Back To School Traditions

Back to School Traditions
We start back to school on Monday.
Boo.  Hoo.
I’m trying to push my sadness away by doing some fun posts on Back to School stuff…because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…and we certainly can’t beat the fact that school starts in just a few days.  My kiddos’ teachers called and introduced themselves on Friday and this totally pumped my kids up!  They have been talking non-stop about going back, so even though we’re sad to see summer go, we’re very optimistic and enthusiastic about this next school year.  Which leads us to today’s post…
…I get excited to do this post every year because we need some more back to school ideas at the Shull house!  So far, we only have a couple of traditions…but we would love some more!  Please feel free to comment below and share what you and your family do for back to school traditions.  I’m totally needing the help!
Every year, we have this for breakfast on the first day of school…
I make them for St. Paddy’s Day and my kids love them so much that they request them for other special days (always green mind you).  So, it has become a first day of school tradition for us.
We take our annual front door pic :).  (This sign came off of Etsy a few years ago.  There are a wide variety of them on there now!)
We take a picture of their big kid back packs
…we always buy the backpacks from PB Kids.  Do you think they’ll let me take this pic when they’re 17 & 18?
…and then we drop off as a family…
I also asked them these questions on their first day…
1. How old are you?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. What is your favorite food?
4. What is your favorite TV show?
5. What is your favorite holiday?
6. What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?
7. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?
8. What is your favorite thing to do with Kensington/Smith?
9. What is your favorite thing to do with Ashby?
10. What are you most excited about this year in school?
11. What are you most nervous about this year in school?
12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
13. What is your favorite movie?
14. What is your favorite toy/stuffed animal?
15. What is your favorite thing to wear?
16. Who are you going to marry when you grow up?
17. What are you going to name your kids when you grow up?

After school, we always have their favorite cookies waiting and we sit at the bar and talk about their first day.

That’s what we’re doing around here on Monday.  I cannot wait to read your suggestions and ideas!!

Also, you can find my First Day of School Menu HERE.  It’s a menu mom’s will love to make and kids will love to eat!

And here’s my Back to School Pinterest board

Follow Shay Shull’s board Back to School on Pinterest.


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  • Kacy August 16, 2016 at 5:22 am

    I leave cookies and a Sprite ( their fave) as well as a note to each child on how proud I am of their accomplishments over the last year. I stick it in an envelope and decorate it with hearts and stars and anything girly!! They LOVE it and it’s special to each one! I have 3 girls ages 14, 8 and 5, never gets old! ????

  • Regine Karpel August 16, 2016 at 5:30 am


  • Denise Panetta August 16, 2016 at 6:03 am

    We took first day of school pictures all the way up to when my youngest daughter went to PA School (physician assistant) in her little white jacket. Also took one of my oldest going to her dietitian grad school. They enjoy looking back at them … such great memories! Good luck!!

  • Eileen August 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Every year we make a back to school cake (the kids like to eat it the night before the first day to build the excitement). I let the kids pick the type of cake – we’ve had a school bus, a pencil, and a math book. This year we’re trying a box of crayons. We also read back to school books the few days leading up to going back. I love to build the excitement so their excited to go back to school instead of sad that summer is ending.

  • Erika Slaughter August 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

    After someone suggested it, I began decorating our front door-with 50 cent crepe paper, I’m sure my neighborhood loves it. Ha! But my kids are already talking about the door being decorated when they get home the first day.

  • Narci August 16, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Love these traditions!! I am so not looking forward to school this year! We had the best summer!

  • Bre August 16, 2016 at 6:51 am

    We do the front porch picture with a sign too. We also take a picture on the front porch in a personalized shirt I had made on Etsy that says Class of…. 2029 (for instance) & it’s an adult size shirt, that they’ll likely fit in on the first day of senior year of high school… So we’ll watch them grow into it each year. Then I bake homemade muffins for breakfast each year and I always have a couple of new books on the counter next to their muffins, backpack & sign, for when they wake up. This year, since it’s Kindergarten, I had a little charm made for my son that says “Be You” for him to keep in his pocket to always remember that he doesn’t need to follow anyone, but to just be himself. After school is dinner of their choice.

  • Beth M. August 16, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Do they get new backpacks every year? Our PB backpack has held up great! You can wash them too. I told my daughter she had to choose a pattern that she would be happy with for many years bc she would be carrying the same backpack until middle school! Maybe I’m just cheap. 🙂

    • Gabi B August 16, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Us, too! My 4th grader is using the same PB backpack we bought for him to start Kinder. Those sweet sharks have held up well! 🙂

    • Ariadna August 16, 2016 at 10:10 am

      My daughter isn’t even in school yet but I’m thinking I would do the same thing!! If I’m cheap oh well! 🙂

    • Sarah August 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      I let me girls get a new one every other year. They hold up but get grungy, even with washing. I’ve gotten a few from Garnet Hill Kids as well as PBK and I think they’re of good quality too (and cheaper and you can get a free matching lunchbox if you order at the right time!)

