The summer has flown by and once again the time is here to send our kids, big and small, back to school.
Our Back to School Guide is filled with resources and tips to help your family start the school year off on the right foot. In this guide, you will find information about before and after school care, tutoring, after-school activities, back to school clothes shopping, school lunch ideas and more.
We have also included fun printables: A Customizable First Day of School Photo Printable and a Morning Routine Checklist that will help your child get into the groove on school mornings.
A big thank you to our sponsors, Pikes Peak Athletics and Peak Tutoring, for making this guide possible.
30-Minute Swim Lessons are a perfect after-school activity and easy to fit into your busy schedule
Help students reach their peak in academic performance and confidence.
Does your child struggle with reading, writing, or math? Are you tired of homework battles? Has it been a while since you have done the math your kids are bringing home? Does your child have a difficult time with organization, note-taking, time management, or studying for tests? Lara White of Peak Tutoring has helped families with Pre-K through 12th-grade students in all of these situations. She customizes each tutoring session to be exactly what each child needs to reach their peak in academic performance and confidence! Please go to www.peaktutoring.org to learn about her in-person and online tutoring services, qualifications that set her apart from other tutors, availability, pricing, and testimonials. She would love to help your child thrive this school year!
Easing the Transition from Laid-Back Summer Days to Busy School Mornings
It is a wonderful thing for kids to kick back and relax over the summer months. It is one of the joys of childhood. The downside to it really comes during those first few weeks of school. Many kids have had many days in a row with no set schedule. They have had the ability to sleep in and stay up late so when that first early morning approaches it can be a shock to their system. Not only do they have to rise early, but they also have to get ready quickly, eat breakfast and head out the door on time. It’s not going to be easy, which is why we have 3 tips for making this transition as painless as possible.
- Begin the morning routine at least one week in advance. Yes, exactly one week before the first day of school have your children wake up at their set time for the school year. Have them get dressed, eat breakfast and get completely ready to leave the house. Doing a weeklong dry run helps their internal clocks get used to the new schedule and also makes those first few school mornings a little less chaotic for everyone.
- Get lunches ready the night before. School mornings go by very quickly. Making lunches the night before gives you one less step to do. It’s a simple task that makes a huge difference.
- Use a Morning Routine Checklist. We know it gets frustrating, feeling like you are constantly repeating yourself. I mean there are only so many times you can ask your children to put on their shoes before you want to start ripping your hair out. Give yourself a break and let a morning checklist remind your children of the tasks that need to be completed. It makes for a calm morning for the entire family and your children get to excitedly show you how responsible they can be.
We even have a Morning Routine Checklist all ready for you to print out.
Click on the image below to download it.
Make the First Day of School Memorable
The first day of your child’s new grade will only happen once. It is perfectly acceptable to celebrate and make the day a memorable one. Here are a few ideas for making the First Day exciting.
- First Day of School Schultüte This is an adorable tradition that is celebrated in Germany. When children start school, they receive a large paper cone filled with school supplies and treats. A Schultüte is super easy to make. Simply get a piece of poster board and leave it plain or decorate it. Then, roll it into a cone shape. Be sure to use glue or tape to hold your cone in place. If you’d like, you can also cut the tip of the cone off to make the next steps easier. Next, grab some tissue paper and fold it in half lengthwise. Begin to glue the tissue paper around the inside of the very top of the cone. Use additional sheets as needed. Now for the fun part, fill up the cone with school supplies, treats, and trinkets. Once filled, gather up the tissue paper and tie it together with ribbon. Your Schultüte is complete. YAY!
- School Year Memory Book Throughout the school year, your children are going to come home with a lot of artwork, reports and other memories that they may not want to part with. A school year memory book gives them the perfect place to store their treasures. This is a great project to start when your child comes home on their first day. Present your child with a view binder (a 3 ring binder with a clear pocket on the outside). Have your child decorate a piece of printer paper to use as the cover and slip it into the front pocket. Then fill the binder with page protectors. As they bring papers and art home from school, they can begin to fill up their binders. These are also super fun to look through on the last day of school.
- Car Party Here’s a fun way to surprise your kids on the first day. The night before, decorate the inside of your vehicle with streamers and balloons, making the inside as colorful and fun as possible. This may be the most fun they ever have driving to school.
- Lunchbox Surprise It is always fun to leave love notes for your children to find in their lunch box. On the first day, add a word of encouragement, lots of I Love Yous and maybe even throw in some scented erasers, stickers, bookmarks or fun pens. It is sure to make them smile.
