Local Moms Share End-Of-Summer and Back-To-School Traditions


How is it already August? The bittersweet end of summer is quickly approaching. Looking back on the last few months, you can reminisce about shuttling from camp to camp, teetering on the precipice of way too much screen time, taking work calls while muting every five seconds, and doing every possible splash pad, pool, movie, library, or playground you could muster. The end of summer brings a new school year while sunsetting one of the 18 summers you get with your children before they graduate.

We polled our local Charleston Moms and families for their favorite annual traditions around this time of year, both with fun activities to say goodbye to those last summer days or how they celebrate and welcome the new school season. Whether you have a child entering into school for their first year or you are a seasoned mom with older children, hopefully, this list sparks some new traditions within your family or a new must-do summer/school activity.

End of summer traditions: a group of kids swim in a poolEnd-Of-Summer Traditions

  • Have a pool party with friends the week before school starts. Get the gang together for one last hurrah with pizza, soft drinks, cookies, etc.!
  • Plan a trip to the Mount Pleasant KOA the weekend before school starts. This is a great stay-cation with so much to offer.
    • Already booked? Backyard or indoor camping is always a fun adventure as well!
  • Take one last family trip, either out of state or in state, to visit family or friends. Enjoy the calm and relaxation before the school chaos begins.
  • Go back-to-school shopping to pick out new shoes, clothing, and school supplies to get them excited for the year ahead.
    • Bonus: have a fashion show with the first day of school outfit.
  • End the summer with a beach walk and ice cream.
  • Have a “yes” day or a date day to cram in all their favorites.
  • Find the perfect summer sunset spot and stay for the stars.
  • Bake cookies/cupcakes, or make popsicles allowing them to choose the flavors, and help out in the kitchen.
  • Eat ice cream for dinner, or dessert before dinner.
  • Go on a picnic at one of our local parks and discuss what they are most excited about for the upcoming school year.
  • Go to a drive-in theater or host an outdoor movie in the backyard.

end of summer traditions: a child holds a sign saying "back to school" with her backpack on the floor next to her.Day Before/First Day of School Traditions

  • Make Taylor Swift friendship bracelets (or any bracelet) with a special saying every year before school starts. If they get nervous the first few days, they can look at the bracelet and think of Mom/Dad.
  • Tie dye shirts together and wear them on the first day.
  • Start the first day of school off with a banana split (frozen vanilla yogurt, lots of fruit, and sprinkles) for breakfast. How bad can a day get when you start with a banana split?
  • Buy or make a cookie cake the night before school to celebrate the last official day of summer break.
  • Make freshly baked muffins and gift a couple of new books for the first day of school. Alongside their backpacks and lunches that morning, my kids still get excited to wake up to muffins and new books — nine years and counting!
  • Have a first-day picture session or make a picture sign to document the new grade ahead.
  • Take pictures with an extra large “Class of 20__” shirt that you start for kindergarten and wear each year until graduation. This is a great way to document how much they grow!
  • Write a note to your child that they can read on the first day of school, either in their lunch, book bag, or somewhere they can find it.
  • Have a show-and-tell dinner after the first day of school. Ask them about their teacher, favorite subject, or a new friend they made.
    • Bonus: plan ahead and let them pick their favorite meal for dinner.
  • Read a new book the night before school about going into a certain grade, going back to school, or first-day jitters, etc. (The Kissing Hand)

What are your favorites from this list? Is there something different you do as a family to end the summer or start the new school year? Leave a comment below!

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Amber Joyner
Originally from the Southwest, Amber has called South Carolina her home since middle school, residing in Surfside Beach, SC until moving to Mount Pleasant with her now husband in 2010. Alongside her husband, Amber has two boys aged 5 and 2, and a 13-year-old husky named Sora. Amber works remotely as a Software Engineering Manager for a local company with previous experience as a classroom educator for six years. Amber loves to travel often exploring new national & state parks and being in nature as much as possible. She loves cooking new vegetarian/vegan recipes for her family, building all the Legos, playing video & board games, and attempting to keep all her houseplants alive. Over the past year, she has discovered a newfound love for yoga & meditation, and finally has the time for audiobooks, podcasts, & attempting to learn Japanese (thanks car rider line!).