Back To School Traditions ~ Schultuete School Cones

by Destri on August 16, 2010

Are you looking for a fun tradition for back to school? How about a Schultuete, a German tradition that had been around since the early 1800′s?  In Germany a cone given to a child on their first day of school filled with sweets, trinkets and back to school supplies.  It’s no wonder this idea has stuck around for centuries!

I don’t know about you but my favorite part of Christmas is filling the stocking. Finding all sorts of fun and unique gifts to tuck inside. So while doing a little research on back to school traditions, the Germans took the cake!  There are articles all over the web talking of the cones, but I found this one to be the shortest and sweetest, if you’re interested.

Here is a picture I found on flickr with a young German girl and her Schultuete, and there are a bunch more fun ones here.

Traditionally the cone was only presented to a child that was first entering school, like kindergarten, but appears to have since expanded to involve all the school age kids in a household.  Such a fun way to make a big deal of something your older kids may not be to thrilled about :)!  My kids are too young (thank goodness) for school just yet so I thought I would make smaller cones for my nieces and nephews to help them usher in the new school year.  Here is the how to:

How To Make A Schultuete


  • paper – I used scrapbook paper for this cone, which runs a little bigger than standard card stock.  Poster board would be great for larger cones.
  • glue stick or staples
  • goodies to fill the cone
  • tissue paper
  • embellishments if you want to decorate the cone

I used a glue stick since my cones are smaller, but if you are making a larger cone you may want to use a stapler.

Roll the paper into a cone shape with the glue already applied and then let dry.

Of all the cones I saw the top was flat, but since I am lazy a rebel I left that little point alone. Do what makes you happy.

To embellish the cone I spelled out my nieces name with stickers and then tied on a little rickrack.  You could really go crazy with the decorating if you wanted, I even read where some kids decorate and make their own, so again, do what makes you happy.

I took my tissue paper, tore it half for the size of my cones and then folded it into a cone shape and put in the cone.  Now for the fun part….

All the back to school goodies!  I had to limit myself because I was buying to fill 7 cones, so I just bought a few fun basics and then threw in some hugs and kisses for good measure.  For the older kids I included some things for their lockers too.  Just stuff them in there!

Then I tied the top with some curly ribbon.  All done!

I can’t wait to do this for my kids, what a great way to start the school year, and a fun way to introduce them to a new culture and their traditions.

How about you?  Any fun traditions in your family?  Country?  I would love to hear them!


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina August 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Oh! I wish I had this over the weekend! I LOVE it! My tot started pre-K…well…I guess it’s technically PRE-pre-K. But, you know how I love rituals, so I started to do some new things this year.
1.) we had a “back to school feast”. He had his choice of whatever he wanted. (He chose spaghetti with meatballs, crab ragoon and ice cream sundaes with sprinkles). I made him a little paper crown to wear.
2.) I made a sign with the year and the name of his school (in the future, we’ll just put the grade level) and he held it up with his backpack on for a picture. This way I have a snapshot of his first day every year.
I am definitely doing this little cone next year. It might be cute to serve at the “feast” next to his place setting?


Tina August 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Okay…so I was just checking my daily read list and the most fabulous Nie Nie also has a Back to school feast. I swear I did not steal the name from her. I swear! I will have to call it something else from now on because I feel like a big poser. LOL
red in the face,


Kim August 16, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I got a Schultuete every year before school. My mom learned about it when we were stationed in Germany. I started school there and the neighbors told her about it. It became a steady tradition, even through high school. Then I would get cool pens (you remember with the fluffy junk on it), nail polish, a mirror for my locker, etc.
Great craft idea and you brought back so many memories…thanks!!!


simone August 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

hey and hello from germany…..
it`s a great tradition to have a schultüte when you first start school
here is a i think really great tutorial
it is in german but as there are some pic. in the ebook i guess it will not be a problem
we will move to Oz soon but our daughter will sure get one when shr starts pre school over in queensland.
thanks for all the inspiration
Grüße Mone


stephanie August 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm

so cute! We have a picture of Opa (my father in law) holding his exactly like this on his first day of school in Germany, too…


kristy August 23, 2010 at 7:05 am

Love this…I will make these today and bring them with me when I pick up the kiddos!


Amanda August 25, 2010 at 3:50 am

I have seen these cones a few times now and can’t wait to make my daughter her first one next year for kindergarten! Yours came out fantastic, just adorable!


