Are you ever stumped as to how to celebrate the start of a new school year? Last-minute surprises can be a real challenge for parents.
But don’t worry – you can find all sorts of crazy things to do on the first day of school and even the last.
In this post, we’ll walk you through what you need to do to get started.
We’ve collected tips and advice for the first day of school traditions and back to school photos from parents and teachers, including gifts for teachers and easy-to-follow methods.
Parents and Teachers: The Best First Day of School Ideas
There are a few reasons why you might want to celebrate going back to school.
First, it’s an important part of parenting. Getting ready for back to school can cause children to be anxious and jittery. By easing those feelings of nervousness, you will be providing much-needed comfort to your children.
Second, to avoid hurt feelings. It will prevent your children from being disappointed. If your kids watch what all the other Pinterest moms are doing for their children, it might seem as if you don’t care. Special moments like this call for special attention.
And third, to establish a stronger bond with your child. It helps a child’s self-esteem and allows them to cherish childhood memories when they receive praise and rewards. They will also want to share these traditions with their children once they become parents.
Creating a Memorable First Day of School Tradition is Easy: 5 Steps
We’ll show you how to do the best first day of school traditions at home before school starts or after it begins. The following ideas would be helpful for back to school for K-12 students.
Here are the five steps:
#1 –The perfect Back to School shopping experience!
Getting brand-new clothes is fun, isn’t it? Once you get home, let the kids try on their newly purchased clothes/shoes, hold a little fashion show with music and lights, and take pictures.
This will be a great activity for kids and make awesome photos that they can use in scrapbooks or share on social media!
#2 – How to do School Nails
Every girl loves being pampered. Girls of all ages appreciate manicures. A stylish way to make your daughter feel more confident is to do her nails before she heads back to school.
If you’re looking for school supply-themed nails, take a look at these back-to-school nail designs. These nail decals are suitable for all types of nails including natural nails, acrylic, gel coats, and more. Get yours today!
#3 – Read a Book
Snuggle in bed and grab a back-to-school book the night before school begins.
It may help alleviate some of those first-day jitters and give the character in the book some tips on how to make new friends.
Not only will this calm their nerves, but it will be a special time set aside for them, and they will love it!
The following books were picked by teachers for the back to school season:
Stanley the Dog: The First Day of School – Picture Book
Stanley, a bulldog pup, begins his first day of school in a hilarious and heartfelt new picture book called The First Day of School. Stanley is very apprehensive about the first day of school. Rather than get on the school bus, Stanley prefers to wait in bed and ponder over which collar to wear. Though he’s unsure if he’ll fit in with the other dogs at school, he finds out that being himself will save the day.
My son and I enjoyed the illustrations of all the puppies in the book, and the text was so beautifully written. Don’t miss out on Stanley the Dog! It will be a favorite in our house for a long time.
School’s First Day of School – Picture Book
Frederick Douglass Elementary is having its first day of school and everyone is just a little bit nervous, especially the school. What will the students do when they arrive? Will they like it? How will they treat him? After a rough start to the day, he soon recovers when he realizes he isn’t the only one feeling nervous on the first day.
A simple story relating to the first day of school for kids, especially kindergartners or first-graders, but told from the school’s perspective. It is illustrated well. Both my children and I enjoyed this story as a “getting ready for school to start” book. You can get your copy now!
#4 – First Day of School Signs
Think back to when you were a kid, waking up in the morning and being extra nervous to go back to school. Decorating is a fun way to surprise the kids and get them excited for their first school day.
For example, you could make a Happy First Day Back to School sign.
Back To School Sign Suggestions:
- Happy New School Year!
- DREAM BIG!
- Second Grade, Here I come!
- Let Today Be The Start of Something New!
- Good Morning Sunshine!
- Back 2 School
- There is always a way! ← Find this banner here!
- Welcome Back To School!
- What We Learn Becomes A Part of Who We Are!
- Your Attitude Determines Your Direction.
- Happy School Year!
- Play, Learn, and Grow… Together!
- “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Suess
- The best way to predict your future is to CREATE it!
Back to School Fairy
The last night before school starts has the School Fairy visit. I never thought about having a school fairy, which is why I love Pinterest for mom ideas!
What a fun way to bring extra fun and excitement to the first day back to school.
This idea was found on Differentiated Kindergarten, and it’s having the School Fairy come to visit the kids during the night and leave a special note with school supplies. What a fun way for the kids to wake up and find something special waiting for them!
Treasure Hunt on the First Day
Adding to the fairy visit. A fun discovery for kids is when they get a clue or have to find their gift. So an extra fun twist for the school fairy tradition could be to start with a treasure hunt.
