A simple cone can transform the bemoaned first day of school – the Tuesday after Labor Day for many southeast Michigan kids, if not sooner – into something more like Christmas morning!
The schultüte (pronounced shool-too-teh) is a long-time gift-giving tradition in Germany. The term is commonly translated to “school cone.” A child receives one of these goody-filled cones on the morning they begin first grade. Each is custom packed with a variety of sweet items that take the nervous sting out of the big day. The trend’s recently popped up here in the States, too, with KinderCone.com. Here, you can buy themed cones, from art to writing to scholar, created by Chicago mom of four Vivian Lie.
It’s a simple, exciting custom, Lie explains on her site – “whether you give a KinderCone for the very first time or every year as a welcome back gift.”
Making a homemade version only takes a few simple materials and a little time. Try the MetroParent.com DIY how-to for crafting this cornucopia for your little scholar.
- 1 piece of colorful poster board
- Packing tape
- Hot glue
- Decor like felt, foam, ribbon glitter glue, etc.
- Fun school supplies, snacks and other small goodies
- Tissue paper
- Ribbon to tie it off
- To prep, tear off two small pieces of packing tape (about 3″ each) and stick them to a safe nearby surface. Then, place the piece of poster board in front of you, “hotdog style,” so that the longer sides are “north” and “south.”
- Create the basic cone. From the bottom left corner, roll up a small section (a couple inches) of the poster board. The “upper left” point of this section will lead the tip of the cone, and the “lower right” will turn into the opening. Slowly, roll this little section upward, being mindful to keep the “tip” portion tighter. Continue till you roll up all the available board. Note: The board may slip a bit. Go ahead and retry it (this stuff’s durable!). Just focus on creating as tight of a point as you can. The opening should be a bit wider than the tip.
- Now, let’s tweak. Hold the tip firmly with one hand; then, reach your other hand into the top of the open end and “spider” your fingers to expand it, spreading it out to about 7 inches diameter. You’ll notice one pointy edge sticking up; gently tug on this if you need to tighten the tip. If all else fails, just re-roll a bit.
- Grab the tape pieces and wrap them securely around the tip. (You gotta do this one-handed – which is why pre-tearing the tape helps!) Only go up a couple inches. This will be enough to basically hold the cone together.
- Inside the cone, you’ll see a stray flap of paper sticking up. Secure its point down with another piece of tape or two.
- Back on the outside of the cone, now, secure the seam, which is running lengthwise, with targeted dabs of hot glue. Or just slap on more tape (you can always cover it with ribbon or something decorative).
- The opening of your cone still has a weird point sticking out. As evenly as you can, snip that off with scissors. No worries if it’s a little wavy.
- And now, the fun part. Decorating! Festoon your child’s cone with his or her name, foam gold stars, felt critters, ribbons, glitter glue – whatever you wish.
- Wrap the custom-picked goodies in tissue paper. You can cinch up the paper around the goodies, leaving a big poof at the top, and tie it off with ribbon; that part will protrude from the top of the cone. Or, when you’re done putting items inside, just fluff some extra paper out of the top, gift bag-style. Hint: Don’t have enough to fill the cone? Stuff the bottom with scrap paper.
- Give your son or daughter their “school cone” as a first-day-of-school morning surprise!
Give your kid the best childhood ever. It's all waiting in our FREE Bucket List for Kids: 101 Things Your Kids Should Do Before They Grow Up guide. Download it for FREE right now! BONUS: Get a FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine for more tips and fun.