back to school decor

Pencil garland to decorate for back to school.

back to school ideas for kids

The first day of school activities happen in Atlanta next week. When changes of seasons come in life, I get very nostalgic. I don’t always handle change well, and sometimes it helps me to focus on the celebration of the change rather than the overwhelming emotion I can feel that time is moving forward. In our home, one of our back to school ideas for kids is to decorate our manzanita branch centerpiece with classroom theme decor and school decorations. Celebrating and decorating the house to helps (a little bit!) with the anticipation and my favorite back to school ideas for kids so they can get involved in the fun! First day of school activities are in full swing!

My manzanita centerpiece has become one of the most popular things in my home, and I have so many posts about it all in the Centerpiece category of my blog. This one in particular will show you the basics of how to build it.

first day of school activities

This year our identical boys begin 1st grade and our daughter 4th. I created this centerpiece last year and hit the jackpot with the One Spot at Target (this is the $1 section right up front where the store always sucks my money immediately walking in. Those Target retail planners are so smart!). All of this wasn’t $1 each (again, so smart) but I think they were each $3.00. Still, a bargain.

On the table is a frame that shows each of them as Kindergartners. I did a separate frame with my daughter’s older class pictures and will add the boys with every year. I love to collect pictures and put them all in the frame. I use these frames for holiday centerpieces only so it helps me stay organized to find them once, and then keep them in the same frame and just change out for each holiday. More on how I organize my holiday decor coming soon, so be sure you get my newsletter to stay in the know!

classroom theme decor

Three key ingredients to showcase the first day of school:

The colors yellow and red


Lots of oversized fun of standard classroom school decorations.

Pencils were scattered in the branches and I use the base of the urn to put crayons. I also put out a bowl of Smarties! My favorite part of the back to school centerpiece are the oversized pencils and apples. Again, all from Target. My daughter kept saying “they are so whimsical!” She’s so articulate!

We used pom-pom apples that I just love. Pom-poms are so in these days and these are adorable!

I spelled out back to school on pencil felt garland and then hung crayons using paper clips (two school supplies represented in one!) My daughter had fun helping me do the handwriting and get it hung “just so” she says!

shop cute garland

the one that looks closet to what I’m using are the Apple garland strings and the pencil.

Back to School Centerpiece

first day of school activities Oversized ceramic pencil.

Pencil Garland and chalkboard mat.

Chalboard mat with apple cut out garland for back to school decorations.

Oversized apple
back to school ideas for kids

back to school centerpiece with classroom theme decor

back to school centerpiece with crayonsSmarties for back to school

First Day of School Decorations

My daughter and I find such joy in spending time together planning the small details and making it look pretty. It makes this centerpiece that much more special to me! I’m including in this post a cute photo my husband snapped last year of us decorating with our classroom theme decor!

Happy back to school everyone! I wish everyone a great year ahead. If you have tips to stay organized, I’d appreciate them! I am constantly trying to figure out how to stay ahead of things – good luck to me, right?!

shop more fun accessories for your back to school decor!

This customized pencil and apple gift set looks pretty darn pricy, but the reviews are phenomenal so maybe a cute gift for that special teacher in your life? Otherwise the chalkboard paper placemats looks great! I’ve been using the same mat for eight years and it’s time to be pitched. This looks fun and mess free!




  1. Avatar
    August 1, 2016 / 10:33 am

    What a beautiful ideal and love to see more of your ideals to come and your home is gorgeous that i seen in your picture and please keep sharing your wonderful ideals and beautiful picture!!!!

    • Kelly
      August 4, 2016 / 10:37 am

      Wanda, thank you! Making these centerpieces is a joy. It’s in the center of our home so it’s worth the effort to make it look special. We don’t have a chandelier or lighting fixture in here so the largeness of it fills the space and allows my daughter and I to have fun coming up with our themes!

Please share your thoughts!

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