As summer draws to a close, the anticipation of a new school year brings excitement and apprehension for our preschoolers and kindergarteners. New schools, new friends, and new routines are going to take some getting used to. It’s a great time to do some activities together to make the weeks before the new school year memorable and soothe any fears your child may have. We’ve created a special free printable back to school bucket list to help. From drawing lunch box notes to reading a favorite book together, let’s make this milestone more fun for you and your child. And as always, help make it less stressful!

variety of crayons.

Back to school bucket list for preschoolers and kindergarteners

Pick out school supplies

  • My assistant is starting Kindergarten this year, and he is super excited to finally have a big kid backpack. We made our Target trip early, while everything was fully stocked and there was no pressure to hurry up and buy something because school starts in a couple days. It was so relaxed and fun. He loved all of it; he also really enjoyed picking out his backpack, and holding the kindergarten supply list / checking everything off as we put it in the cart.
  • If you’re feeling motivated, put aside a couple extra items that you’ll probably need later in the year. Like a plain white shirt for tie dyeing, or 100th Day of School coloring pages.

Create a cozy reading / homework space at home

  • Set up a quiet and comfortable area for reading. Add some some of these rhyming picture books to your shelf.

Visit the library

  • Stop by your local children’s library and pick up a schedule for their upcoming after school programs. Kids can make crafts, watch a movie, or enjoy other fun (and free!) events.

Read The Kissing Hand

  • When our older kids started Kindergarten, their teachers both read this book to them at orientation. When their nerves got the better of them, we would give them a kissing hand (after kissing Chester Raccoon’s palm, his mother tells him  “Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your chest and think, ‘Mommy loves you.'”) I swear, this totally worked for both of them. And it worked again this year for our youngest.

For more social emotional picture books, check out this list of some of the best feelings books for kids.

Meet the teacher and new friends

  • Attend any orientation or meet and greet events to get familiar with the new class. All About Me preschool worksheets are a fun way to help teachers get to know your child.

Pack some lunch box notes

  • Make a few drawings together on Post Its and add them to your child’s lunch for the first few days for a midday smile. As your child gets further along in school and begins reading, add in some funny lunch jokes!

Practice the any new additions to your morning routine

  • Walk to the bus stop to see how long it will take, practice packing backpacks, and laying out clothes the night before.

First day of school photo

  • Pro tip- take that first day of school photo the day before for a no-stress first morning.

Celebrate the first day!

You did it!

back to school checklist with kawaii book and apple illustrations

Click here to download the back to school bucket list!

Please note: bucket list is in a non-editable pdf file format. For personal, non commercial use only.

More family bucket lists:

Fall family bucket list

Halloween family bucket list


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