The last few weeks of school are a great time to do some of the those fun enrichment activities that you may have had to put off in order to fit in all that is required. Make some memories, get outside, and start thinking about the long days of summer ahead.
Here are Some Ideas for Your End of the Year Fun:
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- Write a Letter: Some ideas include having students write a letter to themselves reflecting on the past year and looking into the future. You can collect the letters and mail them just before the new school year starts. Another idea is to have students write thank-you notes to people who have helped them throughout the year – teaching aids, parent volunteers, office staff, even other students. Another favorite is to have your students each write a note to the new students coming into your class next year giving advice and encouragement on how to succeed in your class.
- Ask some end-of-the-year and summertime Would You Rather Questions. Get some for FREE here!
- Let Students Teach: Give each student 20-30 minutes to teach a mini-lesson about something he or she is passionate about or to lead the class in a game, song, or other group activity.
- Create a Class Survival Book: This is similar to the letter-writing activity above, except that each student contributes a page to a book that you keep in your class library. Over the years, you will have a collection of books advising future students about how to succeed in your class.
- Create a Class Memory book: While there are many pre-made books you can find on line, you can also have students create one themselves. How about allowing each student to contribute a page? For younger students, give them a prompt such as, My favorite activity this year… or A special memory I have… Older students can design their pages on computers. Make a copy for everyone.
- Go Outside! Check out this post for learning games you can play outdoors.
- Solve a Field Day MYSTERY: Teachers love our reader’s theater “Whodunnits” and this one is perfect for the end of the year! You won’t need to print anything, and by the time you’re done with the reader’s theater, you’ll have a classroom full of Sherlocks! Who Freed the Fish?
- Put on a Show: This could be for parents, a younger class, or just for your own amusement. Consider skits, dramatic readings, acting out a story, a talent show, a poetry slam (reading their own or reciting poems of their choice), story telling (like the Moth), or reading favorite pieces from the year.
- Make a Class Video: Use pictures taken throughout the year to make a video. Older students can add captions and music. Add in live footage of students talking about their favorite parts of the year.
- Reflect on the year, either verbally or in writing. I have an entire blog post dedicated to this topic! Read 20 End of the Year Reflection Questions for Students (and here are 20 more for teachers).
- Grab these FREE End of the Year Reflection Question Cards. Use them with Quiz, Quiz, Trade, in partners, or as writing prompts.
- Have a Camping Style Read-In: Set up tents, turn off the lights, and close the blinds. Kids can bring pillows and read by flashlight. Serve s’mores for snacks (you can make them in the microwave – yum!). You could even extend this for a few days or a week with a different activity each day.
- Have a White Elephant Book Swap: I have done this several times with adults (it was super fun!) and think it would work well with older students. The game is based on the gift-stealing game that is usually played during the holidays. Each student brings a book that they love, wrapped (they don’t have to be new). Play the game as usual, except that when a student’s book is selected to be unwrapped, that student shares a few sentences about the book – why he or she liked it, a quick summary, etc. While the books are being opened, a student or the teacher can make a list of all of them. Not only will each student get a new book to read over the summer, but they will also have a list of book recommendations from their classmates.
- Give Boom Learning a Try: Boom makes task cards paperless! Use pre-made decks or create your own. Here are some super cute and summery ones you can give a try!
- STEM and STEAM: Sadly, many teachers don’t get enough time to do much science and art during the school year. Now is a great time for STEM, STEAM, and project-based learning!
- Create a Theme for Each Day: Make each day of the last week fun and special with a daily theme. Some ideas include: Silly Hat Day, Pajama Day, Backwards Day, School Spirit/Colors Day, Hawaiian Day, When I Grow Up Day (dress as what they want to be), Western Day, Hawaiian/Beach Day, Clash Day (dress in clashing outfits), Inside-Out Day, Fictional Character Day, Rainbow Day (wear as many colors as possible), and Plushie Day (everyone brings a stuffed animal).
