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Simple Back-to-School Ideas

Make this the best school year yet with these more than 90 simple back-to-school ideas for busy families. Tips include first day of school ideas, back-to-school organization, parenting tips for homework and cyber safety, printables, crafts, busy school day recipes and teacher appreciate gifts. There’s something for everyone in this compilation of the best back-to-school tips.

Collage of back-to-school organizing, crafts and recipes.

As a mom of three and a parent educator, I’m familiar with the challenges parents and children face going back to school. I’ve collected all the tried and true tips I’ve shared over the years and have them all right here in one spot for you. 

Simple Back-to-School Ideas

Back-to-school Clothes

pile of folded boys t-shirts, pants, and socks making up different outfits.

Organizing Back-to-School Kids’ Clothing – Use this idea to organize your children’s clothing in just minutes with supplies you already have.

Organize Clothes for Back-to-School – Set up a no-cost system to organize your children’s clothes.

How to Make Shoe Shopping Fun for Kids – Back-to-school shoe shopping is something kids and parents both dread but has to be done. These simple tips will make the experience fun for your children and parents.

How to Save on School Clothes – Back-to-school clothes don’t have to be expensive when you know these tips on how to save.

First Day of School

First Day of School Signs – Use these free printable signs in 6 different designs and 2 sized to personalize your first day of school photos.

First day of school get to know you worksheets with different clipart like apples and books.

First Day of School Scavenger Hunt – This free printable makes the first day of school fun and can allay anxiety about the first day. 

Back-to-School Morning Routine

two morning routine print-outs with graphic tape borders and one without and blue pen on it.

Back-to-School Morning Routine Printables – Free printables for both pre-readers and readers to help you teach responsibility and independence while establishing a morning routine for your child. 

Morning Routine for School – 18 tips for establishing a morning routine for school that makes your mornings run more smoothly and teach your child life skills and independence. 

Morning Routine Chart– 10 free printable morning routine charts from experienced parenting bloggers.

Organizing for School

7 Tips for Back-to-School Organization – Organized homework supplies make homework time less stressful and more successful. 

clear plastic boxes and Ziploc bags labeled with different titles like flash cards and homework supplies.

Free Back-to-School Organization – You don’t have to spend money to get organized for school.

Tips for Organizing School Mornings – Start school days off right with these simple tips. 

Stay Organized This School Year – A few simple steps will help you stay organized all year long.

Organized Lunchbox Drawer that’s Earth-Friendly – Organize your school lunch supplies with these earth-friendly tips.

Getting Ready for School – Lunch Boxes – Make your school mornings less stressful by organizing your lunchbox supplies.

Organizing Printables

blue backpack filled with school supplies with stack of notebooks and apple in front of chalkboard.

Backpack Checklist – Free printable checklists to teach your child responsibility and independence. The Take to School Checklists makes sure your child packs all necessary items every morning to go to school. The Bring Home Checklist makes sure there are no more left-at-school items that create a crisis for mom or dad. 

Back-to-School Lunch Box Planner – A free printable to help you plan a month’s worth of lunches to save you time and money and make sure your child has a healthy lunch each day. 

Back-to-School Calendar for Decluttering – A free printable calendar that will help you prepare for school by decluttering now by spending just a little time each day for a month.

Kids’ Lunch Checklist – Free Printable – Children can learn life skills and independence using this checklist to make their own school lunches.


Tips to Help with Homework without Doing It for Them – Our children often need our assistance with homework assignments, but it’s important that we don’t just take over and do their homework. As a parent educator, I’ve taught hundreds of parents in parenting classes how to help their children with homework.

Encourage After-School Reading – A love of reading is foundational for academic success and lifelong learning. Make reading fun to encourage learning this key skill. 

team of young boys working on engineering project in a library.

Encourage Lifelong Learning in STEM – Careers in science, technology, engineering and math are well paying and have many unfilled needs. These subjects can be fascinating for students when STEM learning is encouraged. 

Setting Boundaries for Technology – How do you make sure your children are safely using technology as it is such an integral part of school learning now? These tips from my experience as a mom and parent educator will help you set appropriate boundaries.

Cyber Safety Tips – You wouldn’t just toss the car keys to your child without training and safety guidelines. Don’t do the same when you give your children access to a smart phone, tablet or computer.

Teaching Responsible Cell Phone Use – Children are being given cell phones at younger and younger ages. It’s critical to teach and remind children of all ages how to use cell phones responsibly. 

Teaching Digital Responsiblity

Teach Your Child Not to Use Hurtful Slang – Whether at school or out, children can use hurtful words that negatively impact others. Often children don’t fully understand the slang words that they use. Teach your children not to use slang that hurts other people.

