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14 First Day of School Traditions to Get Kids Excited About School

The first day of school after a long, fun summer can be a little sad. And exciting. And nerve-racking. For both the kids and the parents. Traditions are a great way to make the transition a little easier while getting everyone pumped for the school year ahead. If you’re looking to start a new back-to-school tradition with your family this year, this list is sure to give you some ideas. Start one (or more!) of these 14 First Day of School Traditions to make that first day back even more memorable.

14 First Day of School Traditions to Celebrate with Your Kids

Our Favorite First Day of School Traditions

1. Have a special meal or snack

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, a snack, or dinner, preparing special back-to-school food is a great way to celebrate the start of a new year. We have a couple of fun back to school treats, like our ABC Cookies or Back-to-School Brownies!

abc cookies for the first day of school

2. Interview your child

Ask your child some questions about their likes and dislikes before the first day of school. Save the answers someplace safe, and have them answer the same questions on the last day. It’ll be fun to see how much they’ve changed throughout the school year! We have a handy first day of school questionnaire to help you.

3. Go shopping

Back-to-school shopping was probably my favorite tradition as a child. Let your child pick out some of their own items, so they feel confident and excited their first day back.

4. Take a picture

This is a pretty common tradition, but there are so many ways to have fun with it! You can take their first day of school picture in the same place each year, or you can use a small chalkboard to write their grade or other relevant information to show in the picture…. I’ve even heard of people planting a tree on their child’s first day of kindergarten, and taking their first day of school pictures next to it to show how much both have grown. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

first day of school pics

5. Decorate your house

The night before your child’s first day, decorate the house with balloons and streamers while they sleep. A great way to get them in the back-to-school spirit!

6. Have a movie night

The night before the first day, have a family movie night. This is a great way to keep anxious children calm and distracted so that they can get plenty of sleep before school.

7. Throw a party

Throw a back-to-school party the weekend before school starts. Invite your child’s friends, future classmates, and other kids around the neighborhood.

8. Set goals

Before the first day of school, sit down with your child and come up with some goals for the school year. They can be academic (get at least a B in every class), extracurricular (join a new club), or anything else you and your child can think of.

plan for the school year

9. Give the teacher a gift

Your child isn’t the only one going back to school! Pick out a nice, simple gift (or even make one!) for their new teacher to get the school year off on the right foot. Take a look at these teacher appreciation gifts for inspiration.

10. Have a visit from the Backpack Fairy
Have your child leave their backpack by the door the night before their first day. Fill it with school supplies, toys, and treats for them to open in the morning.

11. Donate supplies
Schools are always in need of extra supplies, so when you go back-to-school shopping, why not pick out some extra things to donate to your child’s school? Send your child to their first day with extra pencils, tissues, and baby wipes.

school supplies

12. Make a scrapbook
Say goodbye to summer by collecting all of the pictures you took and making a scrapbook with your child. Be sure to include any ticket stubs!

13. Visit the school
If your child is particularly anxious, visiting the school the week before is a great idea. Most schools will let families come inside and check out the classroom, lunchroom, and any other rooms they’ll be using throughout the year. But it can also be helpful to just walk around the outside of the school for a while.

14. Give your child a gift
Give your child a small present when they come home from their first day of school, to give them something to look forward to throughout the day. Whether a new book, some flowers, or a new toy, it’s sure to make a lasting impact. It’s a tradition in Germany! School children often receive a Schultüte (a big cardboard cone) filled with small gifts, chocolates, etc. to make the first day of school a little sweeter.

gift cone

Make your child’s first day of school something to remember. These traditions will get your family so excited for school each year that you’ll barely have time to miss the summer! And don’t forget these last day of school ideas to get the summer off to a rocking start.

first day of school traditions square

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