Back-to-school traditions to start

Jul 31, 2014 at 2:30 a.m. ET
Image: Kali9/E+/Getty Images

Whether you're dreading the start of school or can't wait to get back into the routine, a back-to-school tradition is a fun way to mark the transition from summer days to school days.

Paper chain countdown

Paper chain countdown

Photo credit: Happy Home Fairy

Sometimes the anticipation is more fun than the event itself. This clever school bus paper chain countdown helps kids visualize the calendar as they tear off one chain a day until the first day of school.

Back-to-school dinner

Back to school dinner

Photo credit: Ready Set Party

Celebrate the last night of summer vacation with a special back-to-school dinner. This dinner party from Ready Set Party features super-clever touches like a school supply centerpiece, hanging notebook paper airplanes and a cafeteria-inspired menu of hot dogs, crinkle-cut french fries and corn salad.

Back-to-school breakfast

Back to school breakfast

Photo credit: Reading Confetti

Make the first day of school special with a back-to-school breakfast featuring all the kids' favorites. No time to prepare a deluxe brekkie? Stick a candle in a frozen waffle and feel like Mom of the Year.

Back-to-school photo

Back to school photo

Photo credit: Coffee Cups and Crayons

Of course you're going to take a photo of your cute kiddies heading out the door on their first day of school. This year, kick things up a notch and start a tradition of using the same prop every year. Have your kids hold up a chalkboard or sign announcing the grade they're starting, or use chalk in the driveway to scribble out their name and grade. Free printables available at Botanical Paperworks and How Does She.

Letter to teacher

While most back-to-school traditions focus on the kids, this one is all about the teachers. The first day of school is the perfect time to give a handwritten note to your child's teacher. Let her know how much you appreciate the time and care she will be sharing for the next nine months.

Mini interview

Mini interview

Photo credit: Rocket City Mom

This year, before your kids hop on the bus, hold a mini interview. Ask them to share their favorite food, toy, movie. Find out who their best friends are and what they want to be when they grow up. Create an image with their interview responses superimposed on a first day of school photo. They'll cherish these images when they're older.

School supply cone

School supply cone

Photo credit: A Subtle Revelry

Ever heard of a schultüte? This German tradition is a paper cone given to children on their first day of school. The cone is filled with school supplies (and maybe a sweet treat). Create an annual tradition and give your little scholars a cone each year before they head off to school.

More back-to-school tips

Host a back-to-school party
Back-to-school teacher gift ideas
5 Tips for beating back-to-school blues