It’s that time of year again (already!) to start thinking about sending the kids back to school. As parents and caregivers, we can use this opportunity to get them excited about the year ahead! And in the meantime, we can instill a love of learning.
To that end, we brainstormed some fun ideas to help get the whole family revved up for the big day. Start the school year off on the right foot with one of these budget-friendly back-to-school activities!
1. Swap With Neighbors for Back to School Clothes
Buying new clothes every year is costly. Younger kids grow out of clothes quickly. And as they grow, they start to develop their own sense of style.
Setting up a clothing swap with friends, family, and neighbors can be a fun way to find some new looks for your kids.
During a clothing swap night, everyone brings gently worn clothing of assorted sizes and styles. Set out some snacks, or have a potluck. And let everyone search for new pieces to take home and love.
Encourage everyone to bring outerwear and sporting goods as well, as these are some of the costliest items to buy.
2. Make a Memory Box
First, grab a shoebox for each one of your kids. Have them decorate it however they want. (Stickers, paint, markers, ribbon, and magazine cut-outs are all great tools for decoration.) Make sure to write or paint the school year on the box somewhere.
Next, talk about your kids’ hopes, goals, and dreams for the school year. This could be friend related, or about sports, certain teachers, or anything your kids are excited to learn. Help them write down their thoughts on a sheet of paper and put it in the box.
And then you can start collecting small items in the box throughout the school year! Anything that brings back a memory of something special deserves to be included.
Pick a time (for example, once a month) to look at all the things they’ve collected and talk about the stories. And at the end of the year, they’ll have a fabulous time capsule that they can look back on and share with their family and friends.
3. Start a New Back to School Tradition
Celebrations of any kind are always a wonderful way to get kids excited about upcoming events, seasons, or holidays. And it’s never too late to start a new tradition for back-to-school!
Get the kids looking forward to the new school year by trying one of these:
- Celebrate school year eve. Make a special dinner or dessert, have family game night, or pick a fun movie to watch together. Help rev up your kids’ excitement by making the night before the first school day positive and memorable.
- Show and tell dinner after the 1st day. Have your kids tell you a story, or show you something they worked on that day (piece of art, name tag, etc.). For younger kids who need a little prompting, ask them: “What’s one funny thing, one silly thing, and one stinky thing that happened today?” You’re guaranteed to get a colorful chat going!
- Let kids pick out one or two back-to-school items all on their own. Kids feel extra special with a little independence. Therefore, allow them to pick out one or two back-to-school items on their own to help them build self-confidence and self-expression.
- Invite others over for a back-to-school icebreaker. Schedule a get-together with families and peers from your kid’s upcoming class. This will remove some of the first-day nerves and give the kids a chance to get to know each other. It can be as simple as meeting at a playground for an hour to let the kids run and play.
Any one of these traditions can set the tone for a great year ahead!
Reach Out for Support When You Need It
Don’t forget that the House of the Carpenter is always here for you. Whether you need a boost with groceries, or you want to let your kid explore a new art form, our mission is to help your family thrive.
We’re with you every day to make sure this year is one to remember! Let us know in the comments which idea you’re going to use this school year!