- Break Down the Classroom Together: Students will love shaving cream on desks to wash them, getting to take home bulletin board elements and other classroom items you are not planning to save for next year, and organizing manipulative and center materials. Here is a fun idea from Heather, a teacher in the Minds in Bloom Facebook Group: “We have to strip our walls. Instead of waiting until school is out, each day during the last week I take down just a few things. Then, we play ‘What’s Missing?’ The kids love trying to figure it out.”
- Make a Summer Keepsake: Give each student a beach ball, a Frisbee, or a sun umbrella for their classmates to sign with Sharpies.
- Make a Wearable Keepsake: Consider tie-dye bandannas, T-shirts, or baseball caps that everyone signs or hand-prints, or make friendship bracelets.
- Have an Awards Ceremony and give each student a fun and special award. Or make the award even more meaningful with these Colorable Awards (here are some for primary).
- Or just color: Let your students chill out and relax with these Free Reading Bookmarks. Or, if you want a whole lot of coloring, then try these Colorable Growth Mindset Posters.
- Make a Summer Top Ten Lists: Consider Top Ten Books I Want to Read, Top Ten Things I Want to Do, and Top Ten Places I Want to Go.
- Shake up your classroom management system: Everyone is restless, and your old system may be losing its effectiveness. Check out this blog post for more ideas from other teachers on handling this tricky time of year.
- Create a Graffiti Wall: Put up some light-colored butcher paper on the wall and have markers available for students to write about their favorite memories of the year, shout-outs for their classmates, and summer plans. This is a quick and easy way to temporarily decorate walls you have stripped for the last few days of school.
- Do a Countdown: Counting down until summer can be a fun way to track those last few weeks. One idea is to write the name of a different fun activity on colored construction paper strips. Make them into a chain, one for each day left. Each day, break the last link in the chain and do the activity on the strip. Your students will love the surprise. You could also do this with balloons by putting the idea inside the balloon.
- Toast to the Year: Use fruit punch or bottles of water and have your students make toasts remembering the year and looking forward to what is coming.
- Write Poems: Write end of the year Acrostics, Haikus, or try some free poetry activities!
- Focus on Random Acts of Kindness: Encourage your students to continue to be kind to each other and to find ways to be helpful. Grab this free Roll a RAK activity.
- Summer Activities Brainstorm: As a class, brainstorm as many fun summer activities as you can. Aim for ideas that are free and accessible (for example, drawing a hopscotch on the sidewalk or running in the sprinkler, rather than going to Disneyland). Type up the list and send a copy home with everyone.
- Sidewalk Chalk-O-Rama: Get a large bucket of sidewalk chalk and hit the playground. Students could draw memories from the past year, write shout-outs for friends and staff members, or just draw for the pure joy of creating something.
- Make a Timeline of the Year: Here’s another great way to temporarily decorate recently-bare walls. Put up a long piece of butcher paper on a wall (or use a hallway) and mark out the months and significant dates and events as a guide. Then, let your students fill it in with memories, stories, and pictures. You could also do this with sidewalk chalk.
- Rate the Teacher: Create a survey – ideally online with Google Forms or another app, but printable will work, too. Have students rate various aspects of your teaching on a scale and also leave comments. Consider using happy/neutral/sad faces for younger students. Good reflection for your students and some insight for you. You will likely get more honest and useful answers if you make the survey anonymous.
- Make Baggie Ice Cream: Here is a free recipe. You can get it along with 6 other free end of the year activities!
- Set up a Photo Booth: All you really need is a fun background, some props like silly glasses, hats, and feather boas, and a camera/phone. A printer is nice but not necessary. You could also make a sign with your grade level and room number.
- Do a Service Project: Plant flowers, collect food for those in need, write letters to soldiers, pick up litter (with appropriate safety protocols in place), etc.
- Have an End-of-the-Year Party: Here are some games you might want to play.
- Or have a picnic: Make it a potluck. You could invite parents or have a picnic with your whole grade level.
- Remember to Take Care of YOU! Get enough sleep. Indulge in end-of-the-year treats, but try and get some veggies in there, too. Get a pedicure. Take a bath. Have a glass of wine (or two). Spend time with friends. Take a few minutes to think back on how far your students have come and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Don't forget to grab your 7 FREE End of the Year Activities!
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