Back-to-School Party

Maybe your child has an end-of-summer birthday. Or, why not treat back-to-school time itself like a holiday? Either way, these ideas will ring your child's bell.

In addition to inviting friends and neighbors, consider also inviting a few of the kids who will be in your child's classroom this year, to help them get acquainted. You might even ask the guests to wear their new school clothes and to bring something from the previous school year to share.

These ideas will help you set an appropriately themed, yet not-too-serious, table for the party feast:

Storybook Place Mats

What You Need:

Set a fun and personalized party table.
  • 18x12-inch sheet of storybook-ruled newsprint
  • 18x12-inch sheet of construction paper
  • 42-inch-long shoelace
  • Paper punch


1. Fold construction paper in half. Round corners.

2. Trim newsprint to measure 10-1/2x16-1/2 inches. Fold in half.

3. Slip folded newsprint, centered, between folded construction paper.

4. Punch five holes, equally spaced, 1/2 inch from the folded edge.

5. Open up pages. Lace together as you would lace a shoe.

6. Allow children to write and illustrate their own stories.

Apple Place Cards

What You Need:

Apple Place Card and Slate Centerpiece
  • Tracing paper and pencil
  • Red and green construction paper
  • Permanent black marker


1. Download the free patterns for this project. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.) Trace patterns onto a piece of tracing paper.

Apple Place Card patterns

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Place each pattern along the fold of a folded piece of construction paper and trace.

3. Cut out and unfold to form full shape. Cut slit between leaves.

4. Print child's name on leaf.

5. Lay apples flat and stack three together. Machine-sew up the center.

6. Open apple sections so it stands.

7. Slip leaves on top.

Slate Centerpiece

What You Need:

Apple Place Card and Slate Centerpiece
  • Pencil
  • Fabric paint pens
  • Small chalkboard


1. Print alphabet around edge of chalkboard using a pencil.

2. Draw over letters with paint pens.

3. Write a note on the chalkboard, if desired.

Napkin Pocket Favor

What You Need:

Fill a napkin with school supplies.
  • Large paper dinner napkins
  • Large, colored paper clips
  • Box of crayons and other favors such as pencils, scissors, small rulers, chalk, erasers, and stickers


1. Place napkin on the diagonal. Lay crayon box in the center.

2. Fold bottom napkin corner up.

3. Fold side corners to the center.

4. Fasten together with a paper clip.

5. Slip additional favors inside the pocket.

Colorful Paper Cups

What You Need:

What to serve? Something bright, of course!
  • Paper cups (one per guest)
  • 3 crayons per cup
  • Hot glue or nontoxic crafts glue
  • Permanent marker (optional)


1. Glue three crayons, side by side, to front of a cup.

2. If desired, write each guest's name on the other side of the cup.

Back-to-School Bags

What You Need:

Fill a goodie bag with munchies and supplies.
  • Small yellow bags
  • Ruler
  • Black permanent marker
  • Number stickers or paint pen
  • Pencil
  • Paper punch
  • Construction paper
  • Treats such as jelly beans, wrapped candies, gum, peanuts, and raisins
  • Small school supplies such as erasers, pencil sharpeners, or pens


1. Using marker and ruler, draw a 1-1/4-inch-wide ruler across the bottom of the bag.

2. Use number stickers or paint pen to mark the inches.

3. Print BACK TO SCHOOL across the top of ruler.

4. Cut banner from construction paper. Punch holes, then add school name.

5. Fill bag with treats. Fold top of bag over twice.

6. Punch two large holes in bag and slip pencil through the holes.

7. Slide banner onto pencil.

Keep things light for this party theme; it might sound fun to you to have kids work on math problems or answer questions, but it may not be fun for them!

Some ideas:

  • Work on arts and crafts projects. Painting, coloring, and sculpting with clay are reminders of the fun classes school days bring.
  • Play classic recess games like tag and jump rope.
  • Offer flash cards, specialty notebooks, and other items as prizes.


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