Developing sensory and fine motor skills through play and exploration!
Developing sensory and fine motor skills through play and exploration!
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8 Ways to Make the First Day of School Special

The big day is coming up wayyyy too fast! Where did the summer go?? Here are some ways to make the first day of school special this year.



Providing an interactive countdown for your child to count down to the first day of school can build excitement as well as provide your child with some warning if they may be a tad bit nervous.

Here are 2 ways to count down to the first day of school that your child can be involved in.

 Balloon Pop Countdown

What you need:

  • Balloons
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Confetti (optional)

First, have your child choose their favourite colour balloons to use for their countdown. You will need a balloon for each day left of summer. Blow up the balloons and write the corresponding number of days on that balloon. Tape the balloons up on the wall mixed up or from highest to lowest. (BONUS: this is a great way to practice number recognition and counting for younger children) Each day, pop one of the balloons until you make it to the last day. If you’re feeling crazy, you can always add confetti to all the balloons or just the final one for a surprise! (OR add little notes to each balloon)


Paper Countdown Chain

What you need:

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape/Stapler
  • Markers/crayons, stickers, glitter

 To start, cut your child’s favourite colours of construction paper into 1-2 inch strips. As an activity, you can have your child decorate each strip of paper before assembling. Each strip of paper represents one day. Continue by making a chain out of the strips, taping or stapling the ends together to make one link. Each day, have your child tear off one link from the chain, until you get to the last day. 

The visual aspect of these countdowns is a great prep for the week leading up to the big first day, and why not make it fun!? Happy Countdown!



Food is always a great way to make things feel special!

Letting your child choose their favourite meal for “Back-to-School Eve” dinner can invite lots of excitement! This is a great opportunity for a family dinner (one of the most important things, in my opinion) and for your child to express what they are excited for and what they may be a little bit nervous for at school. I remember always feeling so special and included when I was able to choose the menu!

It is also a great idea to have your child involved in choosing what is in their lunch on the first day of school. Maybe take them to the grocery store with you and let them pick out a couple of their favourite foods, snacks and treats to add to their lunch box. You can also let them help you prepare it and pack it all up. This gives them something to look forward to in the middle of their first school day as well as some comfort in knowing what to expect.



Do you have a back to school fairy in your house? Just like the tooth fairy, a leprechaun or cupid, the back to school fairy comes during the night before the first day of school and leaves a little surprise and a note for your child. Whether it is a few school supplies, a new shirt or shoes or just a simple treat, it is sure to make your child feel special and pumped! Leaving a note with some words of encouragement is always a nice touch. (BONUS: This also may help with getting them to sleep! “The back to school fairy doesn’t come until you are asleep ;)”)



There are so many awesome books out there to prepare children for big life moments. Whether it’s the arrival of a new baby, potty training, losing their first tooth or the first day of school, there is a book out there for it!

Here are a couple of options for books to read the night before your little heads off to school:

Oh The Places You’ll Go! (Dr. Seuss)

 First Day Jitters (Julie Danneberg)

 Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School (Herman Parish)

 Pigeon Has to Go to School (Mo Willems)

 A New First Day (Elena Grant) (pandemic first day of school)



Decorating your child’s door while they are asleep the night before is such a simple yet effective way to excite your child the morning of! If you want to keep it simple you can hang streamers or fringe from the top of their door. If you want to go a little more all out, you could cover their door with sticky notes with positive affirmations, things you love about them and things that they do well. They will certainly feel the LOVE.



Adding a simple note into your child’s lunch box is a great reminder that you are thinking of them and they are safe while they are at school. A little mid-day pick me up could be exactly what they need to get through the day. It could be as simple as an “I love you” on a sticky note or an “Enjoy your lunch!” on a piece of construction paper. A positive affirmation goes a long way.

Here are some fun note ideas:

Here are some cute mini note cards and envelopes:


If you feel like being fancy, here are some pre-made lunch notes: 


Well, Moms, you can’t forget the photos. First day of school pictures are definitely a must! How special is it to have a photo from all of your kid’s first days?? Remind your kiddos how great they look in their new outfit or how beautiful their smile is. BOOST. THAT. CONFIDENCE!



What a great memory to have record of your child’s favourite things every year of their childhood. You can set up your phone to videotape or simply compile a list of your child’s answers to some of these fun questions:


Favourite Colour

Favourite Food

Favourite Song

Favourite Show

Favourite Animal

Favourite Things To Do

I Am Good At…

When I Grow Up I Want to Be…

I Love…

Here is a fun back-to-school picture board:


There you have it! 8 ways to make the big first day a special one. Good luck kiddos! (Who am I kidding, they’ve got this) Good Luck PARENTS!

If you try any of these out, tag us on Instagram @_insidethebox!