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16 adorable first-day-of-school signs to mark the big day

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Children holding first-day-of-school signs Credit: Cheree Berry Paper / Canopy Street

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It's a big year! For some it'll be their very first in-school experience. For others they'll be looking at their first day back after a long time of distance learning.

Whatever the case, this year's first day of school is going to be a momentous one—for kids of all ages. Here are some adorable signs to mark the big day. Each one is sure to add a whole lot more fun to your photo shoots and are guaranteed to put your kid's pictures at the head of the class.

1. A customizable sign that’s your own design

A customizable back to school sign
Credit: Vista Print

This customizable sign can be designed to be as unique as your child.

Your kid is one of a kind, so give them a sign that’s as individual as they are. This first day sign can be fully customized to chronicle everything that is most important to them this year: from their teacher’s name, to favorite foods, to career aspirations. These signs come fully laminated and you can even consult with one of VistaPrint’s in-house designers to get some extra feedback on how to make your sign stand out from the rest.

Get the custom first day poster at VistaPrint starting at $16

2. A sweet and simple sign with their name written in

Two chalkboard signs
Credit: Night Owl Design Co.

These chalkboard signs keep it simple!

Sometimes short and sweet is just the thing to make the biggest impact. While some may want to list off every possible memory from their child’s first day of school, others are happy with simply getting kids’ hair combed and a quick photo snapped. This sign is just right for families that err towards the latter. All you need is to grab this sign, quickly write the grade in, and get them smiling long enough to take a picture.

Get the personalized first and last day of school photo prop sign by Night Owls Design Co. at Etsy for $23.20

3. A cute sign that hits on all the milestones

A wooden sign with apples and a ruler.
Credit: Timber and Tine

Apples, a ruler, and a pencil hit on all the first day iconography.

This handmade sign has all sorts of adorable details to make school photos feel extra special. A smart little ruler slides to mark the grade and sweet apples mark three different photo opportunities. The first day, the 100th day, and the last day will all be equally well-documented with this beautifully crafted sign that you can use year after year.

Extra name plate pencils can also be ordered to make this picture prop perfect for all the kids in your family.

Get the reusable back to school sign by Timber and Tine at Etsy for $34.95

4. A versatile sign that’s perfect for any grade

A school bus sign
Credit: Tingle Treasure Shop

They'll be ready to roll into the first day of school with this school bus inspired sign.

This handmade, keepsake sign is so adorable you’ll want to keep it forever—which is pretty convenient since it works for both the first and the last day of school for every grade. The “first day” plate pops out easily to be replaced with “last day” and the grade plates go from preschool all the way through either 5th grade or 12th grade—whichever you prefer.

Get the first and last day of school photo prop sign by Tingle Treasures Shop at Etsy starting at $54.95

5. A pennant sign that doubles as décor

Cheree Berry Paper first day of school pennant
Credit: Cheree Berry Paper

These colorful pennants are good for any grade level.

With an option for every year from preschool to 5th grade, these colorful school pennants brightly announce the first day in a big way. Not ones to gather dust in a box, they’ll look beautiful hanging above a desk for the whole school year. There is even a cute one for those just starting their homeschool journey.

6. A pencil that makes great last day photos, too

Cheree Berry Paper first day of school pencil sign
Credit: Cheree Berry Paper

This pencil sign shortens to signify the ending of the school year.

This clever back-to-school sign starts as a brand new pencil, all sharp for a new school year. At the end of the year, it ends up as a tiny nub for a fun and humorous take on all of the hard work they put in from the first day to the last.

Get the Cheree Berry Paper oversized first and last day of school pencils at Maisonette for $26

7. A personalized sign of all their favorites

Two chalkboards with children's milestones written on them.
Credit: Cualfec

Kids change so quickly; this sign will never leave memory to chance. Eight different fields commemorate their favorites and other significant details that are important to them on the first day and the last day of school. You'll be amazed at how much they change over the course of a school year, and you’ll have so much fun looking back on each school photo, remembering the specifics of their personalities the day those photos were snapped.

