A few years ago my friend from Germany told me about a cool back-to-school German tradition: the schultüte, or back to school cone (or first day of school cone).
It’s a gift that is filled with back-to-school supplies and sends kids off on a great start to a new year.
It will quickly become one of your favorite first day of school rituals!
What is a German school cone?
Schultüte Pronunciation and the Schultüte Tradition
A schultüte is pronounced shool-too-tuh.
A schultüte is a large cone (think of the shape of a snow cone cup) made of paper or cardboard and filled with lots of back-to-school goodies like pencils, crayons, treats, chocolates, toys, books, and more to celebrate a child’s first day of school.
And, when I say large cone, I mean really large.
When my friend showed me the picture of her daughter’s schultüte in Germany, it was almost as large as her!
Some information says that the cones are about three feet tall in Germany!
I’ve been told that generally German’s only make the schultüte for the child’s first day of their first year of school. (I guess it would be more like first day of kindergarten traditions.)
Since I found out about them, I’ve been making them every year for my daughter as a special start to her homeschool year. It’s just something fun she looks forward to now.
(Shhhh! Don’t tell my German friends that I’ve been cheating!)
How To Make a Schultüte First Day of School Cone
So, how do you make a German Schultuete?
Of course, you can buy schultüte, which is helpful if you have a large homeschool group you want to give them to, but the truth is that it’s most fun to make them!
I didn’t make mine as large as the traditional German cones, but I made them big enough to include some fun stuff.
This is a great way to make back to homeschool or back to school fun and how to make the first day of school special!
For Each Schultüte You’ll Need:
- Colored poster board (thin, not the thick board, plain or with a print)
- Clear tape (packing tape works well)
- Colored tissue paper or colored tulle
- Stickers, embellishments, or markers (for decorating the outside of the cone)
- Items to fill the cone like: crayons, pens, pencils, books, funky socks, chocolates, treats, toys(or whatever fun things you would like to include in your schultüte) (SEE MORE SUGGESTIONS LATER IN THE POST)
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 10 HOMESCHOOL PROJECTS FOR KINDNESS
1. Place the poster board on a flat surface in front of you, with the shorter width side at the bottom.
2. Starting in the right lower corner, roll the poster board from the lower corner toward the top corner to form a cone. Holding the cone, release it a little so that it unrolls (just a little, not all the way) to make the inside part of the cone larger. (It may take a couple of practice rolls to achieve this). Secure the seam on the outside with clear tape.
NOTE: Don’t worry that the top is not even.
3. Cut the top (open end) of the cone straight across so that the top is even.
4. Decorate the outside of the cone with stickers, embellishments, writings, or drawings. Set cone aside.
5. For the top of the schultüte: Take a piece of tissue paper or tulle (depending on the size of your cone, it may take two pieces of tissue paper or a longer piece of tulle). Tape the tissue paper or tulle around the inside of the cone, about one inch down from the top, all the way around the cone. When you are finished, you will have a piece of tissue paper (or tulle) sticking out of the top of the cone and the top of the tissue paper or tulle will be open.
6. Crumple a piece of tissue paper or tulle and stuff it into the bottom of the cone to keep things from falling out the hole (if you didn’t roll it tight). Then, place the items (pens, pencils, socks, candy, etc.) inside the cone on top of the crumpled tissue paper/tulle, taking care not to rip the tissue or tulle that you taped around the top. Pack the cone all the way to the top of the tissue paper or tulle, leaving about two inches at the top to tie with a ribbon.
7. Gather the top of the tissue paper/tulle and finish the project by tying a ribbon around the top to close it. (See picture above.)
Give to your child on their first day of school to enjoy!
What to Put in a Schultüte
You’re thinking, “WOW! This german school cone thing sounds AMAZING. But, what the heck would I put in a back to school cone for my kid?”
The fun thing about learning how to make a german school cone is the shopping and stuffing the cone with cool things!
Traditional German cones have school supplies and chocolate.
However, you can fill your back to school cone with anything that your kids will find useful and fun!
Here are some ideas on what to put in a schultüte:
• Glue Sticks
• Colored pencils and regular pencils
• Wireless Earbuds to use with their computer or devices
• Small notebooks or paper pads
• Fun socks
• Toothbrush and toothpaste kit (and other hygiene items)
• Small stapler
• Stick on tattoos
• Lip balm
• Magnifying glass (great to use with your nature journal!)
• Gummy snacks
• Individual candy packs
• Hot wheels
• Gift cards or coupons to their favorite local restaurants or places (trampoline park, laser tag, arcade, etc.)
• Gift Cards
Also, think about the projects and studies you have for the upcoming year.
You can also include some things that will be used with those projects in your back to school cone!
Make It a Germany Homeschool Study Unit!
This is also a fun project to make with the kids as a theme study unit!
One year when I made a back to school cone for my daughter, we turned it into a study unit.
We spent time talking about Germany, German tradition, and read about Germany For Kids.
My daughter then made some small schultüte for her friends.
(You can even make some for kids in a family shelter as a volunteer project or with your homeschool co-op!)
Snap a pic of your schultüte after you make it and then share it over on our Facebook page!
We would love to see it!