The first day of school always comes with a mix of emotions — for both kids and parents! Make every first day a good one with unique celebrations and milestone markers, from new outfits to fun photoshoots and so much more.
As summer winds down and the first day of a new school year approaches, turn the First Day Countdown into something fun for the whole family. Mark off seven days before the start date and plan an activity for each day; nature walks, trips to the public pool or the park, and chalk drawing competitions are all great inexpensive options. Visit local museums, go to a movie theater or drive-in, or have dinner at your family’s favorite restaurant. Help your kids create a countdown calendar using paper and craft supplies so that each day’s adventures can be seen and anticipated.
The last weekend before the first day is a wonderful time to host an end-of-summer sleepover. Order pizza, break out the paper plates (no cleanup!), set up an ice cream sundae bar, and organize backyard games. Create a DIY drive-in movie situation with a small projector and speakers at nightfall, or build a fire for s’mores. Ask attendees to bring a tent for backyard camping. Movie or cartoon marathons, board games, and arts and crafts are excellent rainy-day backups. Your kiddos will love an opportunity to soak up the last of the summer sun with their besties.
A fresh outfit is definitely a must-have for the first day of the school year. Especially as kids get older, clothes become a form of expression and self-identity. Keep things weather-appropriate; your littles will most likely still be wearing summer items as classes begin. Girls’ summer dresses and skirts, shorts, tees, and tank tops are certainly contenders for that first-day fit. Make an adventure out of school shopping by including a stop at the local coffee shop, a lunch break at a restaurant you all enjoy, or post-shopping ice cream. Throwing in a unique activity will make the trip more memorable — and kids will look forward to the day every year.
From walking the halls to racing around the playground, comfy kicks are a must. Kids’ sneakers deliver much-needed support for busy school days. Funky socks and colorful laces can easily add unique style to basic white or black sneakers to get the most mileage out of their favorite pair. Sandals and flip-flops are awesome for those warm Septembers, and inexpensive flip-flops mean they can coordinate different colors and patterns with different outfits.
Like a fresh set of clothes, a new backpack signifies the start of a new school year. Kids’ backpacks deliver organization, durability, and style that’ll last all year long. For preschoolers, a simple pack with a large, zippered compartment will probably get the job done. As your kiddos age, look for options with specific laptop compartments, pockets for gym shoes or clothes, zippered pockets for other electronics, and water bottle straps. Features like adjustable and padded straps can make backpacks more comfortable and secure. For a personal and unique touch, customize backpacks with names or a classic monogram design.
Traditional duffle bags are great for gym class or after-school sports — most will feature a combination of large and small zippered compartments for a change of clothes, shoes, and post-game necessities. And don’t forget about lunch bags! Insulated bags and lunch boxes will keep lunches and snacks fresh and tasty throughout the day. Coordinate backpacks, gym bags, and lunch bags in their favorite colors and themes, or personalize with matching monograms or names for a cute and polished look.
It wouldn’t be the first day of school without the classic photo op! You know the one — your kids are gathered in their new outfits, sporting their new backpacks, and holding signs marking their ages and grades. Make this year’s photo more unique by allowing your kids to make their own sign with paper, markers, and other crafting supplies. And don’t forget to snap a few photos of the whole fam with a handy dandy timer! You can even go a step further and give them a turn as playing photographers; let them decide on the backdrop, make funny faces or poses, and take pics of each other.
While the first day of school is the start of something new, it’s also the end of that magical time known as “summer vacation.” It’s natural — and smart! — to include summertime wrap-up activities into your new year readiness plan. Keep your kids engaged in the process, from shopping to celebrations to milestone markers, and they’ll feel more prepared to face a new year.