Are You Ready? Back to the Daily (School) Grind

It’s that time of year again: local stores have replaced patio furniture with notebooks and sparkly pens. Swimsuits are now in the clearance section, as jeans and sweatshirts being to fill the aisles. It’s still 80 degrees outside, and yet fall is just around the corner.

In a few short weeks, those flip flops will be packed away and the leaves that shielded us from the hot summer days will turn yellow, orange and red before they blanket our lawns.

For many families, this also means new backpacks, earlier bedtimes and more structured schedules are on the horizon. Not sure if your family is back to school ready?

Have no fear: we have the best tips and tricks for families to make your children’s transition to school a breeze. We have also included locations for school supplies and local back to school events.

Back to School Guide

Thanks to our sponsor, Paramount Charter Academy.

At Paramount Charter Academy we never set limits on how much your child can achieve. We create endless opportunities for your child to become their best and shape instruction to build on the strengths and abilities of each child.

  • 3624 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Start the New Grade Off on a High Note with These Best Practices

We’ve consulted the experts: both educators and families helped provide the best tips and tricks for ensuring a successful school year for kids of all ages:

  1. Practice going to bed and waking up earlier.
  2. Lay out clothes the night before. Have your child select a spot so they always know where things will be in the morning.
  3. Pack backpacks the night before. Making sure important papers, homework, and projects are signed and packed before going to bed.
  4. Pick a dedicated homework spot for your children to use. Stock with extra supplies so they have the tools needed to complete homework.
  5. Discuss the school day routine with your child, especially if they are starting a new school. Visit the school, talk about pick-up and drop-off and what to expect.

– Christine Welc, Principal Paramount Charter Academy

I Have a Kindergartener, What Do I Need to Know?

Backpack Size: Many companies offer different backpack sizes, making it hard to know which size is best. When in doubt, go big. You can also test drive them: pack some folders, shoes, and a lunch bag and see if everything fits. Don’t forget to also leave space for those bulky snow pants.

Packing Lunches: Many students have short lunch periods (around twenty minutes), so make sure food is easy to open and consume. If your child can’t open something independently, cut packaging (like straw wrappers) ahead of time or consider a bento box style container where items are already unwrapped for them.

With all food items, be sure to confirm your school’s food allergy policies. Some may prohibit high allergen foods (such as peanuts) from packed lunches or snacks.

End of Week Exhaustion: Attending school full time definitely leaves some children fatigued by Friday. Don’t be surprised by some sleepiness, frustration or tears. Have no fear though: all kiddos adjust at their own pace and their newfound schedules will become second nature.

Kids back to School Kalamazoo

School Essentials

Before you purchase your first Sharpie, check with your child’s teacher for a school supply list.  When you’re ready to shop, we’ve listed our favorites for both purchasing and donating supplies.

Find the Best Deals on School Supplies

My children love shopping in person (how else will they pick their favorite folder colors?). If your kids are like mine, head to local favorites Walmart, Meijer, Office Depot or Target.

Saving time and shopping online? Many teachers add their lists to Target’s School Supply Assist, where you can shop online for either in-store pickup or home delivery. Amazon is another good choice here too (who doesn’t love Prime next day shipping?).

Lend a Hand with School Supply Drives and Donations

A fantastic way to help local communities is through school supply donations. We’ve listed local organizations that distribute school supplies in the Kalamazoo area:

Kick-off the Upcoming School Year with These Fun Events

Thursday August 15, 2019

Paw Paw Youth Activity Night

Date: Thu 08/15/2019
Location:Honor Credit Union Paw Paw Branch – 422 S Kalamazoo Street Paw PawBring the family for a night of fun at our third annual Back to School Youth Activity Night! We'll have something for everyone including a dunk tank, bounce house and games and prizes. We'll once again be handing out back to school supplies, so make sure to snag some! Food [...] Time:6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Saturday August 17, 2019

Beyond the Backpack School Readiness Fair

Date: Sat 08/17/2019
Location:Bronson Park – 200 W South Street KalamazooPlease join us for the Beyond the Backpack School Readiness Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 in Bronson Park. The event includes health resources including vision screening for school-age children, info booths, raffle giveaways, entertainment, free food and more. For information or help with transportation, email [...] Time:11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Galesburg Speedway Free Children Back Pack Night

Date: Sat 08/17/2019
Location:Galesburg Speedway – 573 S 38th St GalesburgEvery year Galesburg Speedway, with a ton of help from the fans, race teams and sponsors collect as many back packs as we can. Just like last year our goal is to make sure every single kid that comes to the track gets a pack pack and essential school supplies. [...] Time:6:30 pm - 11:00 pm

Sunday August 18, 2019

Elements Back to School Bash

Date: Sun 08/18/2019
Location:Elements – 445 Forest St. KalamazooElement’s is proud to hold space for many of the kids in the local community for them to sell and for us to advertise their art. We couldn't think of a better time to host an Kids Art Show for the local artists than right before school starts. Come meet [...] Time:1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Friday August 23, 2019

Back2School Bash

Date: Fri 08/23/2019
Location:Pathfinder Church – 8740 S. Westnedge PortageCome celebrate the start to the 2019-20 school year with Pathfinder Church! Aug. 23rd, 4:30-7pm Free meal Free school supplies for Elementary kids Dunk Tank Games Face Painting Drawings for Prizes and much more! Pre-Registration requested: Time:4:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Saturday August 24, 2019

Back to School Carnival & Car Show

Date: Sat 08/24/2019
Location:St. Michael Lutheran Church & School – 7211 Oakland Drive PortageCome join us for a Back to School Carnival and 3rd Annual Car Show on Saturday, August 24th, 2019 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.  This is a free event where you can meet our preschool teachers and have fun playing games and seeing some awesome cars on display.  Treat [...] Time:9:30 am - 1:30 pm

Back to School Party

Date: Sat 08/24/2019
Location:Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt- Kalamazoo – 1700 S Drake Road, Kalamazoo30 free goody bags for first 30 guests * Photo opportunities with Menchie Face Painting Raffle of Free cake and Free Large Cups Time:11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Pig Out with Public Safety!

Date: Sat 08/24/2019
Location:Central Park – 7800 Shaver Rd Portage PortageJoin the Portage Department of Public Safety for the annual Pig Out with Public Safety. This FREE back-to-school event provides kids with backpacks and school supplies needed for the upcoming school year. Enjoy a traditional summer cookout, your favorite local magician Brian Penny, face painting, games and much more! This [...] Time:11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Tell us, Do you have a back-to-school tradition?

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