7 Ways to Surprise Your Kids & Make an Ordinary School Day Extraordinary

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school busSending the kids back to school is definitely a bittersweet moment for all of us. Even though it's so nice to be in a normal routine again, it's still tough to have our little ones away from us for all those hours each day.

A great way to ease the separation a bit and remind our kids how special they are to us is to pull off a fun surprise for them before, during, or after school to brighten their day and absolutely delight them.

Here are seven awesome ways to give your kiddos a thrill they'll never forget on an otherwise "regular" school day.

  1. Set up a sundae bar -- It's still pretty warm outside, and everybody loves ice cream, so having a "make your own" sundae bar set up in your kitchen is a great way to make the kids jump for joy after the bus drops them off. Get plenty of fixins' -- from whipped cream to sprinkles, cherries, hot fudge, butterscotch sauce, and of course their favorite candies -- and let them create a dessert to remember.
  2. Show up in character -- It will particularly delight younger kids if you magically show up as the mystery reader in their class -- dressed in a costume to fit the theme of the book, of course. They'll be stunned and you'll instantly achieve mom of the year status.
  3. Breakfast in bed -- Instead of giving your kids a bowl of cereal at the kitchen island like you do every other day of the week, why not get up a little early, whip up their favorite breakfast foods, and then carry it up to their rooms on a tray? It makes the most important meal of the day a special and exciting treat.
  4. Impromptu camping "trip" -- You won't believe the looks on your kids' faces when they come home from school to find the living room transformed into an indoor camp site. Set up a tent complete with sleeping bags and flashlights and let them pretend they're roughing it for a night.
  5. Weekend getaway -- Send your kids to school on a regular Friday -- then pick them up an hour or two early with the car packed and ready to set off on a fun adventure. Wherever you head, make sure it's a destination packed with activities geared specifically for them. Think swimming pools, amusement parks, aquariums, museums -- whatever it is that makes them grin from ear to ear.
  6. Make lunch a gift -- Your kids may expect a surprise in their lunch on their birthday, so shake things up by giving them a party-worthy lunch on a random day during the school year. Wrap their lunch contents into colorful presents they can open one by one. Imagine the looks on their faces when they pop open their lunch boxes!
  7. Scavenger hunt or treasure map -- Kids expect to come home and immediately do their homework, so surprising them with a scavenger hunt set up in the house or a map to "buried" treasure is something they'll never see coming. Have them follow the clues to lead to a reward they'll go nuts for. It can be a toy they've been wanting, the promise of a fun dinner date out wherever they want to go, or even getting to stay up a little late to watch their favorite TV show or movie.

Have you ever pulled off a fun surprise for your kids?


Image via lori05871/Flickr

kid activities, elementary school


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Lance... LancesMom

I have, we surprised the class with a pizza party for my sons birthday. (With the teachers permission), we brought in pizza for lunch and they all stayed in class. The teacher even stayed. That was a long long time ago!

johnn... johnny4ever

Yes surprize him at school!

the4m... the4mutts

The only one of these that I see a problem with, is your suggestion to pick them up early from school. Idk about your schools, but our requires a dr note, or a family emergency to get kids from class early. And they're strict about classifying you kids as truants.

Miche... MichelleK41

Oh yeah a trip to the beach.

la_be... la_bella_vita

Great ideas, DD likes that I volunteer and show up with her randomly at lunch

elasmimi elasmimi

I serve my family breakfast in bed every am. Breakfast at the table would be a surprise, lol.

Kmakk... Kmakksmom

We've surprised the girls with pizza for them and all of their friends at lunch before.  On their birthdays, we bring them balloons, flowers, and a stuffed animal to school.  There have also been days when we take one or all of them out of school and do something fun as a family.

RobynS RobynS

Oooh! Great ideas! I've been wanting to do a Wacky Wednesday--where I set up weird things for them to discover all around the house--just like in the book. :)

count... countrygirlkat

I have showed up at school to eat lunch with them at times as a surprise.

dusky... dusky_rose

These are some neat ideas! On the first day of school, I went to pick up my son to take him out for ice cream after school. What I didn't tell him is that his dad was going to be there to surprise him. His dad was suppost to be at work that day and my son wouldn't get to see him at all that day. So that was a nice suprise for him.

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