- First Day Pictures This seems to be the most common tradition of all. Your kids are usually in their favorite outfit. They have taken the time to get ready. They can’t wait to put on their backpack. Their smiles are genuine and they are filled with excitement. It’s the perfect recipe for a great photo. You can have them hold a sign that shares their grade, age and what they want to be when they grow up. You can have them pose at your front door. You can have them pose in the front of the school. Basically, anything goes for your first day photos.
Enjoy this First Day of School Printable. Download it by clicking on the image below!
Make the day special for YOU
If you find yourself with a little extra time after you drop your kids off for their first day, then take a moment to treat yourself. You have had a busy summer and your kids are now off to school. Take a deep breath mama and then go get a coffee. Have a lunch break with a friend. Take a bath. Read a book. Enjoy a moment of quiet if you are able.
Here are 5 additional ways to add some special in the day (or evening) for yourself:
Your children will be heading off to school for 160 days. Let’s face it, that’s a lot of lunches. After awhile, your kiddos are bound to get sick of eating the same things, so we are here to give you some school lunch inspiration.
A bento lunch is created by packing various lunch items in a reusable container that has at least 2 dividers. You can create a fairly simple bento lunch, or get super creative, using mini cookie cutters to cut food items into adorable and attractive shapes. Think cheese slices in the shape of stars or heart-shaped watermelon slices. You can also decorate food items to fit a specific theme. How elaborately you plan your bento lunches is entirely up to you.
Click on the image for 10 reasons why you should pack a bento lunch:
We scoured Pinterest to bring you our favorite school lunch ideas that are sure to please even the pickiest of kids.
Click on the image below to check it out.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Did you know you can buy your kids school clothes without breaking the bank? You can find great deals for that sweet little baby who outgrows those clothes you JUST bought faster than you can wash them, too. You just need to be organized and know where to look.
Before you leave the house, make a detailed list (including sizes) of what you need. Set a budget, and bring an envelope to stick your receipts in just in case you need to exchange anything. If you’re shopping with children, pack some snacks and fun things for them to do so you can make the most of your time and make it enjoyable for the whole family. (You might even budget for a milkshake break halfway through your trip!)
Check out these awesome tips for finding cheap and affordable kids’ clothes in Colorado Springs.
Be sure to also check out the following stores and sales:
These incredible consignment sales usually happen twice a year in the fall and spring. They are perfect for back-to-school shopping.
TAV Clothing Swap: August 29
Just Between Friends Consignment Sale: September 12 – 16
Munchkin Market of Woodland Park Consignment Sale: October 4 – 6
We have compiled the weekly ads for some of your favorite shopping spots, so that you don’t miss out on any current deals. Remember, ads vary by store location and date, so be sure to select your neighborhood store at each site and double check the “valid thru” dates.
Target Weekly Ad If you are ordering online, some items receive free ship-to-store or free pickup. As you scan the ads, keep your eye out for the free gift card deals with purchase. Don’t forget to check out the Cartwheel App for additional deals.
Kohls Weekly Ad Stay on top of current deals, by selecting the Coupons tab at Kohls.com. Receive additional savings by becoming a YES2YOU Rewards member. Save even more when you shop during Kohl’s Cash events. Plus. when shopping online, you can take advantage of free store pickup.
JCPenney Weekly Ad Be sure to click on the Coupons tab for additional savings. When shopping online, you can receive free same day pickup if you place your order by 3 PM.
WalMart Weekly Ad Once you designate your store, click on the Coupons tab to see additional deals. If shopping online, take advantage of the free store pickup.
YMCA: Serving School Districts: 8, 11, 12, 14, 20, 22, 38, 49 & Charter Schools. Check the site to see if YMCA care is available at your child’s school.
Jr. Academy Kids: Located within local elementary schools in Districts 3, 8, 11 and 20.
Discovery Kids at Rockrimmon: Serving District 11 and District 20 with transportation provided to and from nearby schools. Contact their office to find out if your school participates.
Young Scholars Academy: They bus to multiple districts and elementary schools. Call to see if they are able to provide this service to your school-ager.
Kid’s Club 360: Serving several schools within District 2 and 8.
KinderCare: With several locations in Colorado Springs, there is sure to be a center near you. Call the number on the website to inquire about care for your child.
Base49: Before and After School Care for K – 5th Grade students in the District 49 coordinated elementary schools.
Springs of Life Children’s Center: Transportation to and from school is provided for several District 11, District 2 and Charter schools. Check the website to see if your child’s school is included.
Boys and Girls Club: This program is available to various schools within District 11 and District 2, with after-school transportation provided.
Whether your child is having difficulty tackling a new subject, unmotivated in school, looking to surpass peers or getting ready to prepare for the SAT, Colorado Springs has some great tutoring programs to fit your child’s needs.
