21 Back to School Traditions to Make the First Day Memorable

The first day of school is a significant milestone in every child’s life, filled with excitement, anticipation, and a bit of nervousness. 

Establishing special back-to-school traditions can help ease the transition, create lasting memories, and make the day extra special for your kids. 

21 Best Back to School Traditions to Start Now

Here are a variety of ideas to make the first day of school memorable and fun.

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A. Special Meals and Treats

1 – First Day of School Picture T-Shirt

Start a tradition by picking a large t-shirt, ideally sized for when your child will be a senior, and customize it with iron-on varsity letters showing their graduation year. 

Each year, on the first day of school, take a picture of your child in this shirt until they graduate. 

It’s a fun way to see how much they grow over the years!

2 – Mom and Me Date

Turn back-to-school shopping into a special date. 

Go out for lunch or breakfast and spend quality time together while picking out school supplies. 

It’s a fun way to bond and make shopping feel more like an event than a chore.

3 – Back to School Breakfast/Dinner

Celebrate the start of the school year with a special meal. 

This could be a big breakfast on the first day, a special lunch after school, or a family dinner. 

Incorporate the “red plate tradition” where a family member uses a special red plate to celebrate their achievements or special moments.

4 – Ice Cream Sundae Dinner 

Surprise the kids with an ice cream sundae dinner on the night before school starts. 

You can trick them by serving it in a casserole dish or simply have a big bowl of ice cream with all the toppings. 

It’s a sweet way to celebrate the end of summer and discuss the upcoming school year.

RELATED: Back To School Quotes For Kids & Moms

B. Creative Keepsakes

5 – First Day of School Photos

Take memorable first day photos. 

Consider taking these photos in front of a tree planted for each child to track both the child and the tree’s growth over the years. 

OR with cute first day of school signs like this.

6 – First Day of School Interview 

Conduct an interview with your child at the start of each school year. 

Ask questions about their favorite things, what they’re excited about, and what they want to be when they grow up. 

Record these interviews to look back on and see how their answers change over time.

7 – Mock Magazine Cover

Create a mock magazine cover featuring your child’s photo and details from their first day interview. 

It’s a fun and unique way to document the start of each school year.

SEE ALSO: Funny & Cute Back To School Letter Board Quotes For Your First Day Back!

C. Encouragement and Reflection

8 – Writing a Letter to Your Child

Write a heartfelt letter to your child at the start of each school year. 

Include your hopes for them, words of encouragement, and reflections on their growth. 

It’s a touching keepsake they can look back on.

9 – Sweet Lunchbox Note

Include a sweet note in your child’s lunchbox on the first day. 

It’s a nice reminder that you’re thinking of them and can provide a little boost during their day.


FANCY LAND 60 Lunch Box Notes for Kids Cute Motivational and Inspirational Thinking of You Cards for Boy’s and Girl’s Lunchbox

10 – Special Notes

Hiding encouraging notes or bible verses in books for your child to find.

These notes can express your love and excitement for the new school year or help them start the day with a positive mindset.

11 – Evening Prayer and Gratitude Walk

For homeschooling parents, the night before school starts, walk through the classroom and pray over the school year. 

Express gratitude for the opportunity to homeschool, pray for the kids individually, and for a successful year ahead.

D. Fun Activities and Traditions

12 – Family Movie Night

Host a family movie night to celebrate the end of the first week of school.

Gather around with popcorn and treats to watch a favorite family movie together. 

It’s a great way to unwind and celebrate completing the first week back.


Cheshire Gifts Movie Night Supplies 18 Pcs - Popcorn Bags (12ct) & Movie Night Snack Trays (6ct) - Movie Theater Decor & Popcorn Bowls For Family Movie Night

13 – Nature Walk

For homeschoolers, start the school year with a nature walk. 

Explore a park, lake, or national park to enjoy the outdoors and incorporate some learning and observation.

14 – Party Atmosphere

Decorate your home with streamers, balloons, and banners to create a festive atmosphere for the first day of school. 

It makes the day feel special and fun for the kids.


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Pudodo Back to School Table Runner Ruler First Day of School Kids Students Classroom Party Dining Room Home Decoration (13" x 72")


Cartoon pencil school bag crayon stationery box shape aluminum foil film balloon opening back to school graduation gift party decoration (Pencil)

15 – School Year’s Eve Party

Throw a back-to-school party the night before the first day of school. 

It’s a fun way to build excitement and address any nerves about the new school year.

E. Unique and Heartwarming Traditions

16 – Kindercone (Schultüte) / school cone

Create and fill a kindercone with school supplies and treats. 

This fun German tradition involves making a large paper cone filled with school supplies and treats to celebrate the first day of school.

17 – Alphabet Snack Mix

Make a fun and educational snack mix for the lunch box using letter and number-shaped cookies, crackers, and cereal.

18 – Sidewalk Chalk Messages

Write encouraging messages with sidewalk chalk for your child to find on their way to school. 

It’s a sweet gesture that can help ease any first-day jitters.

19- Creating Classroom Rules

Make fun and silly classroom rules with your kids on the first day. 

This can include humorous ones like “no stinky toots” and heartwarming ones like “lots of hugs.” 

It helps set a positive and fun tone for the school year.


FaCraft Classroom Rules Poster,12" x 18" Motivational Poster Classroom Decorations,Classroom Inspirational Posters for High School Middle School Elementary Teacher Classroom Supplies

F. Reading and Affirmations

20 – First Day of School Books

Read books designed for the first day of school to help kids entering a new school or grade level. 

Books tailored for kindergarten, primary school, and other transitions can be comforting and help set expectations.


The Day You Begin


First Day Jitters (The Jitters Series)

21 – Bible Affirmations

Have simple Bible affirmations for your kids to learn and say. 

These can provide comfort and strength as they start the new school year. 

Pair this with praying together for the new school year to instill a sense of peace and confidence.

First day of School Traditions Every Family Should Try

Wrapping up Back to School Traditions

Creating and maintaining back-to-school traditions can make the first day of school a cherished event filled with joy and excitement. 

These traditions help children feel loved, supported, and prepared for the new school year. 

Try out these traditions and make them your own, and feel free to share your own back-to-school traditions in the comments below. 

Here’s to a fantastic school year ahead!

Explore More School Gift Ideas Here:

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32 Teacher Appreciation Gifts

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