  • Rebecca VanDeMark August 16, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I love all of these things that y’all do!! SO fun and adorable! One thing that was a tradition for our family (probably because my brother and sis were not morning people! *smiles*) was to go out for dinner that night. Even as we got older this tradition continued to be special and fun and it was a neat way of gathering and sharing stories after the first day. 🙂 Another thing that was incredibly special was that my dad wrote all of us kiddos letters (on every special occasion) but always on the first day of school. These letters were full of prayers for the year, encouragement, and scripture promises. I still have all of them (as do my siblings) and these are a precious memory and treasure.

    Thanks again for sharing Shay!

  • Jody August 16, 2016 at 7:34 am

    We read The Kissing Hand the night before the first day of school.

  • Nicole McCormack August 16, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Where is the dress your daughter is wearing from??! So cute! It looks like blue/denim with white dots.

  • Sheaffer August 16, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Cute pics of the kids (as always)! Looking back at the pictures, Kensington has grown up so much! I’m excited for our back to school breakfast!!!

  • Andrea August 16, 2016 at 7:42 am

    We take pics with sign & backpack. We also have a size large mens tee with my sons high school graduation year on it. Every year we take a pic & see how much he’s grown into it. By high school grad it should fit perfectly & will use for his grad party scrapbook. We always go to the local ice cream shop after school also to celebrate the start of a great year!

  • Natalie Clark August 16, 2016 at 7:58 am

    My favorite tradition growing up was riding our bikes to the store together to go back to school supply shopping! This worked for us for a while until we got older and needed more stuff, so we eventually had to drive. We always had so much fun though and made a stop at Braum’s when we were finished. I also loved going back to school shopping with my Mamaw every year. She bought us some of the essentials before school started. We always went to an outlet mall near her, and we always got a Cinnabon cinnamon roll in the food court!

  • Jill Waters August 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Shay, check out the blog Dixie Delights for back to school ideas… This Mama completely amazes me! She plans extra special events for her boys for every holiday, back to school, etc. I always look to her as a resource for teacher gifts, etc. and one of my favorites…
    Hope the kids have a great school year!!!

    • Jan M August 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      I agree about Dixie Delights’ ideas!

  • Laura Fredlund August 16, 2016 at 8:39 am

    We basically have the same traditions 🙂 except our breakfast is bacon or sausage, eggs , toast and OJ. We take pictures by a tree in our front yard. We live near the school, so we walk over as a family. My kiddos love banana bread as an after school snack, but I plan on trying out your no bake cookies!

  • Elizabeth Cisneros August 16, 2016 at 9:02 am

    The weekend before school starts, we have a back to school “feast.” The back to school kid gets to select the menu. We have a few little gifts (fun school supplies usually, books, cute glasses case, fun jewelry). We talk about goals for the year and have a prayer for the school year.

    On the first day of school, we do the obligatory pics with a cute sign, with backpack, and at school. Our school always does a cute banner where everyone takes a pic – kind of like a step and repeat. We go as a family for the short day to meet the teacher and see friends.

    Because the first day is just a meet the teacher and they only stay an hour or two, we make the rest of the day a fun day, though what that means has changed each year. This year, we’re going to see a movie in the afternoon.

  • Sara August 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Love the green pancake tradition! Fun idea! I love Kensington and Ashby’s bows! Where do you get them? Thanks, and Happy (almost) first day of school!

    • Jenn August 16, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      She gets them from One Stop Bow Shop = I just received my order today and they are so precious! Definitely recommend!

  • Rebecca Jo August 16, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Our school has been going for a month now. I just cant believe its that time of year again.
    Fall & the holidays are just around the corner.
    Cant wait to see the 1st day pics 🙂

  • Michelle N. August 16, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Not only will they not let you take the picture of their backpacks when they are 17, they won’t let you buy them at PB either. My 14 year old son is carrying a plain ole boring black Nike and his athletic bag is a red UA. Sigh.

  • Angela Ellingson August 16, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Love these ideas! My oldest will just be a kindergartner this fall so I would love to incorporate some of these as we start her first school year!

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt August 16, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I can’t wait to celebrate school starting when I have children! My mom always made it so fun (probably to get my sister and I excited), and you make it fun too! I would like to start a tradition of listing predictions for the beginning of the school year. Like ask your kids what they think they will learn about in that particular grade and then check it at the end of the year!

  • Connie August 16, 2016 at 10:40 am

    They never get too old for 1st day of school pics! Last year my youngest (26 yrs.) started his first day as a university professor and since I wasn’t there I requested a picture from him. Happy to say he indulged his Mom with a text and even commented that he probably should have gotten a haircut!

  • Shana August 16, 2016 at 11:33 am

    We have always bought a new backpack every year…that’s one of my daughter’s favorite things about school shopping, picking out the perfect backpack! She’s now going into her Junior year of high school and the backpack is still her favorite purchase! 🙂 lol New year, deserves new shoes and a backpack!