K-12 tutoring in most subjects. This professional teacher helps students reach their peak in academic performance and confidence through flexible, customized, private tutoring.
Tutor Doctor is a leader in providing affordable one-on-one supplementary education to students and adults through offering in-home tutoring to families.
A digital marketplace to connect students to independent tutors. With Wyzant, you can find local tutors for over 250 subjects.
The Right Equation Math Tutor
Private tutoring near Coronado, Manitou Springs and Cheyenne Mountain High Schools.
Sage Affordable Tutoring
Comprised of retired educators, licensed substitute teachers, current certified teachers and other highly experienced learning instructors who offer personal one-on-one tutoring and small group sessions.
Lively Minds Tutoring
Lively Minds Tutoring strives to foster academic strengths, cultivate effective study skills, and instill a genuine confidence built on achievements.
Colorado Springs Tutoring
A Locally Owned, Full-Service, Tutoring Firm Specializing in Science, Math, & Test Preparation
Varsity Tutors is a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
After School University
After School University provides online tutoring, test preparation and leadership training that expands opportunities for you and your child for a lifetime!
UCCS Community Resource: Local Tutors for Elementary – High School
This incredible resource lists numerous private tutors in the Colorado Springs area.
Sylvan Learning Center
At Sylvan, you’ll find instructors who personalize a learning experience for each and every student — and know how to make education more engaging! No matter if your child is just starting the 1st grade or is entering his or her final year of high school, our team of education experts is ready to help your child discover a love of learning and guide him or her on the path to success, both inside and outside the classroom.
LearningRx works with struggling students and even adults, training the cognitive skills the brain uses to read, remember, learn, and pay attention. Many struggles with learning, reading, memory, and attention are caused by weak cognitive skills. At LearningRx, we identify weak skills using a comprehensive Cognitive Assessment, and then we target and train those skills by pairing clients with personal brain trainers for fun, challenging exercises for the brain.
At Kumon, our math and reading programs help children of all ages and levels become eager, independent self-learners. Our students gain a sense of confidence that will help them in the classroom and beyond.
Huntington Learning Center
At Huntington, we are the leading tutoring and test prep provider. We create individualized, results-driven programs to help your child succeed. We provide students with the ability to master the academic skills needed in Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Phonics, Vocabulary and Study Skills.
College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors
First, we personally match your child with the right Tutor for their learning style and individual needs. Then we put your child in a flexible, focused Learning Center with all the resources and support they need to improve their testing scores. And you get the peace of mind knowing you have a true partner in your child’s success.
LP Learning Center
The LP Learning Center offers tutoring and support for all school types, all class courses, and all specialties in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area.
When math makes sense, kids leap way ahead – whether they started out far behind or already ahead in math. Our formula for teaching kids math, the Mathnasium Method™ has transformed the way kids learn math for over a decade across 800+ centers in the US and Canada. There are three locations to serve you in Colorado Springs and Monument.
Children’s Literacy Center
Children’s Literacy Center provides free one-to-one tutoring to elementary school children reading below grade level.
Springs Literacy Center
We are a locally owned and operated Literacy Center serving students of all ages with language-based learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other undiagnosed difficulties with reading, spelling, handwriting, comprehension, and written composition.
For the first time ever, the creators of the SAT have given Khan Academy exclusive access and advice to build a personalized practice program for anyone, anywhere. These tools are free and available now for every student to take ownership of their learning and their future.
We provide comprehensive SAT and ACT prep programs in Colorado Springs, including classroom courses and private tutoring. Our SAT and ACT prep programs raise test scores, help students gain admission to great schools and save parents thousands of dollars through scholarships.
Sylvan Learning Center
Sylvan of Colorado Springs South’s SAT prep program will help your son or daughter manage the pressure, feel confident on test day and raise those crucial SAT scores.
Sage Affordable Tutoring
Whether you are looking to raise your current score to earn that scholarship or simply increase your chances for college admission, we assess and differentiate to meet your specific needs. Simply put, we provide the best ACT Prep and SAT Prep Colorado Springs has to offer.
College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors
Our SAT Prep Program is marked by one-on-one, individually-focused coaching. Nationally, we have coached thousands of students through ACT, SAT, and PSAT preparation.
The College Board: Daily Practice App
Make practice part of your routine—any place, any time. Answer a question a day on the Daily Practice for the New SAT app and get immediate feedback.
Is math homework getting you down? Are finals freaking you out? Do you need to brush up before the ACT, SAT, GRE, or GED? Our experienced math tutors can help you improve your grades and take the stress out of math. Free tutoring for all ages and levels.
East Library: Thursdays, 4 – 6 p.m.
Library 21c: Wednesdays, 3:30 – 6 p.m.