Get the Cualfec first and last day of school sign package at Amazon for $12.99

8. A handprint sign that adds a personal touch

Pearhead apple-shaped first day of school sign with handprints
Credit: Pearhead

The first day won't last, but their souvenir handprints will.

There’s something so endearing about tiny handprints in clay or paint. This sign isn’t reusable like many others, but it’s a special keepsake that is perfect for the first day of preschool or kindergarten and it’s one that’s sure to be treasured long after your child has gone off to college.

Get the Pearhead first and last day of school handprint board at Target for $8.59

9. A customizable sign for special notes

Canopy Street first day of school sign
Credit: Canopy Street

Pull a page from the how-to-take-cute-photos manual.

This studious sign takes a page from a notebook, making a perfect place to take notes on everything that makes your kiddo so special. This customizable sign has room for all of your kid’s favorite things, and even has a sweet spot to chronicle their height on the first day.

Get the Canopy Street first and last day of school notebook sign at Amazon for $19.99

10. An apple-shaped set for both first and last day

Pearhead first day of school sign
Credit: Pearhead

The apple of your eye needs a fruit-shaped sign to match.

Apple of your eye starting back to school? This cute sign does double duty: One side is for the first day of school and one side is for the last. This erasable chalkboard sign can be easily customized and reused year after year.

Get the Pearhead apple-shaped first and last day of school reversible chalkboard sign at Amazon for $9.99

11. A whole pack of signs for every grade

Whaline first day of school signs
Credit: Whaline

You'll be prepared right through college with this chalkboard-inspired set.

For those who like to be prepared, this set will take you from kindergarten through college graduation with chalkboard-style first- and last-day signs. You’ll never have to worry about being empty-handed when it’s time to snap first-day photos.

Get the Whaline back to school signs at Amazon for $13.99

12. A sign that gets kids excited to ride the bus

Canopy Street first day of school sign
Credit: Canopy Street

Get on the magic bus for first day photo fun!

The iconic school bus takes a different route as this quirky, customizable sign. This one is sold as a set; the first day of school will have kids holding the front of the bus, while on the last day it looks like it's driving away.

Get the Canopy Street school bus first and last day of school sign at Amazon for $15.50

13. A luminous light box for use year-round

PBTeen color-changing lightbox
Credit: PBTeen

This color-changing light box will brighten any room long after the first day of school has passed.

If your tween is way too cool for a cutesy sign, this one will give a bit of an edge to first-day photos. This customizable light box is color-changing, making for a cute room accent long after the first day has passed.

Get the color changing light box at PBTeen for $35.99

14. A letterboard sign for a timeless look

Pearhead letterboard for first day of school
Credit: Pearhead

This throwback letter board-style sign makes for nostalgic photos.

A favorite of moms all across Instagram, this letterboard-style sign is an adorable throwback to the class photos we took in the days before social media. We love the nostalgia of this one and that it allows you to personalize your back-to-school sign year after year. This letterboard stands out from the rest with its cute school-specific sticker add ons that gives your little one lots of opportunities to help you personalize their sign.

Get the Pearhead back to school letterboard set at Target for $12.99

15. A full photo booth kit

A full set of props and a frame for first day of school photos.
Credit: Party City

With 15 props, this photo frame is nothing but fun.

This full photo booth kit makes first day photos a major event. The fun frame and quirky add-ons will make for some genuine smiles when the camera comes out. This 15-piece cardboard kit is customizable and lets you fill in the grade and name of your little learner.

Get the back-to-school customizable photo frame at Party City for $9.99

16. A sign that turns school supplies into decorations

BloomOwl first day of school sign
Credit: BloomOwl

Apples, chalkboards, and rulers—oh my!

Measuring the passage of time has never been cuter. With apples and a chalkboard framed in a ruler, this sign combines almost everything that is quintessentially "first day" in one sweet package. It's also reusable and works with both chalk and chalk markers.

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