The days are getting shorter, the Staples parking lot is impossible to get in and out of, and you’re buying ingredients for lunch in bulk - back to school season is officially upon us! Get your kids in the school spirit by throwing the Ultimate Back to School Party! 

Invite Inspiration Goodbye summer, hello school! Let guests know what kind of party you’re planning without having to read the invitation! Draw inspiration from chalk boards, lined paper, and crayons. If you want to make the invites totally authentic, have your little one(s) write and color the invites themselves! For a more polished look, see our Pinterest Board for tons of free printable invites!

Decor The etup and decorations for this party should be particularly simple as most supplies are already in your house! Show your guests your commitment to the theme by creating a “Back to School” sign on paper bags (this makes for a great photo opp). To tie-in even more of the theme, consider using mini chalk boards to label activities and food tables! Decorations are also the perfect opportunity to incorporate the school colors and mascot (these are sure to get them back in the school spirit!). Check out more decoration inspiration on our pinterest board.

Food There is nothing better than a finger food party, and how fitting for a back to school bash! Get the kiddos excited for back-to-school lunches by putting out a variety of their favorite foods. This menu can include foods like pizza bagels, grilled cheese roll ups & tomato soup, and chicken nuggets & fries! Don’t forget the cookie and milk station for dessert! If you want to add a sentimental touch, bring in an ice cream truck for “the last taste of summer”.

Entertainment, Activities & Extras The kids are having so much fun in the summer, they don’t want to see it come to an end. This epic back-to-school party will remind them that school is fun too! Set up multiple stations that are based off of all the fun school has to offer! Ring a bell when it’s time to switch activities, and keep the fun going all day long. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Have guests bring a book (or more), that they have outgrown in the past year to the party. Set up a Book Swap Station where children can select an exciting new book to go home with! To make this station extra fun, put out "book worms" for snacking and create a make your own bookmark station. The little tykes will be prepared with everything they need to enjoy their new read!
  2. What’s more reminiscent of school than chalk? If you don’t mind mini picassos decorating your house, then let the guests loose in the driveway to draw! If you want the kids to create personalized, transportable pieces, consider purchasing cheap clipboards and covering the front in chalkboard paint. The kids can draw, organize, and write on their portable “paper” without making a mess!
  3. What are the odds that everyone at your party will know each other? With family friends, relatives, neighbors, and classroom buddies in attendance, save time on the formal introductions, and set up a make your own name tag station! With tons of printable name tag templates online, you can also pre-write each child’s name so no one gets left out. Put put out glitter, markers, and stickers on a table and the kids will be making new friends before you know it.
  4. Make a “snack time” pit stop and incorporate school time favorites by crafting a station where kids can bob for apples and fish for a donuts on a string. Check out our pinterest board for apple bobbing variation fitting for any age group.
  5. For the last station, host a freeze dance party or hire a kid friendly DJ to run the show. Play some pump up songs and have the guests show off their best moves. When the music stops, the kids have to freeze in whatever pose they are in. Make it fun to get “out” by having the goodie bag station nearby where the kids can grab their treats and get ready for pick up!

If you want to have some less structured activities, consider hiring some party professional vendors such as a bounce house, petting zoo, magician, costumed character, or interactive DJ! (all available on GigKids!)

Goodie Bag Guide As a kid, getting a goodie bag is one of the best parts of going to a party. For this back-to-school theme, include sunglasses with a tag that says “my future’s so bright I have to wear shades.” For some sweet treats, add smarties candies and tootsie rolls that have tags that say “I’m a smartie” and “honor roll”, as well as Starbursts with the tag “you’re a star.” Put pencils in the bag that say “you’re so sharp” and don't forget a “My first day of ___ grade sign” for first day of school! Check out our Pinterest Board for even more goodie bag inspiration.

With these tips and tricks for the Ultimate Back to School Party, you're sure to be “parent of the year” before the year has even officially started! Comment below with some of your Back-to-school party ideas - we'd love to hear from you.