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DIY Back To School Party Ideas for 2024

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Get ready to host the ultimate back-to-school party with our creative DIY ideas! From decor to games and snacks, discover inspiration to make this school year kickoff unforgettable.

Back to school sign hanging from chandelier over table with party decorations.

Back-to-school season is upon us, and what better way to kick off the start of a new school year than with a sensational DIY party?

Whether you’re looking to end the summer break with a bang or celebrate the first day of school, these creative party ideas are here to help you set the stage for a memorable event.

From easy and affordable decorations to fun game ideas and delicious snacks, this post is your go-to source for turning an ordinary back-to-school moment into an extraordinary celebration. I can’t wait to help you make this school year kickoff an amazing one!

Back To School Party Decorations

Back to school sign hanging from chandelier.

While researching back to school party theme ideas for this post (aka scrolling through Pinterest), I saw lots of fun, colorful party ideas.

The problem with most of the ideas I saw is that the party supplies came from specialty shops that would take more than a few days to arrive once ordered.

I’m all about supporting small businesses, but if you’re a procrastinator like me and waited until the last minute to put your party together, you’re going to need some supplies you can access quickly!

I also wanted to do this party on a budget. Because I’m a firm believer that making something look fun and beautiful doesn’t have to be expensive.

All it took was a few trips to Hobby Lobby and the dollar store, and some DIY crafts to make my vision into a reality.


I loved all of the adorable party ideas I saw with all of the pink and bright colors, but my older kids are almost out of the rainbow color phase. I didn’t want my son to feel excluded by all of the pink, so I went with neutral black, white, and silver, with a few pops of different colors.

I loved the table runner I found at Hobby Lobby because it reminded me of notebook paper. Another simple idea is to use pages from a book taped together or some brown kraft paper.

I wanted to use some disco balls but opted for some silver vase filler instead. I placed a few Mason jars on the table with different school supplies in them and some homemade first day of school flags (you can get the printable flags below!)

For the place settings, I found some cute star plates and napkins at the dollar store and then got a little notebook with a chalkboard name tag for each of my kids.

RELATED: 60+ Dollar Store Finds That Will Make You A Frugal Shopper

Additional Ideas

A few other ideas for decorating could be to make a balloon garland and throw some confetti in your kids’ school colors if they are all in elementary school or high school.

If you have your party before the school season starts, you can place some of the new school supplies you got for your students on their plates like lunch boxes and pencil pouches, or you could even hang their backpacks from their chairs.

Just be sure to keep the supplies a secret until the party!

Food Ideas

Since my party was for the first day of school, I planned a fun after school snack board for my kids and then just made the dinner I had meal planned earlier in the week.

If you’re throwing a party for lots of little kids before the new year of school, you can serve things like:

Another idea is to plan your party for the morning of the first day and serve fun breakfast foods like:

Younger kids are easily impressed, so whatever themed food you choose to serve I’m sure they will love!

Activity Ideas

Girl climbs through hula hoop obstacle course set up outside while other kids watch.

If you’re hosting a first day of school dinner for your kids, you won’t need many activities besides eating, but if you throw a back to school party for lots of friends, you’ll want things for them to do!

To keep your party guests entertained, try some of these ideas:

  • Decorated Photo Booth. Use a balloon garland or the pencil backdrop shown above to take fun pictures before the coming year. Having students hold the first day of school pennants is a great idea to get their picture instead of rushing the morning of!
  • Pool Party. Grab some fun school-themed inflatables and water balloons and really say goodbye to summer.
  • School Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of school supplies you’ve decorated with and hidden around the party for the kids to find.
  • Track and Field Games. Set up different games like relay races, sprints, and long jump to get the kids ready for P.E. You could even incorporate some of their favorite school games like tag or jump rope.

A back to school party is a fun way to get your kids and their friends excited for the coming year! Especially if you’ve recently moved, throwing a party is a great way for your kids to get to know all of the other elementary students in the neighborhood before school time.

Free Printable

If you’d like to make the same pennants I did, you can grab the printable first day of school signs below. These also double as an easy way to mark your child’s grade level so you can easily differentiate their pictures from year to year.

The black and white signs are available to download right in this post. We’ve included a PDF and JPG file. You may want to do a test print with both options to see which one prints the best. (We found that the JPG file printed clearest and without streaks).

If you’d like to get the fun color signs, enter your email address below and you’ll receive those cute printables in PNG and PDF format.

Want More?

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Your Turn

I hope these back to school party ideas gave you some great inspiration to throw your own party and create some great school traditions!

If you have any other back to school traditions you do with your family, please share them in the comments below.