Fun Ways to Celebrate the First Day of School

It’s almost the first day of school and I—like so many other parents—am super excited! You know who else is excited, though? My daughter! She’s looking forward to seeing her school friends, meeting her teacher, and her first year with a locker. Third grade is a big deal, people. Whether your child is excited or a little bit apprehensive, celebrating the first day of school is a great idea. You can either continue their good cheer or give them something to look forward to if they’re feeling a bit unsure about their first day. Here are some fun ways to celebrate the first day of school.

School Supply Shopping Date: School supply shopping doesn’t always seem like most fun thing you could be doing (except it totally is—I love it!), but why not make it a date? Let your child put their personal spin on whatever supplies they’re allowed to and then go out for a special lunch, dinner, or snack when the shopping is done.

Host a Back to School Party: Whether you go all out using a fun idea like this, this, or this, or you go low-key, invite some friends over and get the new school year off to a celebratory start. Bonus points if your school will share contact info for your child’s new classmates (mine won’t), so they can start getting to know each other early.

Introduce the Backpack Fairy: Like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or St. Nicholas, the Backpack Fairy pays a visit to children once a year and leaves them special gifts. Have your child leave out their empty backpack the night before the first day of school and in the morning they’ll find it filled with something neat for school: an awesome new shirt to wear, cute new socks, some backpack bling, a fun new book, tasty snacks,  or maybe new art or school supplies. Somehow the Backpack Fairy will know just what to bring.

Decorate Their Door: Just like you would for a birthday, decorate your child’s door with balloons and streamers to celebrate the first day of school. Consider using the number 1 or seeing if you can find apple-shaped balloons. (What am I saying? At this point, there are probably “Happy First Day of School” balloons.) Have fun with it!

Schedule a Measuring: This is such a fun idea! We do measurings on birthdays, half birthdays, and special events like my daughter’s first trip to Disney World. I love the idea of making the first day of school such a big event that it gets a measuring, too!

Matching Bracelets: Remember making friendship bracelets when you were a kid? Well, they’re a thing again now. Especially if your kiddo is a bit anxious, celebrate by gifting your child a matched set so they know you’re thinking about them while you’re gone. For older kids, you can make them together (or buy actual jewelry) and for younger kids, you can make age-appropriate pieces together.

Gift a Study Buddy: There are two ways to do this one. One is to purchase the buddy in advance and have it waiting (great for younger kids who are going to be exhausted after their long day) and the second is to surprise your child with a study buddy shopping trip after school. Either way, they end up with a new cuddly friend whose sole purpose is to hang out with them while they do homework all school year long.

Update Their Homework Station: Your child has grown and changed since the start of last school year—shouldn’t their homework station? Even if it’s just one or two small updates, work with your child to refresh their homework station and make it new for the new school year.

Special Dinner: We always do this one! On the first day of school, we go out to eat and our daughter gets to pick where. Plus, she can order whatever she wants—including chocolate milk and dessert. If you have multiple kids, make it a short-order cook night, where you’ll make whatever they want from breakfast for dinner to dessert for dinner. I mean, hey, it’s only once a year!

How does your family celebrate the start of the new school year? Share your favorite ideas in the comments!

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Christina lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at her local library, and does both volunteer and paid work as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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