Tips for Talking with Your Teen – It can be challenging to address sensitive issues with your teenager, but it’s important to have those talks. As a parent educator and mom of three, these are tips that help you really connect with your teen

Breakfast Recipes

close up of glass with frothy yellow drink and piece of pineapple on edge of glass.

Pineapple Easy Breakfast Smoothie – A delicious and easy-to-make smoothie that is perfect for a school day breakfast.

Chocolate Plus Breakfast Smoothie – Start the busy school day with a chocolaty smoothie that is quick to make. 

Best Blueberry Pound Cake – Make this moist, delicious pound cake on the weekend and freeze individual pieces that you can serve each morning.

Cinnamon Donut Muffins – Warning! – these donut muffins are addictive. 

Snack Recipes

Clean Eating Granola Bars – Provide delicious school snacks that are made with clean eating ingredients. 

Cereal Snack Mix Recipe – This cereal snack mix satisfies the after-school munchies every time. 

kids snacks on 4 different plates with fruit, vegetables, fish crackers and cheese.

Fun Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves – Encourage independence and food creativity with this fun snack.

Easy Protein Zucchini Bread – Increase the protein and taste value of your afternoon snack.

Quick and Easy Apple Pie Bites – Apples and school go hand-in-hand. These mini apple pie bites are easy to make for a fresh from the oven snack.

Best Oatmeal Raspberry Bars – These are nostalgically delicious snacks that both children and adults love.

Easy Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves – Fruit Tacos – Encourage independence by allowing your children to make their own after-school snack with mom-approved ingredients. 

Crunchy Ice Cream Topping – A bowl of ice cream is an even better treat when you add this delicious topping. 

Warm Seasoned Pecans – Enjoy this lightly spicy snack that is a go to recipe.

Chili Mixed Nuts Recipe – Chili flavored mixed nuts are a snack perfect for the after-school munchies.

Best Oatmeal Fudge Bars Ever – A hearty cookie bar with a melt-in-your-mouth fudge filling. 

Oreo Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookies – Oreo cookie + chocolate chip cookie = this ah-mazing cookie combo.

Girl Scout Thin Mint Surprise Cookie – Make the beloved mint cookie even better by wrapping it in a chocolate chip cookie. 

three cookies with one broken open to show Rolo candy inside.

Rolo Pretzel Surprise Cookies – A cookie that combines the best of sweet and salty.

Red, White & Blue Snack – It can be easy to make a healthy snack that is quick to make and pretty, too. 

School Night Dinner Recipes

Busy Family Meals

Slow Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice – A hearty recipe that takes just minutes to make and is perfect to make on a hectic day. 

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Barbeque Pork – Slow cooker recipes are a lifesaver on a busy school night. This is one my family’s favorites.

Back-to-School Crafts

Upcycled Back-to-School Craft

Back-to-School Duck Tape Superhero Envelope

Encourage After-School Reading with a DIY Bookmark

Quick DIY School Supplies

DIY Captain America Notebook

pig and cow felt book hugger bookmark on black and yellow book covers.

Farm Animal Book Hugger Bookmarks

Felt Flower Book Hugger Bookmarks

DIY Kid’s Placemat

Kids’ Cloth Napkins for Lunch Box

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

small teacher gifts wrapped in handmade sheet music, chalkboard, and baseball themed paper.

DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts – This craft idea is one that your child can help make and can be personalized for teachers and coaches.

Small Gift Idea – A fun paper craft that makes a sweet personalized gift

Teacher Appreciate Gift Note Cube – A useful and cute gift for your teacher’s gift. 

Teacher Appreciation Gift – What in the World to Get? – I was at odds about what to give my son’s teacher as a gift. This is my solution that his teacher appreciated.

DIY Dominoes – Make this upcycled craft to give as a classroom gift.

Upcycled Back-to-School Craft – A charming upcycled craft that also makes a delightful gift.

three white mugs with lots of small red sharpie dots making initials.

Easy Sharpie Dot Mug & Sharpie Dotted Cup – School-aged children can make this personalized coffee mug or cup themselves (and it looks sophisticated enough to make an appreciated gift). 

Giant Clothespin Gift Idea – This is a fun desk organizing gift that is easy to personalize.

Small Gift Idea – You can make these small gifts in bulk to give to a multitude of school staff. 

DIY Computer Diskette Pencil Cup – This fun pencil cup uses upcycled old fashioned computer diskettes to create a novel desk organizer.

Easy DIY Notepad – This notepad is easy for children to make as a personal handmade gift.

DIY Upcycled Cup Sleeve – This cute cup sleeve is easy to make and the perfect compliment to a coffee store gift card.

Felt Flower Book Hugger Bookmark – Make a pretty book mark for your teacher or make a bunch for your teacher’s classroom.

Pin for later so you can always easily find these more than 90 simple back to school ideas. 

collage of simple back to school ideas like teacher gifts or how to pack a lunch box.