Back to School Countdown Ideas

We love coming up with fun back to school ideas, and this back to school countdown is a great way to get back into the routine at the end of Summer before school starts. Kids will appreciate the visual schedule that gets them excited about a new school year!

Back to school countdown

Why Use Back to School Countdowns?

  1. Anticipation: A countdown can build excitement and anticipation for the start of a new school year. Children may enjoy counting down the days until they get to see their friends, meet their new teachers, and learn new things.
  2. Structure: Children often thrive on routine and structure, and a countdown can help them prepare for the upcoming changes to their daily routine. Having a specific date to look forward to can provide a sense of order and predictability.
  3. Control: Starting a new school year can be overwhelming for some children, as it often involves new schedules, expectations, and challenges. A countdown can provide children with a sense of control over the transition by allowing them to focus on the positive aspects of returning to school.
  4. Celebration: A countdown can be a fun way to celebrate the end of summer and the start of a new school year. Children may enjoy marking each day with a fun activity or treat, such as making a special breakfast or planning a back-to-school shopping trip.

A back-to-school countdown can be a positive and motivating end of summer activity for children, as long as it is presented in a fun and engaging way that is appropriate for their age and developmental level.

Back to School Countdown Ideas

These can actually be used to countdown days at the end-of-the school year, too! Use them along with our end of the school year occupational therapy activities for building fine motor skills, scissor skills, and more.


So this is the first time I am doing a back to school countdown with my kids to create a little anticipation and fun. Countdowns can be used with any grade and child but it’s especially great for kids who are not looking forward to school.

3 Back to School Countdown Ideas

1. Toilet Paper Roll countdown – This is what we are doing. I will use a post it note for each day and I will glue them onto 6 empty toilet paper rolls. Inside each roll I will place back to school supplies for them to find each day. 

2. Countdown Chain – All you need for this is to cut strips of paper and make a chain out of them. Each day have your child take a link down. We used a similar idea for our New Years countdown and the kids LOVED tearing off a ring to count down the event! You could also do this same concept with a string of paper clips. Remove one paper clip for each day.

3. Lunch Bag Countdown– This is great if you are wanting to give the kids something that’s too big to fit inside a toilet paper roll as mentioned in idea 1. This allows you to use bigger school supplies items and place them inside the bag. 

Here are more back to school ideas you will enjoy:


Back-to-School Motor Skills Kit

The Back to School Therapy Kit is designed for occupational therapy sessions and targets a wide range of skills. It’s great for establishing a baseline level after a long summer break and can be used with an entire caseload of children. However, this printable packet can be used at home or in the classroom, too. Print off the pages and build skills with a back-to-school theme! Get your copy here.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

back to school countdown

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