Special First Day of School Traditions to Start the Year Off Right!

Jul 30, 2021 | Baby and Kids, Lifestyle

Make back-to-school memorable this year with these special first day of school traditions! Whether your kids are feeling the nerves or you're the one a little weepy, these fun (and CHEAP!) traditions will help get the excitement flowing and capture memories for a lifetime!

Mom taking a picture of two kids from Fun Cheap or Free.

School is starting in just a few short weeks and we can't believe summer is almost over! Man, time flies so fast, right!? Before we know it, those little kids we take to school every day will be driving themselves to college. (*Cue the tears.) We're not crying, you're crying!

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Though we can't slow time, we can sure make the most of what we have and capture all the memories we can with these special first day of school traditions! The best part? It doesn't have to cost a fortune… or even a penny! The truth is, it doesn't matter what you spend on something. If you get excited about it, so will your kids. So don't let that tight budget hold you back, friend!

Whether you're doing traditional school or homeschool, these first day of school traditions are for you! Okay, enough with the sappy. Wipe those tears, mama, and let's get to these traditions!


You've probably seen these adorable pictures floating around the internet by now. Aren't they so stinking' cute!? Here's the idea:

For this one, you'll need a plain oversized t-shirt (probably a large or extra-large, depending on how big you think they'll be when they graduate!). Next, grab some iron-on transfers from Walmart and simply print your “Class Of” and the year and iron that baby on. Where The Smiles Have Been has an amazing tutorial on how to make one using a Silhouette Cameo and you can see how cute her sons are over the years of growing! You can also totally keep it simple and just grab one online from Amazon or Etsy! No shame, mama.

The idea is, every year on the first day of school the kids will wear the same exact shirt with the words “Class Of 2032” or whatever year they plan to graduate. The final picture being them wearing the shirt on graduation day! (*sniff, sniff) Ahh, there are those tears again… Is someone cutting onions?


We know, we know. This one is a given, right? Well, we just had to include it because it's… FREE! Wahoo! Plus, we're going to bring you some really fun ways to spice these up.

Make these pictures even more memorable by making them unique and fun for your kiddos. Here are some of our favorite ways to make your first day of school pictures totally awesome!

  • Take Them in the Same Place –Whether it's in front of the same tree each year or it's by the front door on the way out, take their first day of school pictures in the same place each year so you can watch how they grow and change with their environment!
  • Use a Chalkboard – You don't have to be a master artist for this one! Write their name and year on the chalkboard so you never forget what year it was taken. You can even include some of their favorite things and current interests!
  • Print It Out – Don't have a chalkboard? Simply pull up a document on the computer, type it in, and print it out. Pinterest also has tons of cute printables! Your kids can just hold up the paper as-is or you can pop it into a cheap dollar store picture frame!
  • “Step” Into School – Have stairs at your house? Line your kids up the stairs in order from oldest to youngest. Have them sit and place the corresponding grade on the riser next to them! This is a great way to get everyone in on the same picture so you aren't wrangling kids all morning. 😉

See, we told you these wouldn't be boring!


Each year, the night before school, we gather as a family and say blessing, or prayer, about each child who is headed to school. We speak from the heart and give them blessings for the year—courage, strength to overcome hard things, the ability to make friends… Whatever comes to the heart! We record this prayer and the kids are able to playback the blessing throughout the year if they have a hard time!


French toast with strawberries and whipped cream, from Fun Cheap or Free

Your first day of school breakfast doesn't have to be fancy or gourmet, just memorable! Make them a sweet treat they wouldn't normally have on a busy school morning (like French toast with a strawberry and whipped cream sun), and really do it up big! Grab a cheap table cloth and some confetti from the Dollar Tree to really get them pumped up for their first day.

Prop their “class of” shirts up at the table to make it even more special. While it may not seem like much to you, it will mean the world to them, whether they admit it or not! These memories and first day of school traditions will last a lifetime.


This one is a tradition for the end of the first day of school! Fill a small goodie bag with trinkets and small treats from the dollar store or the dollar spot at Target! Surprise your kids with it when they get home from their first day for a sweet “You did it!” treat!

If you have smaller kids, this is a great activity to do with them since they'll probably be missing their older siblings. Let them help pick out the treats and welcome them home. This isn't fancy or necessary, but it is a fun way to get your kids excited about getting back to school!

The first day of school can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and sometimes scary for both kids and for parents. Make the most of this emotional day by creating special moments and memories that will last their entire lives. These first day of school traditions will be fun in the moment, and fun to look back on for years to come. Who knows, they may even decide to pass these traditions on to their kids one day!


Does your family have any special first day of school traditions that you do every year? Share them with us in the comments below or tag us on Instagram and Facebook so we can see them!

Click on the image below to save this to Pinterest for later!

Image with text that reads, "traditions for the first day of school", from Fun Cheap or Free

Want more awesome fun, cheap, or free ideas? Don't miss these posts!

Happy first day of school!


  1. Josephine

    Hey Jordan,

    I think this little tradition would be really fun to do for each first day of school. My little girl starts kindergarten this year so maybe this will fun to start up with her. Maybe it’ll help her get excited about school and not so nerve racking like it feels every year. Thanks for sharing this, Jordan.

  2. Krista Sidhu

    I can’t remember if I got the idea from you but I did the class of 20?? Too!


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