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Fifteen Back to School Hacks

Back to school has already happened for my area, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still getting in the groove of the school year! Our family tackling the first year of middle school so we’ve got new challenges as well as getting through all the “normal” back to school stuff and needed a few of our tried and true ideas to help us get settled in. From homework stations to lunch box notes, I’ve put together ten back to school hacks that will hopefully make for an easier (or at least more fun) transition!

Lunch box love notes

Many many moons ago, I made this set of lunch box love notes. My daughter LOVED them. Nice to get a quick note from mom in the middle of the day. They’re easy on the printer ink, so you can go crazy with them! Click here to go to the download page.

Here’s another set of lunchbox love notes to download that are a tad more printer ink, but super cute!

Lunch Box Hacks

Some of us aspire to have June Cleaver-worthy lunches packed for our kids on their way out the door. That never really happens in my house, but I have figured out a few hacks to make them think I am putting a lot more effort into lunch than I am. Bento boxes  and a few clever food picks and they believe I am mom of the year. See all the hacks here.

If you’re a little more ambitious that first week of school, you can see a styled bento box here to get some ideas!

Too cool for school Custom clothes

I really laughed when I saw this particular t-shirt, having at least one kid that eeked every spare minute he was allowed out of his gaming system. You can buy this svg on Etsy to DIY a fun shirt for school! Click here.

Equally cute? I’m just here for recess. Click here to purchase on Etsy.

Y’all–I kind of want a pair of these for myself! My 9 and 12 year olds would completely roll their eyes and be embarrassed of me. So I’ll save them for a day when they’ve been embarrasing ME. Click over to The Keeper of the Cheerios to get the full tutorial.

First day of school free printable signs

One of everyone’s favorite first day of school traditions–the first day of school picture. The printable signs are genius on whoever thought them up years ago. I know in a few years I’m not going to remember what grade they were in in which photo, so they’re definitely good advanced planning. The little lady in red in the picture up there is now in 7th (!) grade. You can find the set of signs she’s holding here.

Free printable first day of school sign for mom in a hurry

If you’re terminally a last minute mom, these signs print up REALLY fast. Like when you need them as the kids are walking out the door to the bus. Click here for the set.

Homework stations

As I was looking around at ideas that were helpful for going back to school, I came across a lot of homework stations. Most of these ideas had far better organization skills than I was capable of, and a lot more spare space in their houses than I do. Serious. All the work in those neat little homework corners with charts and files and individual cup holders would be declared federal disaster areas by the end of week 1 at my house. You have my utmost respect if you can manage one of those beautiful nooks! From a more practical perspective, I LOVE and will be making one of these homework caddies like A Bowl Full of Lemons has set up. It’s portable to one of the many tables in our house and takes up a tiny bit of space when not in use.

If you’re taking it up a notch, a rolling work station like this one from Smashed Peas and Carrots would also be great. It’s mobile, so that works well for most families! Having everything they might need to complete homework in one place, always brilliant. It’s never fun hunding the house over for a ruler when you need it.

Cool Customized School Supplies

Every kids wants really neat school supplies. I’m an adult and I STILL want really cool supplies. There are lots of printables out there to make this happen for you–Like this homework binder set from I Heart Naptime. Print and insert into boring binder to make awesomeness for your kid.

Lia Griffith has a great set of free labels for the younger crowd that you can customize yourself. Just print to full sheet label paper to use!

First day of School teacher gifts

On the first day of school, I like to send a small gift into the teacher. Nothing big, and I firmly believe consumable is best for these teachers that touch hundreds of kids over their careers. A small cookie jar is perfect! Find the printables for this jar here.

Making the caramel from scratch is a little time consuming, but this apple and caramel dip was wildly appreciated by teachers when we gave it! Get the recipe and the printable teacher appreciation tag here.

Coffee mugs are somewhat on the spectrum of things teachers probably don’t want too many of, but the coffee inside is not! Get the printable tag to add to your teacher coffee cup gift here.

Here’s another super cute DIY mug idea from Michelle’s Party Plan-It.

Artsy Fartsy Mama has a darling pencil idea that isn’t consumable–but still a great gift!

Easy DIY for first day of school treat in the German tradition--a Schultüte made in miniature filled with fun back to school supplies

First day of school gifts for kids

I’m not really big on special gifts for the kids going back to school, but I do like the German tradition of the schultute. It’s pretty much a big cone filled with fun school supplies and maybe a piece of candy or two. If you’d like to read more or see how they’re made, click here!

Best of luck during back to school, y’all! Hope these back to school hacks are helpful!

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party and craft ideas. You can also buy birthday party supplies, printables and accessories from the Frog Prince Paperie Etsy shop.