17 Ways to Make Going Back to School Special

Sweet traditions and fun ideas to make the first day and more memorable

make the first day of preschool special
Whether it's your child's first day of school or her first first day, make it special! Here's how. Yellow Dog Productions

Even if you are sad that summer is coming to its inevitable end, whether you are 4 or 14, the first day of school is a big deal! It's a fresh start, a chance to start the year on the right foot and celebrate learning. 

And if your child is about to embark on their first day of school, well that's really a big deal!

So to make the first day of school and back to school, in general, a special, happy time for your preschooler, try some of these ideas.

You may even start a new tradition!

In the days leading up to the first day of school

  1. Hold a back-to-school fashion show where your little one shows off all of his or her new school clothes and shoes.
  2. Have a school supply day where you take out all of your child's new school supplies, review what they will be used for, and pack them into his or her backpack.
  3. Take a special trip to the grocery store where you buy snacks, lunch items, and juice boxes or water bottles that are specially designated for school lunch and snack.
  4. If this isn't your child's first day of school, look back on school memories from previous years -- yearbooks, the first day of school pictures, class photos, albums, scrapbooks, etc.
  5. If you have them, pull out your own school memorabilia for your child to take a look at. Talk about the differences in clothes, hairstyles, furniture, and more. What's the same? Talk to your preschooler about your favorite school memories. 
  1. Do a special school visit (if permitted) where your child tours the school and the classroom to familiarize themselves with where they are going
  2. Head to the library and take out some first day of school books to share and read. 
  3. Have a special "first day of school eve" day, complete with fun activities and talks about what your child can expect over the next few days. 

    On the first day of school

    1. Make a special breakfast that your child will enjoy.
    2. Fill your child's room with back-to-school balloons for when they wake up.
    3. Let the back-to-school fairy come for a visit, bringing your child treats and special supplies for when they wake up on the first day. (Just remember, if you do this the first year, you'll have to do it every year!)
    4. Take plenty of back to school pictures! Be sure to include the date, your child's age, the name of the school, and the name of your child's teacher(s). 
    5. Ask your child some fun questions about their life -- what do they want to be when they want to grow up, what do they think their favorite thing will be about school, what is their favorite color -- a back-to-school survey of sorts that you can revisit on the last day of school. 
    6. Be sure to pack a sweet note in your child's lunch or snack box.
    7. Make a special back-to-school snack for when they come home.
    8. Go out for a back-to-school dinner, make their favorite meal.

    Bonus tip for moms and dads: Host a "boo-hoo breakfast" for friends who are also sending kids back to school!

    For more back-to-school breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, take a look at this awesome resource!