The first clue could be found underneath their pillow. Leave a note on the ceiling or by their bed that reads, “School Fairy was here!” Let’s start the day with an adventure and look under your pillow for the first clue.”
If they’re unable to read yet, maybe print a picture of a child looking underneath their pillow.
Each year before my girls start school, I help them with filling out an interview sheet. Then, I ask them questions about what they want to be when they grow up and write down their answers. It is adorable to see how their answers change over the years!” – Molly T. from Boston, Massachusetts.
“I love to be able to see my kids get on the school bus. I request off work so I can spend that extra time with them before they leave on their first day of school.” – Jean Z. from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Special Wake Up
A really cool back-to-school extra fun tradition is to wake them up with a cupcake, donut, or a special breakfast. Don’t forget to take a picture of them and their crazy morning hair. This will be a fun one to stick on Facebook! :-surprise
Back to School Breakfast
How to make morning breakfast extra fun for the first day back to school. Use a red plate and cut out a leaf from green construction paper to add to the top. It will become an apple plate. A super cute idea!
If you want to make it a little easier, write I love school with syrup on their pancakes.
Cake or Cookies
A great way to make the first day of school extra fun is to bake a surprise cake for them! So how fun would cookies or a cake be when you came in the door from your first day back to school?!
If they don’t like cake or cookies, other suggestions would be brownies, caramel apples, donuts, watermelon, ice-cream cake, fruit spread, banana split, root beer floats, or strawberry shortcake.
Back To School Celebration Dinner
Another extra fun idea for the back to school boy or girl would be to let them pick dinner. There are two ways to do this… the first idea would be to let them pick dinner on the first day of school.
The second idea would be to let them pick dinner on the first Friday of the week that they start back to school.
First, this way, it would give them something to look forward to all week, and second, it would keep their behavior intact because they know they’ll be rewarded on Friday for an extra fun back to school celebration dinner.
This is the perfect way to make going back to school extra fun. Since the kids, of course, need book bags to make it extra fun with a new backpack, new supplies inside the bag, and then add in an extra trinket. Ideas could consist of…a fun keychain or maybe this fun Pez chapstick!
Back to School Lunch Ideas
Another extra fun back-to-school idea is to create special school lunches. For example, you could add their name to a printout of their favorite character in these lunches, and inside the lunch, I added an extra cut-out character to surprise my kids. Another surprise fun idea would be to create a special themed lunch.
Back to School Activities
Lastly, for EXTRA-EXTRA FUN, treat them to a Back to School Traditions First Day Activity! The summer is almost over, and it’s time for the kids to go back to school. “after school” surprise day. Imagine their faces when they’re greeted with these REALLY COOL water balloons waiting for them when they got off the school bus. This would create such a FUN memory for them!
Happy First Day of School for TeensSaveSave
Teens love getting their hair done. At least my teenage daughter enjoys it, and I know she’s not the only one. A fun idea to do for a high school student would be to dye their hair. This will give them a lot more confidence on the first day back.
Creating such a special day will not only make the kids feel good, but it will also make you feel good too. We wish you and your family a wonderful school year! Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Facebook, so you don’t miss out on all of the other cool ideas we cook up!
I think these are great ideas for going back to school although, my son isn’t going to just yet will be doing some of these just to get him used the idea of it 🙂
Awe. Thanks Jess! That will be fun idea to do for him. 🙂
Aw I love these ideas! I don’t have kids but I remember how scary the first day of school was for me when I was growing up. I used to go shopping for new clothes and get a new haircut for the first day so that made it a little easier to get through. I bet that nail polish would have made it even better!
Thank you so much Sharon! I agree adding that extra little special touch can be a lot of fun. 🙂
Sumer | Grace, Giggles & Naptime says
Such fun ideas for back-to-school! We are gearing up for school to start again soon and we always do certain traditions together. I always love finding new traditions to start. We usually do a special breakfast in the morning, but I also really love the special dinner idea, too! I’m so excited for the school year to start!
Thanks Sumer! I love back to school traditions for my kids. It makes the school jitters a little more easier to handle, I think. Thanks again! 🙂
Justine @ Little Dove says
So many fun ideas! Luckily, my kids are at an age where they look forward to school, I, on the other hand, not so much. LOL. I think having an extra special dinner, something for them to look forward to during the school day, is a great idea!
Thanks Justine! 🙂 Yes, my kids love to pick dinner. We use this tactic throughout the year when they get good report cards and for other special fun recognitions too. 🙂
Love this post! SO fun and plan on doing these with my kids!! Thanks so much for sharing!
Awe. You are so welcome Erin! Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I’m glad I could help! 🙂
My kids would love this!
Thanks Casey!!! 🙂