These back-to-school traditions are the perfect way to kick off the new year easily! All you need are some consistent ideas to get a smile on everyone’s face! 

Back-to-school can be a hectic time for families—shopping for new clothes, collecting supplies, gathering books, preparing lunchbox ideas. Moms are tired, kids are nervous. Help take some of the dread and anxiety away with these fun first day of school traditions!

Your kids will look forward to them year after year!

17 FUN TRADITIONS FOR CELEBRATING BACK TO SCHOOL photo collage - back to school breakfast, school supplies scavenger hunt, time capsule and grade-day book.
Fun Traditions For Celebrating Back To School

Fun First Day of School Traditions for the Kids

Celebrate School Year’s Eve: Ok, maybe not the night before. After all, we want the children to rest for their first day of class. During the week before school starts, host a celebration for the upcoming school year. Invite your children’s friends in the neighborhood and perhaps their parents. Throw a potluck!

1. Create Healthy Back To School Breakfast Traditions For Your Family

Prepare a special breakfast for your kids in the morning before they head off to class for the first day of back-to-school.

Make pancakes, waffles, French toast, breakfast burritos, or whatever special treats and favorite foods they fancy for a healthy breakfast. Be sure to pack some protein in with fruity Greek yogurt. Whatever you do, keep it simple, involve your kids in the preparations, and make some back-to-school traditions and memories!

a back-to-school breakfast table set for 2 consisting of some pancakes, apples and complete with a chalkboard sign reading BACK TO SCHOOL BREAKFAST
Back to school breakfast idea from Dimple Prints

2. For Fun Back To School Traditions, How About An After-School Surprise

Sometimes (and it’s most likely) mornings are just too hectic to put something extra-special together for your kids, and an after-school surprise would be a better way to celebrate back-to-school traditions. 

Gather other moms and bombard your kids with noisemakers, confetti, ribbons, and their favorite snacks. Trust me, the kids will be least expecting it and perhaps pleasantly surprised. 

An after-school back-to-school traditions where the parents bombard their children with noisemakers, confetti, ribbons, and their favorite snacks
Festive after school surprise from Jazzie and Tahlia

3. For Awesome Back To School Traditions, Make DIY Locker Decorations

If your kids have lockers, take some time to create locker decorations together. Not only are store-bought decorations expensive, if you make them you can make memories together and create a new back-to-school tradition as well.

Let each child choose a color scheme or theme and plan out what kinds of decorations they would like.

customised DIY locker accessories for back to school traditions and memories
DIY locker decorations Sassy Style Re-Design

4. Make Back To School Traditions Fun By Giving Grade-Day Books As Presents

Presents are not restricted to birthdays and Christmas and may also be part of the back-to-school traditions.

Staying with the back to school theme, why not give your children a special book on the day of school that corresponds to their grade level such that if they’re in the 1st grade, they get a book on the 1st day back to school; if in the 5th grade, they wait till the 5th back to school day to receive their book. 

Like pajamas on Christmas Eve, your kids will look forward to the book you have chosen for them as they grow older.

assorted books on a bookshelf
Gibing your child grade day books from Cluster Tutoring

5. Enroll The Backpack Fairy To Make Special Back To School Traditions 

Since we all are familiar with the tooth fairy, the backpack fairy works pretty much in the same way. This time around, no tooth has been lost but because we’re creating back-to-school traditions, the backpack fairy fills open backpacks that are left outside the child’s room on the school year’s eve.

Include books, notebooks, pick-me-up snacks, candy, school supplies, or new shirt/ t-shirts for your child to find the next morning. This gets them excited and makes the first day back to school not to be such a nerve-racking affair.  

photo collage of gifts left in the children's backpacks by the backpack fairy - some candy, a lego key holder, and some supplies

6. Make Meaningful Back To School Traditions With Sidewalk Chalk Messages

Encourage your children by writing fun and colorful messages on the sidewalk leading to the garage or street. Short Bible verses or inspirational quotes are great and inspiring ideas. You could also write down some affirmations for the kids to say out loud on their big day. 

a sidewalk with a message written in chalk - Have a great day!

7. Looking For Fun Back To School Traditions? Throw A Back-to-School Fashion Show

After all that clothes shopping, let your kids and their friends show off their new styles by parading in front of family and friends! Let your kids choose the music, roll out a red carpet or create a runway with glowsticks or flashlights and begin the show!

This fun back-to-school tradition is definitely bound to lift up their spirits and hopefully, your kiddos are in a better mood for their first day back to school. happy girl parading her new clothes in front of her family on the first day back to school eve.

8. First And Second Day Of School Photos Make For Hilarious Back To School Traditions 

The first day of school pictures is already a tradition in most families. But why not have some fun and take second-day-of-school pictures?

