21 Creative First Day of School Ideas for Parents

21 Creative First Day of School Ideas for Parents

With my first born heading off to Kindergarten in a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about ways to make her first day back to school special. It happens to land on a Friday, so taking her out for a celebratory dinner seems like a must – but what else could I do?

And while I’m focused on making her first day of school special, I need to come up with some ideas to make the transition easier on my daughter’s younger brother who is about to lose his favorite commuting buddy. I enlisted the help of some friends including Progressive Mom and Commuter Mom and added a few first day of Kindergarten ideas of my own.

21 ideas to make the first day of school special for kids

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 readThe 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 (Commuter Mom’s daughter likes to sleep in braids so she can have 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.  The past clip-on’s for a friend Paula’s children have included a compass, a soccer ball, 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 his/her lunch box. Make it something he/she looks forward to each day for the first week. You could even start a story that you made up and each day 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—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. In a friend Sarah’s case, her son’s new second grade teacher wrote a letter to him telling him that he’s going to be studying Japan this year.   So they started looking up information about Japan in advance and are working to 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.


Now I need to figure out how to resolve the second part of the challenge….helping my son to not feel left out and lonely.

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