  • Liz August 16, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Love those ideas. Mine barely let me now take a first day of school pic much less their backpacks. But we do get new backpacks and lunch boxes each year. Since being in a school with uniforms it is nice to see the change in just themselves and not their clothes too. We get ice cream after school. Then homework. ;).

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World August 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I love that you have their favorite cookie waiting for them when they get home… that is such a special touch. And we love PB backpacks as well!! We’re on our second year of them!

  • Ann Marie August 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Such fun ideas!!! The girls helped pick out back to school goodies for their teachers! LOVE all these ideas! I’m not ready for summer to be over yet! ;/

  • Olivia Snyder August 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    🙂 Clicked on your Etsy link and one of my signs popped up in the search results 🙂 Back to school signs are my favorite. Reading these comments for ideas next year when my firstborn goes to Kinder!!!

  • Michal sparks August 16, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    My youngest, daughter, just graduated from high school this past June. For her and her older brother every first day of school and every last day of school I made a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. Just the one on the back of the Hershey cocoa tin. Best tradition for the whole family!!!!

  • Sarah August 16, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    What wonderful back to school traditions! The first day pictures will be so fun for your kiddos to look back on later! My parents took my picture from preschool all the way to my first day of work earlier this year after college graduation! Reading “The Kissing Hand” was a fun elementary school first day “eve” memory, too!

  • Megan August 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Love reading your traditions and all the comments too!! Only 2 more years until we have a kinder kiddo. Time needs to slow down!!!!

  • alyssa August 16, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    The day before school starts, we always have a special end of summer lunch. They choose their breakfast on the first day and then head out front for pics in front of our picket fence. BTW, they are going into 7th and 12th grades this year and they still pose with their backpacks! And yes, PB backpacks and lunchboxes are the best! After school, we head to the DQ for a special treat.

  • Sara Floyd August 16, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    We started the tradition of a Shültute (pronounced Shull-to-Tay) this year and with a name like that, it would be perfect for the Shull family! It’s basically a large school cone filled with school related gifts. The kids LOVED it! And I enjoyed making a DIY version for each of them. I posted it on Instagram and will tag you on it now. (If anyone else is interested in seeing them, my insta name is sfloyd3 but you’d have to scroll back 10-15 pics on my feed probably.) Another tradition that we do is tiny red, Sharpie hearts inside all of our hands on the first day. It is supposed to remind them that we love them and are thinking of them and the one on my hand reminds me to pray for them each time I see it throughout the day. My husband does the same while he’s at work. (This tradition came from the children’s book a The Kissing Hand, I think.) Lastly, I always decorate their breakfast table … also on Instagram. Good luck transitioning over. This year, I’m printing some small size favorite photos of our summer adventures to use as lunchbox notes.

  • Sharon Krushcen August 17, 2016 at 12:50 am

    We have a lot of the same traditions and a few more here…

  • Nicole August 17, 2016 at 5:21 am

    Have you tried the pottery barn bento lunch containers?! I was curious as to how they hold up/hold enough food…

  • Susan August 17, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Do you put anything in Kensington’s hair before the curlers? It curls so well and looks beautiful! Your kids are the cutest, love reading your blog daily.

  • Emily Sarmiento August 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    We have five children ranging from 28 down to 16. I only have one left in school .. she is currently a junior in high school. One of our favorite back to school traditions was signing a JOHN HANCOCK PAPER. You are probably asking what in the world is that? 🙂 When each child started kindergarten I would take a piece of notebook paper and write or example: Jordan’s John Hancock Paper.
    On the first line I would date it and then put the grade they were in and then they would print or write in cursive their first and last name.
    It was fun to pull out each one of their papers each year to see how their signatures had changed throughout the years. We still have all their papers that have all 13 of their signatures on it from Kinder through their Senior year in high school. For the ones who have graduated I have placed their paper in the memory box and have it ready to give to them after they get married.

  • Sheri August 17, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Just a note about the First Day of School cookies. I did that for my kids from Kindergarten through High School. (Chocolate Chip cookies in our household.) Then sent them off with a batch each new year at college. Then sent them off with a batch when they moved to a different state to start a new job. And now send a batch in the fall as a “happy new year of not-being-in-school” tradition. They love it. So keep some of those traditions going, even when they are grown and out of the house. It will bring a smile to their faces as they remember and cherish those traditions!

  • Lizzie Simantz August 18, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Your traditions are so fun! We do the same, new backpack and take the annual first day of school picture. This year I want to start a dinner the night before of my sons choice (the only one in grade school) and then having his favorite treat for after school snack sounds so fun!

  • Hollie August 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    We do all of those same ones too! The night before school starts we try to have a back to school dinner with their favorite foods. Then we have a little family night discussing goals for the next school year, a special family prayer and we read the book The Kissing Hand. It’s the cutest story!

  • Liz Buganski August 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    No kids here… but when my brother, sister and I were in school we would get to put on a new outfit of new school clothes down to the socks and my parents would take us out to dinner in our new duds. We would talk about summer and the new school year. Memories that are very special to us now as adults! Plus who doesn’t like testing out new shoes before the first day 🙂