Molly Hyde-Caroom August 25, 2010 at 4:38 am

We moved to Germany last year during the middle of the school year. We are homeschooling and I had wanted to do this for them. Now, my kids love crafting so much that I know they will want to make their own! SO, on the” first” day (or the day before) school I am going to have the kids make their own and learn about the German tradition (we saw someone walking down the street with one the other day!) and put them out on their beds like stockings to be filled during the night! If I remember, after I do our blog post, I will come back and post it here!
Thanks for your post, your cone was adorable!


Barb August 25, 2010 at 6:18 pm

This was a tradition in our home that our mother brought with her from Germany. None of my friends have a clue what it is, and since I don’t have any children, they get blessed with a cone when they start Kindergarten.

I just completed one for our friends’ daughter, Grace. First I folded the paper to the size I wanted, made a light pencil mark and then unrolled it so that I could decorate it. Once finished, I used double-sided tape to make it neat (like a 5 year old really cares! LOL) Pushed a piece of colorful celophane wrap down into the center so that it looked “wrapped” and began the filling. Okay…. So I went a bit overboard and it’s HUGE, but that’s what it’s all about…. right?!

Here’s what I included: scissors, calculator, note cards with name, stapler, stickers, ruler, pencil sharpener, eraser, chalk, doodle pad, letter stencil, sneaker key chain, change purse, pencil case, bubbles, slinky, rubber duck, crayons, glue sticks, colored pencils, markers, small notebook, pinwheel, little stuffed monkey, an ice cream cup with a cow spoon and scooper to match! I haven’t put the sweets in yet, but plan on doing a bar of good German chocolate!

It’s a wonderful memory and the child will completely enjoy it!

Viel Spaß


Dymbrulee August 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I was given these also as a child. When I was married I used to make big cones (think poster board size) for all my nieces and nephews and deliver them on the morning of the first day of school, just before the bus would roll up. I have dozens of cute pictures of smiling kids holding their treasures that I will cherish forever now that they are no longer a part of my life.


Lara August 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Love this idea!

We do a back to school feast, a la NieNie. I stole it from her several years ago and my daughters really look forward to it each year.

I have all of their school supplies waiting to go, I think it will be fun to present them at the feast. I don’t know if I’ll make a cone, but I do like the idea of giving them to them in a fun way the night before.

Thanks for sharing!


Mitch Young February 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

I love school cones and enjoyed the tradition when I lived in Linden, Germany during the 1970′s. The web page is a collection of new and antique photo’s of kinder with school cones.


Jenny Skinner June 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

This is such a great idea! It’s also a sweet way to wrap little gifts in general, for many occassions. I like the idea of putting their grade level on it and taking a photo.


Destri June 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Oh, that is a good idea!


nicole July 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten to make one! I made a small one last year when my daughter started preschool, and now that she is starting her 2nd year of preschool, I want to make it more special!

Luckily I have 3 more weeks :)


Marietta August 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

My Mother In Law is from Hamburg and told me of this when my twins were starting KIndergarten. I could not order one online in time or contact my cousins in Germany to send them so I made them as well. I used a poster board and clear tape with tissue they were huge as in Germany I filled them with everything from A-Z and personalized each with my Son’s favorite pics of toys as well as my daughter they loved it – I do this every year and all the kids want around them want one wondering where I bought it. Their happiness excitement and joy when they see them is priceless!


Vivian Lie August 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

I like the ones you crafted yourself and this is what mine looked like (not quite this nice) and that is what made me think of starting KinderCone, my company. I wrote a journal called Me, Myself and First Grade and developed a little character called Karli the cat. If you want to see the finished product go to

I hope this was ok to post – but I thought it would be fun to see the designs and especially the journal. On Facebook there are contests and you can win KinderCones as well…


Soozi August 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I love this idea and being able to adapt the contents to her age-group is just fabbidooz. My wee girl starts P1 on Thursday so I’ve got a couple of days to hunt for goodies. Thanx loads cos its the traditional type thing that’s sadly being lost these days, over here anyway so this is perfect.
Thanks again. Soozi x


amber August 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I forgot about this tradition. My daughter has already started first grade (three weeks ago) but I am going to make one for her anyway. I would love to see her face. We used to get these on the first day of school as well. I think maybe at the end of the month will be our tradition since I was so silly this year. My step kids live with their mom and I will make these for them and have them shipped for their first day of school next week. Thanks for reminding me!


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