Whether you home- or traditional-school your children, the first day of a new year of learning is an exciting milestone. Celebrate the day with a surprise – a homemade schultuete, or school cone.
A German tradition since the early 19th century, school cones are given to children on the very first day of their school career. The (sometimes very large) cones are filled with fun school supplies and other treats.
School cones are easy to make and can be small and elaborate, large and simple, or every variation in between. Think of them as you would Valentine’s Day candy boxes: you can choose the extravagant lace-trimmed, flower-bedecked 5-pound assortment, or you can go with a tiny, exquisite 4-piece sampler.
Here’s another holiday analogy – in our house, school cones are like late-August, school-themed Christmas stockings. Handmade and packed away in tissue paper the rest of the year, the freshly filled cones mysteriously appear at the breakfast table on the first day of school. Not hung by the chimney with care, but cheerfully tied to each recipient’s chair. And not just on the first day of the first year of formal schooling, but every first day – because every new school year is something to celebrate.
Our cones are typically filled with “fancy” school supplies – things more interesting and fun than the standard supplies on our daughters’ back-to-school lists. Little leather-covered journals. Goofy socks and pretty headbands. A retractable tape measure. Artist-quality colored pencils. Jumbo glue sticks and sparkly magnets. And always a bit of candy, like Smarties or Kisses.
If you’re at the eleventh hour, don’t despair! Here is a quick way to make a school cone for your children.
The Scrapbook Paper School Cone.
Scrapbook paper; tissue paper; tape (or glue or a stapler); ribbon or yarn. Optional: assorted embellishments.
Take a 12-inch square of scrapbook paper and cut a gentle curve from one corner to the one diagonally opposite. Don’t worry – this does not have to be perfect! You can draw a line first if you prefer, either freehand or by tracing the curve of a pizza pan. Cut along the curve and you should have what looks like a very large piece of pie.
Roll it into a cone with the curve at the top and tape or staple it together. You can use glue but that takes longer and often doesn’t work as well. Cut a piece of tissue paper about 12 x 18 inches, and tape the long edge inside the rim of the cone, about an inch or two down. Decorate the cone if you want to – glue a doily around it or add brads or ribbon or other scrapbook embellishments.
There you have it! Fill it with goodies and tie closed with ribbon or yarn.
Anne Douglas is a part-time curator and full-time wife and mother of two young girls in North Carolina. Her Etsy shop stocks hand-made items for home-made celebrations.