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What is a 'Schultüte'?

Maybe you've already heard some Germans talk about the 'Schultüte' that children get on their first day of school.

If you've been translating this word straight into English, it may have let you think of a school bag - something like a backpack.

However, a Schultüte is not a bag for carrying books - that's what the Schulranzen is for.

No, it's so much better: a Schultüte is full to the brim with sweets and little presents.

In this article you'll learn: when and why children in Germany get a Schultüte and since when this tradition exists.

And in case your kid has his or her first day of primary school in Germany, you'll also get a lot of useful tips around the Schultüte.



How to pack the school cone



The first day of school

The first day of school is a huge step in every kid's life - that's for sure.

An event for the whole family

But in Germany, this day is also an important event for the whole family:

Granny, Grandpa, uncles and aunts - they may all come an accompany the child to school on this big day.

A new chapter in life

As long as kids are in kindergarten, they are only expected to play.

The idea is:

Children up to the age of six learn through play.

They might be taught things like how to clap syllables to identify the rhythm of speech. Or how to cut with scissors, draw and paint ... and maybe even how to write their names.

But apart from that it is considered more important that they develop their social skills.

You can read more about it here:

But now that he or she is starting school, the child becomes an ABC-Schütze (~ ABC-shooter) i.e. someone who wants to "conquer" the ABC and by that the world of the grown ups.

It is now, that the 'serious side of life' begins:

The children will need to concentrate during their lessons at school and diligently do homework in the afternoon.

Many parents know that this won't be an easy transition for their kid.

The Schultüte (school cone)

So, to celebrate the first day of school and also as a way of sweetening the farewell to early childhood, the child is given a Schultüte:

  • a bag made out of sturdy paper,

  • measuring up to 85 cm (33.5in)

  • shaped like a cone

  • tied at the top with a ribbon

  • filled with surprises

This Schultüte will be carried proudly to school by all kids.

Since when are there Schultüten (school cones)?

Schultüten are an old tradition in Germany. For more than 200 years, they have been sweetening the start into the "serious side of life" for children.

Reports show that they already existed in Thuringia and Saxony around the year 1781.

In those days, school cones were simple, small paper bags filled with what were common sweets then: raisins and other dried fruit.

In some regions, school cones are called Zuckertüte. With Zucker being sugar, you can easily guess what this means for the content!

When does the child get the Schultüte (school cone)?

Children receive their school cone on the morning of the first day of school, before they set off for school.

There are often smaller school cones for the siblings. That way, all children look forward to the big day together.

Should you buy or craft the school cone?

Buying a school cone

The easiest way is of course to buy a school cone. In stationary shops or toy shops you will find a large selection - either monochrome or colourful, for example with your favorite princesses, favorite heroes or to match your school bag. You may even get them with buttons producing a matching sound or with flashing LED lights.

Crafting a school cone yourself

Many families prefer to craft the school cone themselves.

For children, who love crafting and decorating, this can be really exciting and fun.

In some Preschools, there will be a fun crafting-evening for the parents.

If you would like to craft the school cone at home, there are crafting-sets that you can buy online or in a stationary shop.

It's always funny to see:

If the children are joining in the crafting, the the girl's scool cones end up being pink and glittery or with horses while the boys will choose space rockets, fire engines or wild dinosaurs.

What goes into the schol cone?

A school cone is full of surprises: Sweets, stationary, something practical, and little toys - just what your child loves.

More ideas:

  • small cars

  • a purse with a few Euros

  • pretty pens, a ruler or a funny eraser

  • a box for bread or a drinking bottle

  • stickers

  • a ball or a skipping rope

  • a book for early readers

  • a friends- book

  • t-shirt and sports pants

  • coloured tissues

  • a lucky charm

  • a worry eater (plush toy)

  • a voucher for going to the cinema/ scwimmin pool/ zoo

  • a letter from the whole family

  • ...

How to pack the school cone

For a kid, the school cone is huge.

That's why it should be packed well so it's not top-heavy.

Also, the tip should be well filled. Otherwise it can buckle. I always filled the tip for our kids with a big cone-bag of marshmallows - that was just right.

It is also important that in the end it won't weigh too much - after all, the proud kid still has to hold it!

Therefore, many books are not such a practical idea … but you could use a voucher instead.

When to open the school cone

The school cone is only opened after (!) the first day of school.

Luckily, the first day of school is usually a short one - so the children don't have to wait too long before they can open the school cone.

In the afternoon, there is plenty of time to play or to happily eat sweets.

What else do you need to buy for primary school?

Parents don't just need to think about the school cone - there are also many other things that your child will need in primary school.

You'll find a great overview in this PDF. I took a photo of each item your kid might need, so you know straight away what it's about:


The school cone is a particularly popular tradition in Germany culture.

If your child has their first day of school in Germany, they should definitely have a school cone to proudly carry to school on the first day of school.

You can make a school cone yourself ... or you can simply buy it.

Small gifts and - of course - lots and lots of sweets go into the school cone.

When packing, you should make sure that the tip is well filled, that it is not too heavy and that it is not top-heavy.

The school cone is only opened after the first day of school.

Learn more about the German school system >>>


How about asking your German friends and colleagues: almost everyone will have a photo at home in which he or she is proudly holding the school cone!


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