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21 Creative First Day of School Ideas for Parents

21 Creative First Day of School Ideas for Parents

Back to school season is here, and if your child is heading off to Kindergarten, you may be thinking about ways to make their first day special. Or you may need ideas to help ease the transition for younger siblings.

We’re sharing our favorite first day of school traditions, activities, and ideas to make the Kindergarten send-off a memorable one.

First Day of School Traditions & Kindergarten Kick-off Ideas

  1. Make a batch of Kissing Hand Cookies (hand-shaped cookie cutters, Hershey’s kiss in the center) and of course read The Kissing Hand while you eat them!
  2. Serve an apple-themed breakfast and/or lunch: red, apple-shaped pancakes, apple-shaped sandwich, apple slices, etc.
  3. Create a back-to-school countdown chain.
  4. Take a picture of your child holding a sign with the grade level and year (in their first day of school outfit, of course!). Even more ideal is to take the picture in front of the school.
  5. Have a “Back to School” fairy that leaves a special surprise the night before school starts.
  6. Plan a special outing after school…like a trip to the ice cream stand.
  7. Buy a new first day of school outfit.
  8. Do a special hairdo (braids will result in wavy hair the next day).
  9. Put a special treat in your child’s lunchbox (like a cookie).
  10. Decorate the breakfast table with balloons.
  11. Bake a special cupcake and serve it for breakfast.
  12. Take a photo in the same place every year starting with the first day of Kindergarten.
  13. Plan a school-themed lunch or dinner (alphabet soup etc.).
  14. Give your child a clip-on for their backpack. It helps keep them distracted on the bus ride. Some clip-on’s we’ve seen have included a compass, a soccer ball, a mini flashlight, and Legos.
  15. As a first day of school tradition, serenade your child in the morning with a funny song you and your spouse made up about going back to school, complete with a goofy dance.
  16.  Write a note to your child and put it in their lunch box. Make it something they look forward to each day for the first week. You could even start a story that you made up and your child gets to read a new paragraph each day for the first week. It might make that first week easier for everyone (these are some cute and free printable lunch note cards).
  17. Jazz up the school supply list…Teachers typically request school supplies – like crayons—so you can get ordinary crayons or get the twist crayons with multiple colors (same thing for erasers or pencil sharpeners).
  18. Buy some fun (and inexpensive) stickers or temporary tattoos that the child can wear on the first day of school.
  19. Get the child interested in something you know that they’ll be studying/working on in the new year. For example, if you know your son is going to be studying Japan this year, start looking up information about the country in advance and reinforce how interesting it is to learn about different cultures.
  20. Laminate a photograph with your child and their sibling if they are close or perhaps a picture of the family or family pet. Put it in their lunchbox.
  21. Write a surprise positive message or love note in chalk at the bus stop.


Do you have any more ideas? Share your first day of kindergarten ideas and school traditions in the comments section.

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  1. eac722 August 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these ideas! I am definitely going to steal some of them. It is so funny because I am in the exact same boat as far as having a younger son who I don’t think is going to handle not having his sister with him every day. Let me know if you find out any good tips for dealing with that as well!!! Good luck on your first day of Kindergarten!

  2. Sarah August 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Really fun post. It makes me wish that all of us adults could have these “back to work” celebrations after vacation!

    If it is any help, I have friends who found that the Kindergarten transition for the second child was a breeze because the second child was so used to being part of older sibling’s Kindergarten drop off. So when it was his turn to go, he basically just waved at his parents and ran in the building. Maybe to help your son not feel like he is missing his sister you could have a special note each day for that first week in his lunch too. Or ask his teacher if he could do a special “Show and Share” of something that is important to him or share a story about what he is learning about his sister’s move to Kindergarten.

  3. Niamh Bevan August 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    You certainly sound as if your set & I have to say that I agree with Sarah about you’re son settling in quickly for exactly the reasons she stated.
    I’m sure you’re daughter is full of nervous energy but there’s some security in knowing that she will know a lot of her class-mate from the previous year. This will help here settle into class fairly quickly too.
    About you’re own situation, I’m afraid I can’t help you there, sorry.

  4. Amy August 24, 2012 at 3:38 am

    For lunch notes, please visit my site Every school day I post free printable lunch notes.

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  7. Lisa August 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the great idea about putting a part of a story in my child’s lunch each day. That is something my daughter will really enjoy.

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  9. Nichol August 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    our family does “ice cream for dinner” every year on the first and last day of school. Our kids think it’s super cool, and talk about it all year. Us parents love it too cause it’s inexpensive, and ice cream is great! Lol

  10. Pingback: 21 Creative First Day of School Ideas for Parents - Bright Start Academy | Childcare Preschool & Day Care O'Fallon MO |

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