A Sweet Tradition for the First Day of School: The German School Cone or “Schultüte”

A Sweet Tradition for the First Day of School: The German School Cone or “Schultüte”

The first day of school — a mix of excitement, nerves, and a touch of nostalgia for parents and kids alike.

While many countries have their own ways of celebrating this milestone, Germany has a charming and creative tradition that adds a delightful twist to the big day—the “Schultüte” (pronounced shool-too-tuh), or school cone.

As children face the unknown of a new school environment, the Schultüte celebrates and comforts them as they embark on their educational journey, and creates lasting memories for both you and your little one.


The Schultüte: A German Back-to-School Tradition

Picture this: a brightly colored, cone-shaped container bursting with all sorts of goodies, from school supplies to sweet treats, all wrapped up in colorful paper and tied with a ribbon. It's like a magical hybrid of a gift and a backpack, designed to make the first day of school an unforgettable experience.


Origins and Evolution of The Schultüte

This beloved German tradition has been lighting up the eyes of kindergarteners for over a century. It dates back to the early 19th century and has become an integral part of German culture, eagerly anticipated by young students and their families.  

The Schultüte was initially introduced as a way to ease anxiety and to create a sense of excitement and anticipation for young children starting school for the first time. It was traditionally filled with school supplies like pencils, notebooks, and other essentials. Over time, the tradition evolved, and the contents of the school cone expanded to include not only practical items but also a variety of delicious treats and fun toys.


Symbolism and Significance

The act of presenting a Schultüte to a child is also a way for parents, relatives, and friends to offer their support and encouragement. It communicates a sense of pride in the child's achievements and enthusiasm for the educational journey that lies ahead. The tradition fosters a positive and nurturing environment, helping to alleviate any apprehensions a child may have about the new school year.


Crafting Your Own Schultüte – A Step-by-Step Guide

Materials Needed

  • Large sheet of sturdy paper or poster board (roughly 24"x18")
  • Markers, crayons, or stickers
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape or glue
  • Ribbons, bows, or decorative tape
  • Colored wrapping paper or tissue paper
  • Assorted small school supplies (pencils, erasers, crayons, etc.)
  • A variety of small treats (candies, chocolates, stickers)


Step 1: Cut and Roll the Cone Shape

Start by cutting your large sheet of paper into a perfect quarter-circle shape. Imagine a giant slice of pizza! Then, carefully roll the paper into a cone shape, ensuring that the pointy end is closed while leaving the larger opening open. Secure the cone shape with tape or glue.


Step 2: Wrap the Cone

Once you have your cone shape ready, it's time to add the “hat” out of colored wrapping paper or tissue paper. Add double sided tape to the outside top edge all the way around the cone. Wrap the cone with the tissue paper and glue it onto the double sided tape on the edge. Carefully fold the tissue paper from the pointy end of the cone towards the opening of the cone. Pull the tissue paper approx. 8 inches over the opening. Click here for visuals.


Step 3: Decorate

Let your creativity shine as you decorate the cone with markers, crayons, stickers, or any other fun embellishments. Personalize the cone with your child's name, favorite colors, or any designs that make them smile.


Step 3: Fill with Goodies

Now comes the fun part – filling the Schultüte with a mix of school supplies and treats. Think pencils, erasers, crayons, stickers, small books, and perhaps a favorite snack. Tailor the contents to your child's interests and school needs. 


💡 The My Friends and I friendship book fits perfectly in the school cone. Just like the Schultüte, the friendship book (in German: Freundebuch) is another German tradition, that is often gifted on the first day of school, as it is a great way for children to get to know their peers and make new friends at school.

The book travels from friends to friend and everyone answers fun questions like: “What is your favorite food? What do you like to do in your free time? What songs do you like to listen to? What books do you like to read? What do you want to be when you grow up?”.  Children may learn fascinating facts about their classmates, sparking interesting conversations. They may discover that some peers live close by or share similar hobbies and interests, which could encourage them to try new activities such as sports, music, or art.

Snag a copy of the My Friends and I book before the school bells ring! Get $5 off your order until August 20th; enter promo code BIRTHDAY at checkout here.

The book is also available on Amazon.

My Friends and I book in a school cone 

Step 4: Tie with a Ribbon

Gently gather the open end of the cone, making sure the goodies are secure inside. Tie a colorful ribbon or string around the gathered end to close the Schultüte and add a decorative touch. Leave a bit of ribbon trailing for a playful effect.


Step 5: Presenting the Schultüte

On the morning of your child's first day of school, surprise them with their very own Schultüte! You could place it on their breakfast table, near their school bag, or even hand it to them with a big smile. Watch as their eyes light up with excitement and curiosity.


Happy crafting and here's to a wonderful first day of school! 🎒🎉



Photo by Dieter Martin.

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