Your kids will have fun staging the second-day excitement or nonchalance. Better still, you could also snap a picture of them coming out of school at the end of the first day.

photo collage of the first and second day back to school pictures, where the kid doesn't look too happy on the second day of school

9. Planning For New Back To School Traditions? Create A Time Capsule

Take an old oatmeal container or something similar and have each of the kids fill out a list of favorites. Include perhaps a favorite picture or other trinkets. Make sure to label them so you remember why they were so special.

Make this a back-to-school tradition by opening the time capsule and reading it to them on the first day of school eve – it gives them something to take their minds off the first day of school and you could use their answers to surprise them too! 

A free printable time capsule questionnaire for kids

First day of school, make sure that you know your locker combination.” — Jordan Francis 

10. Dish Out Some Encouragement With These Never Alone Bracelets

Got a child who’s especially nervous about starting school or the first day back to school?

Make matching bracelets to remind them that you are always with them. Making these father/son or mother/daughter bracelets can be a fun project for you and your kiddos – make and customize them together. 

a parent and their child's hands showing matching parent/child bracelets

11. Gotta Remember The Man Above In Back To School Traditions – Say A Family Prayer 

Before going to bed on the eve of the first day of school, take time to pray as a family for each child, as well as for yourselves. 

Each family member will be facing different challenges throughout the new school year. 

12. Backpack Charms Make For Cute Back To School Traditions 

Write a letter to your child with key points you would like your children to remember as they start school.

Give them keychain charms to put on their backpack to remind them of the truths you have taught them. Concepts like “Be Kind,” “Learn,” “Pray,” and “Stand up for what’s right” can be expressed with simple keychains. Simply cute! 

a silver backpack charm
Silver backpack charm from Your Own Homestore

13. Why Not Add A Back To School Mission Statement As Part Of Your Family Traditions? 

Most businesses have a mission statement. As a family, create a mission statement for the coming school year.

Set goals together and create a short statement that can be a kind of motto as you celebrate and prepare for the challenges of the coming year.

Family mission statement written on a piece of rock - Psalm 18:1-2, Family Forever, "Cling to the Rock"

Need help with more insights into creating a thoughtful mission statement? This mom couldn’t have said it better! 

14. For An Exciting Back To School Tradition, Plan A School Supply Scavenger Hunt

How about taking the edge off and calming down their first day back to school jitters?

Create clues for your kids to follow in search of their school supplies. Use the house and yard to hide their treasures, give them a bag for collecting, and enjoy watching them take on the challenge! 

excited kid on a school supplies scavenger hunt before first day back to school

15. Add A School Visit To Make For An Unexpected Back To School Tradition

Take time to drive by the school building and, if possible, go inside and let your kids see the layout and where their classroom is.

If it is close enough to the school year, sometimes the teachers are in the room and your children can meet them before the first day and introduce themselves. I’ve found this to be a very calming back to school tradition that my kiddos have come to appreciate. 

16. How About Having The Elf On The Shelf Postcard As A Back To School Tradition? 

If you are fans of the Elf of the Shelf, send a postcard from him to your children during the first week wishing each child a successful year at school.

Add some school supplies to the postcard to let your kids know that the elf empathizes with them because he’s going back to elf school too!

Elf on the shelf postcard for a Happy First Day of School

More First Day Of School Traditions To Start 

17. Go Out To Eat Breakfast & Add This To Non-Traditional Back To School Traditions

Do your kiddos have a favorite place to eat? Surprise them with this non-traditional back-to-school tradition.

While other parents are busy rushing their kids back to school on the first day of school, why not make it a back-to-school tradition to go out to eat at their favorite place? It’s the perfect way to start the day on the right foot and with a tummy full of delicious food. 

18. For Special Back To School Tradition, Pack Them A Lunch Box Surprise 

There’s a good chance that your children might have a few school jitters…and if that’s the case, why not sneak in a fun surprise to their lunchbox?

That way, they can easily have a moment of pure surprise and happiness just by opening up their lunch box. And once this is firmly engraved in your back-to-school traditions, your kiddos might actually be looking forward to the first day of school. 

19. Add The First Day of School Movie To Your Back To School Traditions

When they get home on their first day, load them up immediately in the car and head to the movies. It’s a great way to defrag and see something really cool! 

The activities could easily become family traditions to celebrate the Back-to-School season. Find the ones your kids like the best and enjoy some quality time making memories and documenting their growth!


child writing on paper with the title BACK TO SCHOOL TRADITIONS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY TO ENJOY

Had fun creating new back-to-school traditions? Here are more back-to-school ideas and tips you may also want to check out: 

What is your favorite first day of school traditions? 

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