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, especially for the last day of school activities.
Here are Some Ideas for Your End of the Year Fun:
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- Write a Letter: Letter writing can make great end of year ELA projects! 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: Offer learning experiences for middle schoolers or elementary students by giving each student 20-30 minutes to teach a mini-lesson about something they’re passionate about. They could even 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.
We have these ready-to-go activities for 5th graders, 4th graders, and 3rd graders in MIBUnlimted! This activity can also help enhance writing skills!
We asked our readers for their best ideas for end-of-the-year culminating activity fun ideas! Here’s what they said!
Minds in Bloom End of the Year Category – We have more where this came from!
- Go Outside! Check out Check out this post for classroom games and learning games you can play outdoors..
- Classroom Games: One way to celebrate the end of the year is by organizing exciting classroom games that will keep students engaged and entertained. These games for school can be customized to suit the interests and age groups of your students, so that everyone has a great time.
- Classroom Games for bigger kids: Remember to include a variety of classroom games for students to accommodate different interests and learning styles. Big kids love games too! Host some games for middle schoolers like a trivia challenge, a dance off, or a friendly class debate. Some other examples of classroom games middle school students enjoy might be a team-building exercise or a problem-solving challenge.
- 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? This activity is also great for building reading comprehension skills!
- Put on a Show: This is a fun lesson idea that could be for parents, a younger class, your district’s middle school students, 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. Helping to set up an elementary classroom could be one of many fun high school activities that allow big kids to mentor little kids!
- 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, Crazy Hair Day, Fictional Character Day, Rainbow Day (wear as many colors as possible), and Stuffed Animal Day (everyone brings a plushie).
- 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.”
- After school activities for kindergarten and beyond: After school activities for students could include story time, simple crafts, or a mini dance party.
- 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. These are also great ways to increase school spirit!
- 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). Award ceremonies are fun activities for high school students too! We’re never too old to be celebrated!!!
Check out these super fun End of the Year Student awards!
- 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.
- Art: Incorporating end of school year craft ideas and art projects into your end-of-year activities allows students to express their creativity. You can create a memorable art lesson by encouraging students to work collaboratively on a large mural or collage. For fourth grade art students, consider having them create self-portraits or design a class yearbook cover. To make the art lesson meaningful, connect the project to a specific topic or theme, like the environment or community building.
- 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. Here’s a free Would You Rather activity for the summer!
- 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. It would be fun if this was also one of the first day of school activities that could be finished out these last days!
- 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: Teach students to make ice cream all by themselves! 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. Younger grades can invite some high school students from the photography class to make it even better!
- Do a Community Service Project: Plant flowers, collect food for those in need, write letters to soldiers, pick up litter (with appropriate safety protocols in place), etc. Involve high school students or even a college student to be the leader of your community efforts! You can tie this into a social emotional learning lesson as well.
- Have an End-of-the-Year Party Featuring a Fun Classroom Game! Here are some games you might want to play.
- Have a picnic: You could invite parents or have a picnic to eat lunch with your whole grade level. An indoor picnic even makes for a fun classroom activity!
- 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!
- Build a Rube Goldberg Machine: Collaboratively design and construct a complex, chain-reaction machine to complete a simple task.
- Design a Class Board Game: Design a Class Board Game: Invent a board game that incorporates concepts and themes from the year’s lessons. Students can even create their own game cards that can be repurposed for next year’s class as task cards!
- Origami Workshop: Teach students the art of paper folding, creating a variety of origami designs.
- Plan a Classroom Gallery Walk: Display student work from throughout the year and allow students to tour the gallery, admiring and discussing their peers’ creations.
- Host a Trivia Contest: Organize a trivia contest covering material from the year, fostering friendly competition and reviewing key concepts.
Last-minute Activity Day Ideas for Elementary Students
Are you looking for some quick and easy last-minute activity ideas to keep your elementary students engaged and entertained? Look no further! Whether you’re looking for fun activities for 1st graders or 5th graders, these will be perfect!
Here are three fun activities that you can throw together with no prep or materials required:
Scavenger Hunt: Create a fun scavenger hunt around the school or classroom. You can make a list of items for students to find, or you can hide clues around the room for them to follow. This activity is perfect for getting your students up and moving, and it can be adapted for any age group.
Storytelling Time: Have a storytelling session where you encourage your students to share their favorite stories or books. You can take turns reading aloud, or you can have students share their own stories or favorite parts of a book. This is a great way to encourage creativity and imagination in your young students.
Movement Breaks: Take a break from traditional classroom activities and incorporate movement breaks throughout the day. You can lead your students in a fun dance party, a game of Simon says, or a simple stretching routine. This is a great way to energize your students and help them focus better in class.
Last-minute Activity Day Ideas for Middle School Students
Are you looking for some quick and easy last-minute activity ideas to keep your middle school students engaged during the end-of-year period? Look no further!
Here are three fun activities that you can throw together with no prep or materials required:
Talent Show: Challenge your students to showcase their talents in a spur-of-the-moment fun talent show. You can ask them to sing, dance, tell jokes, or perform any other talent they may have. This activity can be done in the classroom or outdoors, and all you need is a microphone or megaphone to make it even more fun.
Game Day: Dedicate a day to playing fun classroom games for teenagers. You can set up board games, card games, or simple games like charades or Pictionary. This is a great way to foster teamwork and friendly competition among your students.
Outdoor Fun: Take your students outside for some fresh air and sunshine. You can plan a game of capture the flag or kickball, or simply allow your students to socialize and enjoy the outdoors. This is a great way to break up the monotony of the classroom and enjoy some fun in the sun.
As the school year comes to a close, don’t forget to create lasting memories and foster a positive learning environment with these school year ideas and fun activities. We hope these ideas will inspire you to end the year on a high note and bring joy to your students.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts:
- 5 Ways to Prepare Students for Middle School
- Brain Breaks – 20 Awesome Ways to Energize Your Students
- 10 Ways to Make Learning Fun and Engaging
- Ideas for Student of the Week, Super Star, VIP etc.
- 31 Terrific Ways to Use Task Cards with Your Students
- 72 Creative Ways for Students to Show What They Know
- 36 Awesome Test Prep Review Ideas!
- 12 End of the Year Must Dos
- Parents: Please Don’t Do Your Kids’ Projects!
- The Creative Classroom – Let’s Get Down To It
- Kid-Created Task Cards!
- 10 Fun Activities to Practice Dictionary Skills
- End of the Year and Summertime Would You Rather Questions
Happy teaching and have a fantastic end of the school year!
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