting memories of your kids is to conduct a back-to-school interview that records their hopes, dreams and favorite things. This is the perfect opportunity to capture the fleeting stages of your child’s life. Do one each year to record your child's growth.
9. Teacher Gift
If getting ready for the first day of school is hard for a parent, think about how crazy it must be for the teachers! Start the year off on the right foot by letting your child’s teacher know how much you appreciate their efforts. This succulent planter made from wooden rulers is the perfect way to say, “You rule!”
10. School Lunch
Picking out the perfect lunch box is an important rite for many children. But we love this mom made lunchtime special with this set of back-to-school printables! With some patterned paper and a bit of bakers’ twine, this is a great way to send a little extra love to school with your child!
11. First Day Memories
When your kids get home, sit down and talk about their first day. This is a great time to create a special memento together, like a time capsule that captures those back-to-school memories. Or let them help you make a first day of school scrapbook page that includes their photo from the morning and their favorite details of the day. There’s no better way to preserve this moment in time!
12. Giving Back
In the rush of getting ready for the new school year, it’s easy to lose sight of opportunities to help those in need. Make a family event of visiting the school supply clearance sales at stores around town. Set a budget and let the kids pick out an array of school supplies at bargain rates – 100 erasers for 25 cents, 10 folders for a dollar – then donate these essential supplies to your school, or to an organization that distributes them to children in need.
13. Parent Party
You did it! The kids are off in a trail of pencils and notebook paper. Back-to-School time can be hectic, so give yourself a little break by inviting some other moms and dads over for some uninterrupted talk. These clever invites are attached to coffee stirrers – you’ll supply the coffee right after drop off!
Ready or not, your kids will be starting school soon! What are your favorite ideas and traditions for back-to-school time? Do you have any tips for saving money and avoiding stress? Let us know in the comments below!
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