Whether your kids will be learning virtually – or heading to the classroom this fall, “back-to-school” will be different for everyone. COVID-19 has changed the way we approach school, and it’s more important than ever to make the transition special for kids. Try these ideas for a memorable – and positive – start to the school year.

Say farewell to summer with their choice of a funday out. Take a special hike, go on a picnic or have a water games day in your yard. Or, consider a visit to the zoo or water park, or go zip lining.

Make an annual time capsule with photos from the year, handwriting samples and drawings. Wrap and store it somewhere special, to be opened at the beginning of the next school year. Stephanie at nolongertwobutone.blogspot.com shows you how.

Do a back-to-school interview. Record items like height, weight, grade, favorite color, friends, favorite foods and movies. Don’t forget to write down what they want to be when they grow up! Keep the interviews in a notebook, and enjoy reading over them each year.

Plan a special breakfast for the first day of school. Make your kids’ favorite foods; you can even decorate the table.

Go shopping for a new backpack and fresh school supplies. Be sure to stop for lunch or ice cream afterward! Staying home? Shop online and make a special dessert together.

Make a coupon book of rewards–takeout pizza for dinner, a trip for ice cream, movie night – to be redeemed after a good grade or other accomplishment at school.

Create a surprise package of supplies: pencils and pens in fun colors, silly note pads, etc. Gift wrapping makes them more fun! Put together a small “survival” kit with hand sanitizer, erasers, paper clips and other supplies.

Plan a special dinner, whether it’s your kids’ favorite homemade dish or takeout from a restaurant. Dress up for the occasion and break out the decorations and balloons!

Use liquid chalk markers or acrylic paint to write back-to-school messages on windows. Buy yard signs or make them yourself. A fun idea: spell out a “good luck” message by writing individual letters on paper plates. Attach wood dowels to anchor each plate in the ground.

Decorate the night before school starts. Use balloons, streamers or even signs – “Fifth Grade or Bust!” or “On my way to fourth grade!”

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