10 Fun Back-to-School Traditions

Arts and Education, Crafts and Games, Family, Growth and Development, Party Ideas
School Supply Present
Jane Kohlenstein

Back-to-school traditions are, well, traditional at the start of a new academic year. Rather than just filling backpacks and laying out clothes the night before like usual, start your own family back-to-school traditions instead. Here are 10 suggestions to get you started:

1. Beneficial Breakfast

Iowa Girl Eats Frozen Breakfast Burritos

CREDIT: Kristin Porter

Find a nutritious breakfast recipe that you know your kids will love, and save it for the first day of school each year. Not only will they be ready to face the day with full tummies, but they will also have something to look forward to first thing in morning to help ease their jitters.

2. Take Some Time Off

Out the Door

CREDIT: Penelope Guzman

If you have the vacation time, taking a half or even full day off will make your kids feel special and reduce the stress of getting them to school and back on time. If you can’t take that much time off from your job, coordinating so that one parent or friend drops the kids off and the other one picks them up is also a good option.

3. School Supply Surprise

School Supply Present

CREDIT: Jane Kohlenstein

Going school supply shopping with your kids is great way to help them get excited about the coming school year. However, delighting them with a surprise “gift” will only increase their enthusiasm. Buy a nice school supply item that your child needs (or more likely wants), such as a lunchbox with his favorite action figure on it. Wrap it up like a present, and give it to him the night before school starts.

4. Fashion Show Fun

School Fashion Show

CREDIT: David Munch, Carroll County Times

Shopping for new school clothes usually goes hand-in-hand with shopping for new school supplies. Shuffling in and out of dressing rooms can be a drag for kids, so to make things a little more exciting, put on some fun music and host a home “fashion show” where they can show off the final purchases to each other.

5. Pick a Picture Tradition

Chalk School Pictures

CREDIT: Jenni at Paging Fun Mums

First-day-of-school photos are time-honored for a reason: they’re a great way to commemorate the day and track how much the kids have grown. Trying adding a fun twist by snapping a pic of your kids holding their photos from the previous year. If the weather’s nice outside, get their creative juices flowing and have them write or draw their dream occupation on the driveway, then take a photo of them standing or lying next to it (pictured above).

6. Schultüte School Cones

Schultuete 1

CREDIT: Mereta at One More Mushroom

To help ease anxiety on the first day of school, parents in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria give their children a gigantic decorated cone made of cardboard and filled with sweet treats. You can easily make your own Schultüte (translation from German: “school cone”) using large sheets of cardstock or another strong paper. Just roll it into a cone shape, tape it, and fill it with candy and other surprises.

7. Show Some Lunchtime Love

Lia Griffith Lunch Labels

CREDIT: Lia Griffith

For some middle-of-the-day encouragement, handwrite a note for each child and slip it into their lunches for them to find later. You can also try out this idea from Lia Griffith and personalize lunch labels and stickers with their names (there’s a template that you can download and then print, or you could design your own featuring their favorite foods).

8. Capture a Capsule

Time Capsule

CREDIT: Mariah Leeson

Make a small, simple time capsule to commemorate the past year. Grab an empty container such as a large jar or clean oatmeal oatmeal canister and have her fill out a sheet with simple questions about herself, then put it into the container along with some of her favorite items. The next year, crack open the old time capsule after you’ve sealed the new one and see how she’s changed over the past 365 days.

9. Welcome Home Hobbies

Painting with Kids

CREDIT: Akane Everitt

If your child is especially anxious about the first day of school, plan to do one of her favorite activities together once she gets home, such as reading a book, coloring or finger painting, or building something with toys. That way, she will have something positive to anticipate throughout the day whenever she gets nervous.

10. Back-to-School Bash

Back to School Party

CREDIT: Heidi Rew

If you really want to go all out, then celebrate the start of school with a proper party a few days before the first bell rings. Have close friends from your child’s class come for a sleepover or pizza party with school-themed decorations, or make it just a family affair and cook a special dinner for you all to eat together the night before.


Does your family have any back-to-school traditions? We want to hear about them. Share in the comments below.

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