Unforgettable Back-to-School Activities & Traditions

A return to school can bring a mix of emotions for both kids & parents.  The return to routine can be welcome and also stressful, but going into a new school year with a upbeat & positive attitude can make a big difference. So, creating fun, back-to-school activities & traditions can help everyone get excited & ready for a new year of learning!

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There are so many things that parents can do to help their children look forward to the new school year, and many of these ideas may have been part of your routine for years.  However, adding a few, super-fun back-to-school activities can really get your kids morale up! (think of it as a pep-rally for the school year)!

Back-to-School Countdown

                                                    My favorite pencil box!

Instead of dreading each passing day, get your kids excited (like they are at Christmas) as they get a day closer to the start of a new school year.  Use a Back-to-School countdown to help kids count down the days until they return to school and to see their friends. And like Christmas, have a little surprise that they wake up to on the first day of school! (Maybe a new lunchbox or adorable pencil box!).

 Back-to-School Shopping Spree

Take your kids on an EPIC shopping spree for new school clothes, shoes, & school supplies. If you are able, take your kids individually so they can have a little one on one tie and allow them to pick out their favorites. Then finish the day with a treat, like ice cream of a lunch at their favorite restaurant.  Having a few new things for school that can help your kids look forward to this new, and sometimes daunting experience.

Breakfast, Lunch & Snack Planning

Being prepared as you get into your new routine can make all the difference! Let the kids help you plan a grocery list for stocking up on their favorites for before school breakfast, lunches, & snacks.  You may even want to include the kids in preparing snacks or staples for their lunches in advance.

Flat lay. Healthy school lunch with kebab sandwich and vegetables in bento box.

Here are a few ideas…

Adding little things to kids lunches like left over party napkins, colorful straws, lunch box notes, or stickers can be an encouraging mid-day pick-me-up for your child! Collect  sweet surprises to add to your kids lunches from time to time that will brighten their day!

End of Summer Celebration

There are many ways that you can kick off a new school year, here are just a few ideas!

  • Have an End of Summer Family Olympics with as many events as you can dream up (maybe  sprinkler gymnastics or long jumping from a swing).  Choose 2 teams and have a special award for the winning team, maybe the losing team makes dinner?  Or ice cream for everyone on the judges (mom & dad)?
  • Lake day for the whole family. If your kids are older and they are good swimmers, a day at the lake might be the perfect ending to a great summer.  Check local marinas for pontoon boat or jet ski rentals.
  • Invite friends over for a back-to-school Sprinkler party or Nerf Gun battle.  This can be a great way to let you kids play with their friends.  And it will likely get them excited about being with their friends again soon!
  • Plan a “Last Week of Summer Blowout” with different fun back-to-school activities planned for each day.  
    • On Monday, start by adding some cute Back-to-school decorations to get everyone in the spirit!  Plan a School-themed movie night watching a kid-friendly school-themed movie like Akeelah & the Bee or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 
    • Tuesday- Serve dinner on cafeteria trays with milk in a carton.  Serve a souped-up version of your child’s favorite school lunch (chicken strips & tater tots anyone!?)
    • Wednesday- Have your kids dress up in a new outfit that they just got for the new school year.  Then take a little time doing an adorable photo shoot with fun photo props & signs! (If you are like me, you don’t have time to take all the pics you want on the first day of school)!
    • Thursday- Let the kids make a cute craft that they can use as they go back to school, maybe a backpack charm?
    • Friday- Go on an end of summer field trip.  Let the kids pick whether they would like to visit  like the zoo, science museum, or an indoor rock climbing gym!
    • Saturday-  Kids choice! Let the kids pick their favorite activity to do today… swimming, kayaking, or a trip to the playground with a picnic!
    • Sunday- Enjoy a relaxed day before the big day!  Make  chocolate chip pancakes or waffles for breakfast (make extras & freeze them for busy mornings).  After dinner, bring out a full sundae bar (with different flavors of ice cream, hot fudge (the best), chopped nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream & cherries) for yearly back to school sundaes!  
    • And on the first day of school, I love to wake my kids up with the VeggieTales song, “Billy Joe McGuffy”.  Follow your wake up call with an extra-fun school-themed breakfast (& maybe a little surprise for each child)!

                                                                                                                                       Get the kids excited with this adorable Back to School Countdown!  

Read Awesome Back to School Books

Books are important for so many reasons.  But books about heading back to school might help your children  identify some of their feelings that they don’t know how to talk about.  Fluxing Well has a great post about Back to School picture books that might get you and your kids talking and help them know that they aren’t the only ones that have some First Day Jitters.   

Talk About Their Fears

If your child is nervous about going back to school, let them know that it’s ok to be a little scared.  Let them tell you what parts of going to school cause them anxiety.  If it’s the lunch room, you may help them devise a plan to ease their fears going in (i.e. pack their lunch for the first week or so until they get used to how the lunch line runs).  Maybe you have a child that will be switching classes for the first time ever, if that is something that is bothering them, talk to their teacher about seeing their classrooms ahead of time.  But overall, let your child know that the things that make us nervous are often the things that stretch and grow us the most!

You may also talk to your anxious child  about all of the fun parts of school that they will enjoy.  Let them tell you about their favorite memories from year before, and be sure to let them know that each grade & teachers has all new fun activities & experiences.

If you have a Kindergartner or a child that will be moving to a new school, have an older sibling or friend tell them about the things that they enjoy most about school.  

Speaking Truth to Your Kids As They Begin School

girl goes to school on a scooter. back view

Be sure to arm your children with God’s word when talking about their fears starting a new school year!  Use the Bible to speak truth to your child’s heart.  Also, let your child  carry a Scripture card as an important reminder of God’s faithfulness! 

Plan For A Great Year

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the fun activities of a holiday or season, and not make a plan to succeed on the daily, but that is so important for a smooth transition to the school year.  Check out this awesome post from Home Wife Busy Life to help you set up a routine for your family that will help this be an amazing year! 

Going back to school (especially after a prolonged break, like this year’s quarantine) can cause some understandable jitters in your kids.  But keeping the atmosphere fun & exciting with some fun back-to-school activities will go a long way to make this year the best year ever!  

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