Schultüte, a Must for the First Day of School

First Day of School with Backpack and SchultueteMost Germans will fondly remember the Schultüte, a cone shaped cornucopia filled with sweets, treats and toys given to them when they entered elementary school. Einschulung, the first day of school, is considered a rite of passage for a child, the start of one’s academic life, and it’s celebrated by the presentation of gifts, the snapping of photos, and then the exploration of what the school cone holds.

History of the Schultüte

The history of the Schultüte dates back to the year 1810 in the Germanic regions of Saxonia and Thuringia. Here, wealthy and privately-schooled children received large cone-shaped bags filled with sweets and toys to celebrate their first day of school. It wasn’t until much later that lower class children were given public schooling. Then, the practice became mainstream and has since grown into a time-honored back-to-school routine. However, in 1910 this handcrafted tradition was compromised. Carl August Nestler from Wiesa in Saxony began to mass-produce the token bags. Today Schultüten are mostly produced by machine, and more than 700,000 of them are sold every year in Germany. These days the Schultüte is given to students of all ages by family, friends or partners as encouragement for the long academic road ahead.

Buy or Make Your Own Schultüte

Boy with SchultueteIn Germany, you can find Schultüten available at most school and office supply stores in July and August. You can purchase an authentic German Schultüte in North America as well, but if you want to be creative, why not make one on your own. Simply get a large sheet of poster board. Lay the poster board on a flat work surface with the shorter side facing you. Roll the board into a large cone and tape it at the outside seam with packing tape. Cut the top straight across the upper part of the cone, just below the uneven edges. Decorate the board with stickers (based on your child’s interest) with glitter, stickers, pictures of the family, or sparkling jewels. Use two differently colored tissue papers and cover the edges of the cone, folding the tissue papers tightly over the top. Tape the tissue along the inner edge of the cone. Pad the inside bottom of the cone with crumbled tissue paper.

Fill the Schultüte

Now it’s time to fill the cone with just the sweets, treats and school supplies you know your little one will most enjoy. Some fun things to include in the cone: pencils, crayons, erasers, watches, yo-yos, hair ties, gum and stuffed toys. Then, as in the German tradition, fill the cone to the top with some authentic German treats. It’s a sweet tradition that North American students are sure to appreciate!

Consider including a selection of the following:

Additionally, for older students, you may want to add some fun, nutritious  foods for brain and body

See Back to School with Lots of Energy.

See our online store for these and other goodies!

To all new students in the United States and Canada, we wish you ‘viel Glück und Erfolg‘ (much luck and success) in the year ahead!