11 First Day of School Ideas and Traditions (Plus Free Printables!)

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Are you looking for fun ideas or traditions to start when back to school time comes around? If so, then look no further than this list of 11 first day of school ideas!

Back to School chalk board sign

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When summer starts to draw to an end, and back to school time is near, I find myself wondering what I can do to make the first day back to school fun and special for my kids. I want them to look forward to their first day and have fun memories of back to school time.

So whether your kids are homeschooled like mine are, or will be going to a public or private school, these fun ideas can help you make their first day of school one to remember. And you may even find something that works so well it becomes a new back to school tradition!

Back to School and First Day of School Ideas:

1. Make or have a special breakfast – Start their day off right with a yummy breakfast. You can make something that morning or even the night before and enjoy if before they go off to school.

2. Ask fun “About Me” questions – Use a premade questionnaire (like the one below, which, after signing up, you can get for free in my resource library!) or make up your own questions to ask your child on their first day of school. If they’re old enough, they can write down their answers and have a fun memento to look at at the end of the school year. (Find a matching “about me” last day of school questionnaire printable in my Etsy shop).


Sign up below for this FREE “About Me” First Day of School Questionnaire. You’ll also get access to my entire free resource library full of fun, easy-to-use printables (including this “about me” printable).


3. Back to school bucket list – This is a simple, yet fun project to do before the first day of school. Your child can make a bucket list of all the things they hope to do and learn this school year. At the end of the year they can look back on it and see how they did. (For more ideas on making a bucket list, see my post about making a summer bucket list).

4. Include a note in their lunch box or backpack – Make them smile and let them know you’re thinking about them by including a note card in their bag or lunch box. You can write your own special message or note, or use premade note cards and jokes like the ones below from my Etsy shop (LearnPlayAndCreate). Either way you’ll make their day a little bit brighter!



5. Pack a special treat for lunch or snack – In addition to a special note, you can also include a yummy treat in their lunch box or bag as a fun (and tasty!) way to say that you hope they have a great first day of school!

6. Have a countdown to the first day of school – You can mark days off on the calendar or make a fun paper chain to help count down the days until school starts.

7. Have a special meal or treat at the end of the day – Celebrate a successful (hopefully!) end to the first day of school by going out for a special treat or meal. Or make a family favorite meal or treat right at home!

8. Do a special activity after school – Go to a fun place or do something special after school to finish off the first day with a bang! This does not need to be anything elaborate or expensive, just something simple and fun to celebrate the end of their first day at school (a trip to the park, a family bike ride, or playing games together, for example).

9. Have a back to school eve celebration – Since the first day back at school can be busy for everyone, you can have a small celebration the evening before instead. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Maybe you go out for ice cream, or have a fun family night where you play games or make a special meal together.

10. Look back at previous years – Remember past school years by looking back on last years (or several years ago) photos, papers, and special memories. It’s always fun to reminisce together about the past and what your kids did, what they learned, and how much they’ve grown.

11. First day of school photo – No list of back to school ideas would be complete without the traditional first day of school picture! I like to take these pictures in the same place each year so that we can see how much they’ve grown over the years. I also like to have my kids hold a sign that says what grade they are going into (like the printable first day of school signs you see below, which are from my Etsy shop and include all ages/grades as well as last day of school signs as well). It’s something simple to do, yet it can help create fun and memorable photos that can be looked back upon for years to come!



I hope that you find the ideas on this list helpful for when you’re thinking about how to make your child’s first day of school extra fun and special! What are some of your family’s favorite back to school or first day of school traditions?



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