30 Awesome Ways to Celebrate the Start of School in Atlanta
August in Atlanta means back-to-school time for most students; though it still feels like summer outside, the air conditioning is (hopefully) turned down low in classrooms around the city. Transitioning from the carefree days of summer to scheduled routines can be tough for kids of all ages (don't even get us started on that school bus pick-up time). We think Atlanta students deserve a pat on the back for making that responsible adjustment, especially since academic calendars in Atlanta start up while friends outside the area continue enjoying summer camp, water parks, and weeknight fun. We've got great ways to reward your little students' return to the classroom!
If your kiddos are on the younger side and don't need to worry about the academic calendar yet, we've got great ideas for toddlers in Atlanta, too! Enjoy the great outdoors by visiting Atlanta Playgrounds for Toddlers, go nuts with warm-weather activities this Summer with Atlanta Toddlers and Preschoolers, and spend a weekday Picking Peaches in Atlanta.
Celebrate the Start of Atlanta Schools: Feel-Good Events
1. First Friday Happenings in Atlanta - August 5
For some school districts, Friday, August 5 commemorates the end of the first week of school. Acknowledge this milestone with great events that night, including Flicks on the Bricks in Duluth, First Fridays in Canton, Pics in the Park in Dunwoody, and many more!
2. Say Goodbye to Summer Party at Avalon - August 5-6
Self-explanatory: Enjoy the last embers of summer at the ultimate kids party!
Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) says goodbye to its popular Butterfly Encounter exhibit by early May. Photo courtesy of CNC
3. Butterfly Encounter at Chattahoochee Nature Center - August 5-7
Reward your student by taking him or her for the last weekend of CNC's popular Butterfly Encounter exhibit.
4. Encanto Sing Along Film Concert - August 7
Talk about Bruno all you want at this fun-filled Encanto movie/concert in Alpharetta
5. Roswell End of Summer Bash - August 13
Depending on when your child's school starts back up, celebrate students at Roswell's awesome event.
6. Kidz Bop Live 2022 - August 14
Jam to the roudiest kids in the Top 40 at the Kidz Bop live concert.
Illuminarium is a unique experience for kids of all ages.
Celebrate the Start of Atlanta Schools: Special Things to Do
Visit Illuminarium after school for an otherwordly experience. Kids love this multi-sensory, immersive experience, and it's out of the heat! Current kid-friendly shows (called "experiences") center on space and Wonderland.
8. Ice Cream
Reward the start of school, while the weather still scorches, with ice cream! It's creamy, frosty, and the flavor choices are endless.
Take an afterschool dip in your neighborhood swimming pool or spend a weekend at an Atlanta hotel with day passes.
Head to Austell for theme park fun during a weekend; if you have more driving time, travel a little farther to more Georgia theme parks.
Atlanta playgrounds are great after-school activities, especially because it promotes physical and social skills.
The Fringe at Area 51 in Roswell offers two, 18-hole courses.
12. Mini Golf
Enjoy the outdoors with a round of mini golf at the best Atlanta courses.
If your kids whine for air conditioning, find an indoor activity to celebrate their academic successes. Awesome rewards can be laser tag, ice skating, arcades, and more!
14. Time Capsule
Remember the good (and even not-so-good) memories of the first week or month of school by saving any physical reminders of the time frame; then at the end of the year, or perhaps wait even longer, open the time capsule and compare the beginning to the end.
Allow kids to let loose outside the classroom walls by zipping, hanging, and otherwise monkeying around at Atlanta courses.
16. Georgia Aquarium
Show your appreciation for your child's hard work by taking him or her to the amazing Georgia Aquarium. Though the Atlanta attraction does get crowded on the weekends, it's definitely worth it!
Besides standard U.S. flavors, World of Coca-Cola offers funky flavors from their global partners. Photo by Elsa Simcik
Cheers to a job well done with Atlanta's signature beverage, Coca-Cola, and a visit to the fizzy drink's namesake museum! This reward trip may be better suited for older children and teens.
18. Water Parks
Celebrate the start of school with a visit to the coolest (literally), wildest, wettest water parks in the area!
Splatter Studio offers paintbrushes, tools, and water guns(!) for artists to explore their creative sides.
19. Splatter Studio
For the most part, kids need to behave in class and stay organized; let them color (or paint) outside the lines by reserving a splatter time at Splatter Studio.
20. Schedule a play date
Host a play date to forge strong bonds with new classmates and maintain existing friendships with kids who may not be in your child's current class.
21. Mommy & Me Mani-Pedi
Kids have been writing, erasing, cutting, and fidgeting since school began. Pamper their little nails (and sneak in your own mani-pedi) by having a mommy & me spa day at kid-friendly nail salons, like Sugarcoat that offers a Miss Priss nail service for kids 10 and under.
Pie-loving kids will love creating their own masterpieces at Doodle Pies.
22. Doodle Pies
My kids are OBSESSED with this Roswell pie shop, where customers select ingredients to make their own personal pie inventions.
If homework is finished, take your child to a mid-week matinee, or enjoy the last of summer's outdoor movie nights in Atlanta with a weekend show.
24. Atlanta Braves
Kids who love baseball will love a reward in the form of Atlanta Braves tickets! There's a long homestand in mid August, against the New York Mets and Houston Astros, or look a little later in the season for more home games.
If this milkshake from The Yard doesn't say celebration, we're not sure what does?!
25. Say it with Sugar
26. Book Shops
27. Special Dinners, Kids' Choice
For one whole week of school, let your children choose what's for dinner (within reason). Better yet...let them help you make it if they enjoy cooking!
28. Grandparent Catch-up
Celebrate multiple people with one thoughtful activity! Allow your child an in-person visit or Zoom call with Nana and Papa: Grandparents feel needed and in the loop and children get to talk about school with a truly enthralled audience.
Give your child a set amount of cash to shop for what he or she loves, like accessories, comic books, or candy from Rocket Fizz in Marietta
29. Shopping Spree
Support local shops, like Rhen's Nest Toy Shop, Richard's Variety Store, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop, Eddie's Trick Shop, and let your child choose something to take home. Don't forget to set a budget before stepping into the store!
Bring the family to Stone Mountain Park on the weekend for a full day of fun, with attractions like Summit Skyride, Dinotorium, scenic railroad, and more.
All photos by Melanie Preis unless otherwise noted.