Our older daughter was born in Germany. At the time, I taught first grade there, and I fell in love with this German First Day of School tradition: the Schultüte, or Zuckertüte as it is called in the east, where we lived and where the tradition originated. Translated as 'School Cone' or 'Sugar Cone', it is a special tradition just for kids entering grade one....
Beginning first grade is a really huge deal in Germany. It is when kids begin real school, and their first taste of academic learning. Schools have a special welcoming ceremony for new first graders, similar to a graduation ceremony (but in reverse, I suppose, since they are starting rather than leaving!) Children wear their best clothes (often traditional clothing), parents, siblings, and grandparents come, and the ceremony involves passing out these cones filled with goodies and supplies for school. It is such a sweet tradition, and so wonderful to see the excitement and pride in all those little faces as they receive their Schultüten/Zuckertüten.
We decided early on that when Princess Pea started first grade, even if we weren't still living in Germany, we would follow this tradition in honour of her birthplace.
Since Schultüte/Zuckertüte are not sold here, I had to make my own - but I suspect I would have done the same if we were still in Germany, as it is so easy (and fun!) to do!
Simply get some poster board, roll it into a cone, fasten with tape inside, decorate any way you like, and fill with school supplies and little treats! If you want it to be really traditional, you could line it with tissue paper or tulle and tie the tissue/tulle with a pretty ribbon at the top, but it's not necessary. (I suspect that's just to keep the items from falling out en route to school - we managed just fine without it.)
We had our own little ceremony by taking Princess Pea out for lunch the day before her first day of school and presenting her cone there. She could not have been more thrilled to get hers! I filled it with school-themed items: alphabet gummy candies and alphabet cookies, a pencil case, pencils etc., a clock, some books, and so on.
You can read more about Zuckertüten/Schultüten here and here. I'm so in love with this tradition!