Monument Library: Mondays, 3:30 – 7 p.m.
Sand Creek Library: Saturdays, 10 a.m. – noon
Live homework help and skills building from expert tutors in math, science, social studies and English plus writing and reading assistance. Designed for grades K – Adults. Tutors available online Monday – Sunday from 2 – 11 p.m.
PPLD: Paws to Read
Practice reading aloud and improve fluency by sharing a story with one of our loveable Paws-to-Read therapy dogs.
Monday: 4 p.m. at Monument, 2nd and 4th Mondays at 3 p.m. at Fountain
Tuesday: 3 p.m. at Manitou Springs, 3:30 p.m. at East and 4 p.m. at Ruth Holley, Old Colorado
Wednesday: 3:30 p.m. at East, Library 21c, Penrose, Rockrimmon and 4 p.m. at Monument, Cheyenne Mountain
Thursday: 3:30 p.m. at East
Friday: 4 p.m. at Sand Creek
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. at East and 1st Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. at Ute Pass
Learn a new language or get additional help for a current language class. Choose from 71 languages, including 19 English as a Second Language (ESL) options. You will need a library card and PIN to use this service.
Your kids work hard while in school, break up the school week with fun after-school activities that will get them exercising, socializing and developing their talents.
Pikes Peak Athletics: 602 Elkton Drive, 1880 Weiskopf Point, 125 E. Clubhouse Drive, and 1111 N. 31st
SafeSplash Swim School: 13171 Bass Pro Dr.
PPYMCA: Various Locations
Little Fins Swim School: 2233 Academy Place and 1625 Medical Center Point
Donna’s Dolphins Swim School: 5470 Powers Center Point #130
Mermaid Cove Swim School: 4456 Northpark Drive
Flipshack: Weekly gymnastics, tumbling, and urban gym classes, 1789 S. 8th Street
Aerials: Weekly gymnastics, parkour, and Shangri-La Aerial Arts classes, 3536 Hartsel Drive
Precizion509: Weekly gymnastics and urban gym classes, 7235 E U.S. Hwy 24
Kinetic Gymnastics: Weekly gymnastics and tumbling classes, 30 Widefield Blvd #E
Stars Gymnastics: Weekly gymnastics and tumbling & tramp classes, 3870 Mallow Rd.
PPYMCA: Weekly youth gymnastics classes, locations vary
Dance Unlimited: 7850 N. Academy Boulevard
Colorado Ballet Society: 8570 Criterion Drive #154
Barbara Ellis Studio of Dance: 1595 York Road
Kemper Dance Academy: 3958 N. Academy Blvd Suite 106
Turning Pointe School of Dance: 5540 Library Lane
Artistry in Motion: 7661 N. Union Blvd
Jillian’s School of Dance: 5229 Galley Rd.
Summit Dance Works:5958 Stetson Hills
Champions Martial Arts: 2599 Airport Rd
United States Karate Academy: 207-A West Rockrimmon Blvd, 1769 S. 8th Street, and 4868 Galley Road
Coppock’s Kenpo Karate Academy: 1815 North Circle Dr
Gracie Barra Children’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: 1360 Academy Blvd N
Calvary Family Martial Arts & Fitness: 2361 N. Academy Blvd
Family Martial Arts: 3239 South Academy Blvd #140
U.S. Taekwondo Center: 16328 Jackson Creek Pkwy., 3478A Research Pkwy., 6217 Lehman Drive, 5799 Stetson Hills Blvd. Ste# 110, and 1316 N. Academy Blvd.
Universal Kempo Karate Schools: Numerous locations in Monument, Colorado Springs and Falcon.
Library 21C Elementary Make: Science and art-focused projects for ages 5 to 8. Occurs twice per month from 4:30 – 5:30.
Sand Creek Library After School Adventures: Head to Sand Creek Makerspace every Friday from 4:00 – 5:00 to experiment with art and science. For school age children 5-12 years old with a favorite adult.
Library 21C Wired Wednesday: The first Wednesday of each month, kids can take part in an open lab to experiment with various electronics and robotics activities.
Penrose Library Elementary S.A.L.T. Explore S.A.L.T. (Science, Art, Literature, and Technology through hands-on activities on Thursdays from 4:00 – 5:00/
Bemis School of Art: 818 Pelham Pl
Studio 101: 2609 W Colorado Ave
PPYMCA Art Club: Various locations
Cottonwood Center for the Arts Art Club: 427 E Colorado Ave
Kids Can Draw Fine Arts Classes: 3617 Betty Dr. Suite S.
Colorado Springs Conservatory: 415 S. Sahwatch St
Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale: 1409 Palmer Park Blvd
Academy of Children’s Theatre: 2314 Vickers Drive