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10 Ways to Make the First Day of School a Celebration

Kick off the year right! Celebrate your classroom comeback with these ideas.

Maria Bailey · about 2 months ago

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School is back, so get ready! While some of us (okay, a lot of us) might be feeling those going-back-to-school jitters, there's also good news: Having fun is the cure for nervousness. It's true! Studies have shown that generating excitement about going back to school can help make the transition easier — and help make returning to school actually enjoyable. (Science!)

So bring on the fun with these exciting, feel-good activities for back-to-school — because with the right attitude and some positive vibes, there's nothing you can't do.

1. Breakfast of Champions

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We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it's more important than ever on the first day of school! There's perhaps no better way for anyone to start their day (and especially the first day of school) than having an energizing breakfast featuring your favorite foods. Here are some fun and delicious recipe ideas that will have everyone in the house counting down the days until school starts:

Sheet-Pan Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Two-Color Monster Smoothies

Honey Cereal Bites

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Cinnamon-Sugar Snowflakes

2. Ah, That New-Backpack Smell...

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Okay, let's be real: Shopping for new stuff is basically the best part of going back to school. Those soft, fresh erasers! The sharp, as-yet-ungnawed pencils! Pens that haven't already lost their caps! And of course you need a sharp-looking new backpack to hold it all — or a few of these DIY decorating ideas for your backpack to make your old one stand out. Your school has probably already given you a list of supplies you'll need, but sometimes a special little off-the-list item can make the prospect of a new school year look a lot brighter.

3. Make a Back-to-School Time Capsule

Back to School Time Capsule

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Make time traveling part of your back-to-school plans! You may not be able to jump ahead to find out all the correct answers to the tests you’ll take this year, but Right Now You might surprise Future You with how much — or how little — you've changed by the time the school year's through. Send a message to Future You with this creative project that'll get you excited about the new school year.

4. Make a Super-Extra Lunch

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We can all agree — lunchtime is one of the highlights of the school day. To make your first day at school extra special, pack a specially prepared lunch that earns bonus points for tastiness and creativity. Here are some delicious and nutritious back-to-school lunch ideas all kids will love, and even some back-to-school bento ideas for extra inspiration.

5. Set Some (Achievable, Interesting, Fun) New Goals

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Why do people only make resolutions on January 1? The beginning of a new school year is as good as time as any (and some might even say better) to think about setting goals for yourself and kicking off new positive habits. It's helpful, of course, to keep your school year goals achievable and interesting — this colorful goal-setting worksheet is a good place to start.

6. How Tall Are You This Year?

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New grade, new height? The first day of school is a great excuse to measure your growth… in inches! Make it a family tradition to measure how much taller you have gotten over the last year. You'll love looking back at how much you've (physically) grown each year.

7. Make Back-to-School Friendship Bracelets

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Returning to school also means reuniting with friends! Have fun creating friendship bracelets to gift to your friends on the first day of school. You'll have just as much fun making them as they will receiving them. 

8. Pick Out an *Amazing* Back-to-School Outfit

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The first day of the school year is a major style moment — plan accordingly. Pizza-and-fries socks? Artsy temporary tattoos? Colorful tie-dye everything? Oh, yeah. Check, check, and check — although mayyyyybe not all at once. Even if your school has a uniform or a dress code, you can still accessorize with a cool DIY watch that expresses your creativity.

9. Don't Forget That First-Day Photo Op

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Is it even the first day of school without a rushed photo taken right as you're scrambling out the door to try to make it for the first bell? Still, there's a good reason to smile today: You have an exciting year ahead full of promise and achievement. Hold up your free printable first day of school sign, and say cheese! 

10. First Day of School Movie Night

Movie Night Popcorn

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Planning a family movie night to look forward to could be just what you need to get through the nerves and excitement of that first day! These back-to-school movie favorites will get you psyched for the year ahead, and help you decompress with some well-earned laughs and popcorn. You made it — and hey, it's only three months till winter break!