ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Make The First Day Of School The Best Day Ever!

Updated on November 1, 2020
gmarquardt profile image

gmarquardt has an M.A. in history and German from SWTSU and has over 30 years teaching experience at public high schools.

How To Make Your Own Schultüte

One happy girl, ready for school!
One happy girl, ready for school! | Source

The Schultüte, also known as a Zuckertüte, is a relatively recent German and Austrian tradition whereby children receive a small cone stuffed with gifts, school supplies, and candies on their very first day of school. This wonderful tradition began in the early 1800s in the eastern provinces of Germany, in the states of Thuringia and Saxony. It quickly grew to all German speaking areas. Education has always been very important to Germans, and this tradition arose as a way of helping children assimilate to the new changes in their lives that occur while attending school.

Today, the tradition lives on throughout Germany and Austria. Every region, community, family and school seems to have their own tradition, and I have found few families that do it exactly the same way. Time, also, seems to change the tradition slightly each year. Of course, that’s what makes this custom so easily adapted to American children!

School kids, the day before school started.
School kids, the day before school started.

Four examples

In a small Lower Saxony community, students gather on Sunday at the local church and take a group picture with their teachers. They are then led on a procession to the school where they are introduced to their classrooms and teachers. Then they are allowed to go home and open their Zuckertüten. Monday morning is a normal school day without their cones.

In one town in Bavaria, a formal photograph is taken at a local studio a few days prior to the beginning of school. All the children with their families arrive and pose for portraits. Families pose together, and the children all get individual poses as well. On the first day of school, these students open up their Schultüten in class. Opening them in class offered an excellent excuse to meet classmates by offering each other candy and sweets as well as swapping toys.

Family portrait with triplets.
Family portrait with triplets.

For some larger schools, children dress up nicely and walk to their school with their parents and their Schultüten. On the way they often stop at a church and there is a school church service. Then everybody walks on to school and assembles in the courtyard where recess and lunch is. Sorted into different classes, each respective class would then go inside the school and go directly to their classrooms. Once inside, the children were allowed to just take one item out of the Schultüte and eat it. The rest had to stay in the cones, they were put away, and then class began. Around 1:00, when school lets out in Germany, the students were picked up by their parents and then they were finally able to open the rest of their Schultüte. Friends often met at someone's house to open their cones and to play with their new toys together.

Ready for school.
Ready for school. | Source

Although in the United States we use the German word kindergarten for our first year of school, in Germany, Kindergarten is used for preschool only. Students in Germany start their public education at six years of age in first grade. This is, then, when German children receive their Zuckertüte. Nevertheless, the tradition for my own children was that they received their Zuckertüte on the first day of public education. That meant, of course, that my children received their cones on their first day of kindergarten at age five. When we woke them up for the first day of school, their cone was waiting for them on the family sofa. We had been talking enough so that they knew what it was, but we did not let them see it completed before that morning. We took pictures of them with their Zuckertüte and reminded them that they could open it as soon as they got home. When they arrived home they were eager to rip it open and see what they got!

Happy kindergartener ready for school.
Happy kindergartener ready for school. | Source
Ready for purchase
Ready for purchase | Source
Ready made cones at a German department store.
Ready made cones at a German department store. | Source

How to make your own

Presently one can easily purchase ready-made cones online or at the many stationary shops in Germany. Obviously, that makes it a little difficult for those of us not living in Germany! Generally, the cones are decorated with whatever fancies the child or is popular at the time. Insects, butterflies, black and yellow bees, panda bears, Transformers and Barbie; any motif that is appealing to a six year old child. A variety of types, sizes and themes are available, but to truly make it special and unique, nothing beats a homemade Schultüte.

Materials ready to make your own Zuckertüte!
Materials ready to make your own Zuckertüte! | Source

There are a variety of methods to make a cone as well, but what comes easiest for me is to take a poster board and twist it into a cone shape. The larger the poster board, the larger the cone! Manipulate the top opening to make it as large as you wish, making sure that the bottom is as tight as possible. Staple and glue the edges shut to keep it from unraveling. Trim off the top and bottom excess so that the top is level. Tape the staples so that they do not cut any small, greedy fingers. Now decorate the cone in any manner or fashion you like. It seemed that my girls enjoyed a lot of pink glitter! Be sure to use many layers of tissue paper on the bottom if you trimmed too much, so that nothing can fall out of the bottom. Wrapping ribbon around the bottom also makes for a nice secure bottom.

Filled and ready to go!
Filled and ready to go! | Source

After your cone is ready, fill it with all sorts of gifts and candy. To lower the candy count, we filled ours with pencils, crayons, erasers, pencil sharpeners, rulers, and anything else that was school related. A couple of special toys added to the delight as well. One unique idea to top the cone is to fill a balloon with just enough helium to expand tightly around the top. Fill the balloon first with confetti or other small items and then decorate with tissue paper to cover the entire top. This tissue paper top will also help hide any rough edges, especially if you can’t cut a straight line, like me!

Hidden in the closet, waiting for the first day of school.
Hidden in the closet, waiting for the first day of school. | Source
Opening after school with big sister helping.
Opening after school with big sister helping. | Source

Remember though, this is only for their first day of school ever, not every single year. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from my own children, "Hey, school starts soon, don’t I get one of those sugar cone thingies?"

Many thanks to Rick, Jessica, Wiebke and Stefanie for their personal recollections.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)