First Day of School Photographs

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Fabric banner photo

Taking a photo of your children on their first day back at school after a long summer is a tradition in many families.

And with the new school year starting for many of us, I’ve been thinking of ways I can capture my children and their personalities on the morning of the first day back and to REPEAT the photograph on the last day of school next year.

As we all know children grow so quickly, and as someone once told me, ‘the days are long but the years are short.’ The changes that take place over 10 school months are huge and I thought it would be fun to think about a first day of school photo that could be easily repeated on the last day of school, for comparison, and I came up with a few ideas.

My first thought was to create a banner that can be held by the child and photographed. I think this is especially fun because once you’ve taken the photo, the banner can be hung up ready to greet the child on their return home from their first day of school. By using paper ring binder clips to hold each flag of the banner together, you can easily switch out the ‘First’ for ‘Last’ in order to repeat the photo on the last day of school.

Making a fabric banner

I cut the letters for this banner from fabric backed with an iron-on adhesive. I used my Fiskars letters template to draw the letters in reverse on the back of the iron-on adhesive, cut them out with a pair of small detail scissors and stuck them on to the banner flags.

If you have more than one child, it’s nice to mark the occasion with a group photo, which is where an oversize ‘polaroid’ photo frame comes in handy. They can all squeeze into shot and it can make for some fun, laughter-filled poses.

Polaroid Frame photo

I cut this frame from poster board. I started by marking out a square with my ruler and cut into the poster board with my Fiskars Heavy Duty Detail Knife. The styrofoam will not make a clean cut, so to keep the inside edges of the frame neat, I added some washi tape. I used letter stickers, centered under the hole in the frame, to write the date. If your letter stickers are not removable (like mine) you can flip the frame around and prepare it for the last day of school by using the back.

cutting poster board

These photos can also be an opportunity to record more than just the physical changes in a child during the school year. Having them hold signs, like these cardstock apple signs, can record their handwriting at the start of the year. I have a space ready on the back of the apples for them to write ‘Last day of school’ in their own handwriting, so that at the end of the year I can repeat the photographandhave the keepsake signs as record of their emerging skills.

apple sign photo

To make these apple signs, I simply cut out an apple, leaf and stem from red, green and brown cardstock. I added space for their handwriting by gluing the yellow cardstock rectangle to the center of the apple (both on the back and on the front). The handles are a popsicle stick.

cutting apple template

This ‘chalkboard speech bubble’ can record any information relevant to your child. My daughter currently wants to be a fashion designer, and it will be fun to see how this compares to what she wants to be at the end of the school year.

speech bubble

To make this speech bubble, you could use a painted chalkboard cut to shape, chalkboard oilcloth mounted onto poster board for reinforcement or do what I did and use simple construction paper! A chalk maker works perfectly on construction paper (though it cannot be erased, so if you use this method, plan on drawing the speech bubble again at the end of the year).

Lunch bag

My final idea is to decorate a lunch bag in order to make a special event of their first day back at school snack. I cut a pencil shape from colored cardstock and added phrase stickers from the School collection by SRM Press.

paper trimmer

Happy first day of school - to childrenandparents alike!

Supply List

Letter template