There are some things about heading back to school that never change—early mornings, homework, seeing old friends. But, you can make the season extra special by creating a new family tradition that’ll be a blast for kinder kids all the way up to grade school greats. From interviewing your little scholars to fixing up her favorite meal, read on to discover 12 ideas that make the grade.

schoolyearseveparty_11cupcakes_BTStraditions_redtricyclephoto: courtesy 11 Cupcakes

1. Celebrate School Year’s Eve. You celebrate New Year’s Eve, why not do the same for School Year’s Eve? Get poppers or noise makers, provide a few treats, and throw a little dance party. It’ll get your students excited for what’s to come, and it’s a great way to include some of the other fun ideas on this list. Looking for more inspiration? Check out the School Year’s Eve party guide over at 11 Cupcakes.

2. Decorate your pad. Either let your kids help with the decor, or surprise your school-aged sweeties with a decorated door when they wake up in the morning. Either way, it’s a great way to celebrate! We love the way Megan of Brassy Apple created a simple paper countdown chain leading up to the first day. Find out more here.

backtoschoolportraits_jaimereiner_BTStraditions_redtricyclephoto: Jamie Reiner via Hands On As We Grow

3. Draw a self-portrait. Let your little Einsteins create a version of themselves in a Back to School outfit. It’s a great way to pass those last few summer days, and it’s a sure bet for getting kids excited about donning those new threads and heading to the classroom. See how Jaime of Hands On As We Grow completed this fun activity.

4. Interview your kids. Discover goals, fears, and questions about all things school by interviewing your little scholars before the first bell rings. It’s not very hard to come up with a list of questions, and whether you write down the answers or videotape your tykes, it’s a memory everyone will treasure for years to come.

photo: The Crafted Sparrow 

5. Take cool pictures. Everyone loves to document the first and last day of school. There are so many creative ways to commemorate the occasion—from chalkboards to t-shirts and more. You can find our favorite ideas by clicking here.

6. Have a Back to School dinner. Whether you make a favorite meal or go out to eat, celebrating the start of another school year with an awesome dinner in their honor will always make your kids feel special. Psst! This is also a fun tradition to share with friends! 

newbook_KnightFoundations_BTStradition_redtricyclephoto: Knight Foundation via flickr

7. Give them a new book. Get your bookworms ready by gifting them a new book before school starts. Those required reading minutes will go faster when they’ve got the latest release in their favorite series. Plus, we’re pretty sure kids can never have too many books. 

8. Create a bucket list. You do it for summer, why not make one for the school year? Whether she wants to jump a reading level or two or try out for a new sport, when kids have goals, they succeed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAphoto: Dana via flickr

9. Make an awesome breakfast. You’ll be throwing cereal and milk at the kids soon enough, so why not whip up a fancy breakfast for their first day? It’ll keep your kids full, and make them look forward to getting up early! 

10. Write a sidewalk chalk message. If there’s a sweeter way to send your kids off to school than a chalk message outside the front door, we haven’t found it. Go all out or keep it simple, either way, it’s an extra boost to help ease those first day jitters. 

bentoboxlunch_Melissa_anotherlunch_BTStraditions_redtricyclephoto: Melissa via flickr

11. Pack a super special lunch. They might be asking for a school lunch soon, or you might be tossing leftovers in the lunchbox a week from now, but a specially prepared lunch for the first day beats cafeteria food tens times over. Get your kids involved by asking them what they want, and have them help you get it ready! Check out our favorite ideas for easy and creative lunches here

12. Slip a note into the lunchbox. If you don’t feel like being a bento box master, then consider the fact that nothing will make your kiddo feel more loved on that first day than when she opens up her lunchbox to a sweet note. From printables to simple paper napkins, we’ve got the scoop on the best way to send love via lunch.

Do you have any Back to School traditions? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Gabby Cullen