mom dropping off daughter at bus stop

After a summer full of sun, games, and sleeping, the last phrase the kids want to hear is "back to school." But fear not, parents, because with a few tricks and some homemade fun, you can make the first day of school a party.

So fire up the DIY skills and have the kids look forward to returning to class (yes, it's possible). Whether it's a night-before activity or a little thoughtful gesture you can do on the day of, your kids will be pumped to get back on that school bus. Below, we've included a list of 25 ways parents can give their kids the absolute best first day of school, so go ahead and start planning for that fateful day. 

More from The Stir12 Creative Ways to Commemorate the First Day of School (PHOTOS)

1. Welcome the Magic School Bus

Plan a visit from the "Magic School Bus"! When the kids are otherwise engaged, the magical school bus arrives at your doorstep, leaves a large brown paper bag full of goodies, rings the doorbell, and mysteriously disappears. Your kids are left with a bag filled with snacks and miscellaneous school supplies.

2. Have a Fashion Show

Have a fashion show to show off all the new "back to school" clothes you've bought. Plus, use this as a way to pick the perfect first day of school outfit.

3. Make a Time Capsule

Put together a time capsule of all your child's favorite things at the moment. Then, when you uncover it at the end of the year, you can see just how much has changed.

4. Practice the Teacher's Name

If your child's teacher has an especially unique name, take the time to practice it before school. He or she will definitely appreciate it if one of their students can pronounce in correctly.

5. Practice Route to Bus Stop

If your child takes the bus to and from school, practice walking to and from the bus stop so your child remembers how to get there and how to get home.

6. Make Up a Song

It doesn't have to be anything elaborate or have tons of melody, but make up a "Back to School" song that you can sing on the way to the bus. Have fun with it. Make it rhyme. Make it silly.

7. Visit From the Back to School Fairy

The Back to School Fairy is real, people! Leave a special treat in your child's room or under their pillow that they'll notice when they wake up. Something as simple as a new set of pencils or crazy shoelaces work just fine.

8. Plan a Scavenger Hunt

Get them excited for the first day of school by forming a scavenger hunt where they can find their school supplies. Hide them around the home and leave clues to where they can be found.

9. Make Matching Jewelry

With matching mother-child bracelets, they'll think of you every time they look down at their wrist. They'll know you're thinking of them, too!

10. Play the Name Game

Name games and ice breakers are pretty standard first day of school activities. So prep a little. Ask your child a fun fact about themselves, or play the alliteration game: "My name is Charlie and I like cheese!"

11. Make Crayon Art

Here's a fun way to count down to the first day! Sure, save a box for class, but get an extra set of crayons for an art project. You need a canvas, crayons, glue, and a hair dryer and you can go to work.

12. Celebrate the Night Before School

"School Year's Eve" can be a legitimate holiday. Celebrate it with a special treat or a movie night that'll make the next day even more special.

13. Surprise New Clothes

Sure, the "back to school" wardrobe is fairly standard and a few new pieces are always nice. But remember those light-up shoes or that sparkly bedazzled shirt that your kid wanted and you said you wouldn't buy? Surprise them with it on the first day of school.

14. Apple-Themed Breakfast

Apple is the official symbol of school, so start off the first day with an apple-themed breakfast. Make apple pancakes, or have a side of apple juice with the meal.

15. Balloon Surprise

Decorate your kitchen or living room with balloons as a celebration. Even better: do it in the school's colors for even more school pride.

16. Learn That Cool Braid

Don't forget the hair game. Surprise your little lady by learning how to do that really cool new braid trend. Fishtail? Waterfall? French with a twist? Pick one, practice the week before, and make the debut on the first day of school.

17. Classic First Day of School Photo

Start your tradition early. Every year on the first day of school, take a picture in the same spot. Year by year, you'll see the progress and your kid will be excited to take the classic pic.

18. Decorate the Bus Stop

Grab the sidewalk chalk and doodle on the bus stop to mark it for you and other kids!

19. Make Dinner Plans

Let your kids pick the dinner dish for that evening. That way, they can look forward to dinner in case they're nervous about the day.

20. Plan the After School Snack

Or even better. Before you even get to dinner, let the kids plan their after school snack. If it's a tray of cookies? Have those ready when they come home and let them snack away and tell you all about their day.

21. Gift in Backpack

For an extra-special surprise, throw a cute gift into your child's backpack. They'll get to school, open the backpack, and find a sweet memento. Great way to get them excited for the day ahead.

22. Gift for Teacher

Pick out something easy and small (that can fit on the desk) to gift to the teacher on the first day of school. It'll make your child more excited to meet their new instructor, which can be a scary moment.

23. Sweet Lunch Note

A simple "Hope you're having a great day!" or a "Enjoy today!" note can go a long way. Jot it down on a napkin or a Post-It, and it'll be a sweet way for your kids to know you're thinking about them throughout the day.

24. Get a Teacher Questionnaire

Send your child off with a teacher questionnaire so they (and you) can get to know the teacher better. That way, when it comes time to Teacher Appreciation Day, or the end of the year rolls around (crazy to think that far ahead), you'll know your teacher's favorite foods, stores, and snacks. Present ideas are a-brewin'.

25. Water Balloon Fight

Gently (keyword, here) ambush the kids with water balloons when they get off the bus to welcome them home.

What are your first day of school traditions?

Images via RCWW, Inc./Corbis and ¬©iStock.com/PeopleImages