So, now that you have heard all about German traditions for starting school, and learned how to make your very own ‘Schultüte’, I wanted to share what’s going in my son’s Schultüte to give you some inspiration. Just to recap, a Schultüte is a large cardboard cone filled with sweets, school supplies and other small gifts, which children in Germany receive on their first day of school. Here’s what I ended up with:
I didn’t want to go overboard on the sweets. He’s had quite a few sweet treats over the summer holidays, and Hallowe’en isn’t far on the horizon, so I felt we didn’t need another excess sweets event. I found a bag of little chocolates with letters of the alphabet on the wrappers, in one of the school displays that all the shops here have at the moment, and thought they would be perfect! I also threw in some Gummibärchen – a favourite – and one of those candy necklaces, just because I used to love them myself as a kid.
Other suggestions include: any sweets your children like to eat! And perhaps, as a special treat, ones they like but are not usually allowed to have? Alphabet cookies would make a good school related sweet treat, I think Ikea sells some, for example. You could also add some more healthy snacks, e.g. muesli bars or boxes of raisins.
We got a list from the school of supplies we had to get. It was very specific and didn’t leave much room for choosing cute or cool stationary. So I decided that those supplies would just be part of the standard ‘starting school kit’ (we’ve already packed everything in to his new school bag), and I looked for a few other ‘just for fun’ stationery items to add to the Schultüte. The two exercise books – one for practicing handwriting and one for practicing simple maths sums – I picked up at Flying Tiger. They’ve actually got lots of great stationary things at small prices, so it’s a good place to go shopping for Schultüte fillings! And pencils are the one thing from the school supplies list that aren’t already in his bag, because I ordered him a bunch engraved with his name. I got mine from a German store on Dawanda, but there are quite a few around so you can probably find somewhere in the UK or elsewhere too that offers personalised pencils. And, the little blackboard and chalk I picked up at a local book store.
Other suggestions include: novelty erasers, a nice pencil sharpener, a colourful ruler, those rulers you get for drawing shapes etc, stickers, funny shaped paper clips, new colouring pens or pencils, a paint set, paint brushes, a pair of scissors, colourful washi tape, glue sticks, a new pencil case, stamps, a pencil holder.
I decided I wanted all the gifts to be somehow school related, rather than just a gift for the sake of it. This is what I ended up with, starting from the top:
- ‘Worry Eater‘ toy (Amazon affiliate link). These are popular first day of school gifts here in Germany. You can also get smaller versions – I’ve seen several kids with keychain sized ones attached to their school bags.
- A little notebook for recording the first year of school (similar to the kind of books you get for recording babies’ first year). I ordered mine from Ava & Yves, a German independent store, but there are many different shops and sellers that offer these, e.g. on Dawanda and Etsy. Not sure if you can get ones in English, you may need to make your own!
- Temporary tattoos. I found these in a local independent toy store.
- A badge that says ‘Schulkind 2016’ (school kid 2016), also from the same toy store.
- A numbers card game. I picked these up in the ‘back to school’ display at our local supermarket. HABA do a similar card game, that’s available via Amazon (affiliate link).
- An audio book. The ‘Kleine Drache Kokosnuss’ (Little Dragon Coconut)by Ingo Siegner is a popular series here, both as books and as CDs. This one is all about Kokosnuss starting school. It’s available, in German, via Amazon (affiliate link).
- A watch. I received my first ever watch in my Schultüte, many moons ago, so I wanted to include the same in my son’s. This one is with dinosaurs, that I picked up in town, but there are many great kids’ watched to chose from these days.
- ‘Guardian Angel‘ reflector badge (Amazon affiliate link), to hang on the back of his school bag.
- And, of course, a nice card to write a ‘first day of school’ message on. I didn’t like any of the ones specifically for starting school, so I got this adventure one from Greta’s Schwester – one of my favourite independent stores here in Berlin (they also have an online store) – because I think starting school is an amazing adventure!
Other suggestions include: new lunch box and/or water bottle, a cushion in the shape of a letter e.g. your child’s initial (our younger son got one of these for his Christening, but I think it would also make an excellent first day of school gift), an alarm clock, a purse (to wear round your neck), magnetic letters, a photo album, one of those albums where all your school friends fill in a page (or is that just a German thing?), a subscription for a kids magazine e.g. Alphablocks, Anorak Magazine, or National Geographic Kids. I’ve created a Pinterest board with some more school related gift ideas for your Schultüte.
Finally, this is too big for the Schultüte, but I picked up this copy of Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go!’ in the English section of a local charity book store, and I think it’s the perfect gift for such a major milestone. So he’ll be getting this alongside the Schultüte.