Back to School Week

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180 days after COVID-19 upended everything, Travis walked back into a school building this week. Ahead of the first day, we brainstormed a list of goals for the first week. Then we added in a few fun activities (and eats!) each day to make the week feel truly special.


  • To make a new friend
  • To make a fresh start/improvement
  • To start a new activity
  • To learn something new

Meanwhile, each day we tried to include something fun to eat, something to do, and something to make. Our week started on Tuesday, so here is how the four days went down.

Day 1

To eat: An A is for Apple Smoothie!

To do: Have a treasure hunt! I scattered school supplies (new pencils, new highlighters) as well as candy (Twizzlers) around the apartment, and Travis got to find them the moment he woke up. It made it feel almost like Christmas!

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To make: A self-portrait! Travis drew a very small version of himself, which wasn’t exactly what I was imagining. But oh well, the idea is to see where your child is at with regards to art, here in September. It will be interesting to repeat this activity on the last day of school!

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Day 2

To eat: Double-Pumpkin Muffins!

To do: Receive a schultute. I put together a simplified version of this German tradition by wrapping a piece of sturdy decorative paper into a cone. Tape shut and then trim the edge so the top rim is an even circle. Stuff with tissue paper, and then with school treats.

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We included supplies he’ll need (crayons, pencils), COVID-era extras (his favorite mask, hand sanitizers), and treats – Twizzlers that is!

To make: Decorate a chalkboard with school-themed stickers. Write in your child’s new grade, and pose for pictures of course!

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Day 3

To eat: A special snack! Decorate your child’s snack bag with stickers from a favorite show or movie. Don’t forget to add a little note of encouragement.

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To do: Make it Backwards Day! Whether you extend this theme all day long (like wearing clothing backwards or doing a silly activity backwards) or just add a few backwards points here and there, it’s a great way to keep kids positive and playful mid-way through the week. To wit, Travis was about to turn grumpy about school until I told him we were having dinner for breakfast and vice versa. He started the day with a favorite meal: hot dogs!

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To make: A vision board! Flip through magazines and have your child cut out pictures that provide inspiration or goals for the year ahead. We were a touch limited with only a few doll catalogs on hand, but actually this worked out well. Travis selected images to go with: making new friends, having his own locker, playing sports, and taking care for our cat. Your child could also draw their goals if you don’t want to be limited by magazines.

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Day 4

To eat: Fruit Faces! This can be as simple as banana slice eyes and an apple wedge smile on a piece of toast, but it’s sure to make kids wake with a smile even after a groggy start.

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To do: Make it Spirit Day! Even if no one else in school is doing so, get rah rah and show school spirit by dressing in school colors.

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To make: Start a video! Capture these moments of first-week-back excitement with little video clips. You can then take several mini clips and edit them together into one longer video, if you have access to the right app or software.


At the end of the week, I checked in with him on his goals.

Regarding a new friend, he’s already bonded further with a girl he only knew from the cafeteria last year, who is now a classmate.

For a fresh start, he’s improved on his Zoom behavior markedly!

For a new activity, he’s all signed up to join our local Cub Scouts.

For learning something new, the class has already learned a new math game.

Happy Back to School!

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