Help your child get ready for the new school year by hosting a back to school party! This is a great way for children to reconnect with school friends, or celebrate the end of summer with their neighbors. Our Back to School Ideas include suggestions for cute invitations and party games that will help your child say goodbye to summer vacation.
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Planning & Invitations
What Do I Need for the Party?
In addition to basic party supplies, like plates, cups, napkins, and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your Back-to-School party:
- A School-Related Movie (Examples: High School Musical [G], Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone [PG], School of Rock [PG-13], Akeelah and the Bee [PG])
- A karaoke machine
- A globe and maps
- A chalkboard and chalk
- Lunch boxes
Make your guests excited for the beginning of the school year by sending them fun and unique personalized birthday invitations or blank invitations to your back to school party! We also have some great ideas for making your own back-to-school party invitations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Punch a hole in one corner of a card-style invitation and attach it to one of our school themed personalized party supplies with>curling ribbon.
- Seal your back-to-school party envelopes with a personalized sticker printed with the party details or a fun birthday message.
- Print your party details on colored paper and glue it to one side of a flash card. On the other side, write an equation in large print, i.e. 4 + 4 = 8.
- Design each invitation to resemble a report card. Include fun subjects and grades, like “Having Fun – A+”, “Being a Great Friend – A+”, “Soaking Up Summer Sun – A+”, Being Excited About School – B”, “Attending [child’s name]’s Party – ?” Write your party details underneath the grades.
- Staple several pieces of paper together along the left side and write “[child’s name]’s Back to School Party Text Book” on the front. Write one detail about the party on each ‘page’ in the book.
- Write your party details on the side of a brown paper lunch bag. Include an apple and some stickers in the bag and hand deliver them to your guests.
- Ask your guests to arrive to the back-to-school party dressed as what they want to be when they grow up as a fun reminder of what going to school can lead to!
- Include creative wording for your party details, such as:Summer was fun,
But school is great!
It’s a back to school bash,
So don’t be late!
While invitations give the first impression of your party, decorations keep that excitement high! You can either decorate to fit a chosen theme (see our themed ideas for suggestions), or decorate in a general school theme using your child’s school colors. Here are some suggestions:
- Hang a large world map on one wall of the party area. Cut a star out of gold paper and tack it to the state you live in, to show the children where they are in relation to the rest of the world.
- Hang a banner on your front door that says “Last Days of Summer – Let’s Party!”. See our selection of Personalized Banners for inspiration!
- Cut a large pencil and ruler out of cardboard and prop them up in one corner of the party area.
- Create a school-inspired centerpiece by stacking books in the center of the table and topping it with an apple. Or, use a tabletop globe as your centerpiece.
- Ask each child to send you a school picture of themselves before the party. Make a collage of all the pictures and display it prominently in the party area.
- Hang a chalkboard on one wall of the party area and write equations on it. While you are waiting for everyone to arrive, let your guests try their hand at solving the equations.
- Ask an older child or one of your guest’s parents to dress as a teacher and make balloon animals for the children. Use one of our easy Balloon Kits that include an instruction book, balloons, and balloon inflator.
Get creative with your party food by serving theme-specific treats. For a Back to School Party, consider the following ideas:
- Create a menu inspired by school lunches. Set out a tray of sandwiches cut in half on the diagonal along with string cheese, pudding cups, applesauce cups, grapes, baby carrots with ranch dip, and cookies. You could even pack the food in paper lunch bags and lay out some blankets outdoors where your guests can sit and eat.
- Serve cartons of regular and chocolate milk with fun silly straws.
- Serve french fries and popcorn in stadium cups. Set out toppings for the popcorn such as cheese powder, cinnamon and sugar, chocolate sprinkles, and sea salt.
- Use cookie cutters in school-themed shapes (school bus, megaphone, apple) to cut out shapes in sliced cheese and deli meat. Serve with crackers.
- Make a school bus appetizer! Hollow out a loaf of bread and fill it with your favorite dip. Place two cucumber slices on each side for the wheels. Cut out a line of windows above the wheels, and cut a section out of the front for the bus’s windshield.
- As an alternative to cake, set up an ice cream sundae bar. You’ll need chocolate and vanilla ice cream, dishes or cones, and syrups like hot fudge and butterscotch. Set out bowls of sprinkles, sliced fruit, gummy candies, and chocolate chips. Don’t forget the whipped cream and cherries to top it all off!
Back to School Pencil Cake Instructions
Use the instructions and design below to create a pencil-shaped cake!
- First, cut a 9″ x 13″ cake in half lengthwise.
- Place the pieces end to end to form the pencil shape.
- Cut the edges from one end to look like a pencil tip.
- Then, cover with yellow frosting and use a tube of black decorator icing to draw on the details.
Party Favor Ideas
Send your guests home with party favors that they can actually use when they go back to school.
- Fill a small plastic craft box or a lunch box with pencil sets, fun erasers, crayons, and markers.
- Personalized coloring books
- Our bag tags and zipper pulls are perfect for back packs or sports bags, and can be personalized with each guest’s name.
- You may also want to browse our convenient complete party favor sets.
Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
- Back to School Party Favors: Includes stationary, pencils, notepads and other school supplies items.
- Personalized Items: Check out our exclusive personalized items including invitations, bookmarks, stickers, and more!
- Birthday Party Decorating Ideas: This guide will tell you how to decorate for your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table, and how to make your own party decorations.
- Parties Under $100: Use this guide to celebrate in style without breaking the bank!
- Party Budget Estimator: Download this guide to help budget your expenses.
- More Birthday Theme Ideas: Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child’s next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.
Games and Activities
Match 5 in a row to win school bingo!
Let the children design their own pencil holder using empty cans and colored paper.
Let kids decorate clean pizza boxes to make a storage place for their special treasures.
First the children fold and decorate paper airplanes. Then watch them fly!
Capture the opposing team’s flag and carry it back to home territory.
For this outdoor game, children form two lines and try to break through the other team’s line.
Two players use water guns or hoses to spray their beach balls toward each other’s goal lines.
Girls can create lovely, colorful barrettes using balloons and shoelaces.
Girls will have fun creating their own personal flower bookmarks.
This activity uses up excess energy, and is a lot of fun, too!
Partygoers can make edible bracelets out of licorice and candy with this fun food craft.
A great way to keep your guests busy as they wait for everyone to arrive.