Approaching the end of the school year can be maddening! First off, us teachers are exhausted. Not just from the long school year, but from the grueling testing season. I think it’s safe to say that we all desperately need a well-deserved vacation. But wait! Before you head for a day at the beach, or a late night filled with binge watching your favorite Netflix shows, you still have at least a few weeks left in your classroom. And on top of that, your classroom is sure to be filled with students who are probably even more excited for the Summer break than you are.
So, what can we do to fill our final days of the school year with fun, engaging, and meaningful activities? We’ve listed some of our favorite end-of-year activities to help you close out the year in fun and meaningful ways. Be sure to share your favorite end-of-year activities in the comments below.
1. Paper Chain Countdown
Have your students create a paper chain to count down the days. On each piece of paper, let your students write a fun, simple activity. Then have your students take turns ripping off the paper for the day. Then do whatever activity is on the strip!
Some ideas to try:
You can use our free Countdown Chain Activities download to make this activity super easy and fast to set up! It has all these activities inside, and more. Just print, cut, and tape, and you're ready to go! You'll also get our End-Of-Year Brochure for free too! (see #4 below)
2. Display Your Students’ Work for Parents
It’s always fun for students to show off what they’ve been up to at school to their parents. It’s also a great way to collect and review all the work that’s been done in your classroom. You can put together portfolios, set up art exhibits, have poetry readings, book readings, etc. Personally, I always loved setting up art exhibits with the students. We’d invite the parents in for a poetry reading, and afterward, the students could show off their art work to their parents.
3. Have Your Students Make an End of Year Memory Book
Our kids love recording their thoughts and feelings about the school year. Write some prompts that help them reflect on the school year, have them record their thoughts and memories, and then make it into a book that they can take home and keep. You can do things like, my favorites (my favorite book I read this year, my favorite school lunch, my favorite memory), what I learned this year, funniest memory, what I want to be when I grow up, my best accomplishment this year, things I want to do this summer, etc.
If the thought of putting this activity together by yourself sounds daunting, I have a print-and-go book that you can purchase. Check it out here.
4. Have Your Students Write Something to Next Year’s Students
If done right, this activity can be a great way to let your kids reflect on the school year, while simultaneously giving you something to welcome new students next year. You can have them leave letters, notes, brochures, or any other format. To make it easy, you can download our free, print-and-go end-of-year brochure. The brochure also comes with our free Countdown Chain Activities! (see #1 above)
5. Make a Class Book
Create a class book to add to your own library. The students can check them out and read them for years to come! You can have each student complete a page individually or you can have them work in groups. One of my favorites was creating their own I-Spy books! I wrote a dedicated blog post about this activity here if you want to check it out. The kids worked together in groups to plan and create their page.
Some other ideas you can try are:
- Adjective Alphabet: students each take a letter of the alphabet and write/illustrate an adjective that matches that letter.
- Letters to Next Year's Class: Students write down advice and ideas to next year's students. They can write them individually or in groups.
- Class Recipe Book: Learn a little bit about each student's culture by letting them bring in their favorite recipe. Compile them into a book and give copies to each student.
- Art Project Portfolio: Let your students create an art project using different mediums. Have them sign their work like a real artist!
- Number Bonds/Fact Families: Have your students pick a fact family and write it down. Then they can write and draw as many different ways as they can that show that number!
There are SO many more ideas you can use. Kids love creating a book that they can come back to look at!
6. Use this End of Year Activity Pack
During the last days and weeks of school, there are often weird chunks of time that need filling. Whenever you have a few minutes after an assembly and before recess, pull out this activity pack! Your kids will love completing each activity!
7. Have a Classroom Award Ceremony
This is always a super fun activity at the end of the year. Put red butcher paper down on the floor to be the classroom "red carpet". Give your students awards that reflect their strengths and personalities. Do anything from academic excellence awards and diplomas to cleanest desk awards. You can even have nominations for different awards that you’re giving out. You can choose to invite parents or not. Personally, I always enjoyed doing award ceremonies just as a class. I always felt it was more fun for the kids. If you’re going for something more ceremonious, however, inviting parents may not be a bad idea.
If you like this idea but the thought of putting together all those awards sounds like too much, check out our editable End of Year Awards. You can use funny awards, serious awards, or both!
8. Give Your Students Extra Recess Time
We all know how important it is for our kids to move. I could cite article after article after article that each explain how our kids benefit from more play. Now that all that testing is over, let’s finally give our kids what they need! I usually gave them extra time to play in the form of a class game of kickball or dodge ball.
9. Do Service Projects as a Class
Staying with the theme of getting your kids moving, there’s all kinds of ways to help other faculty members in your school with the extra time. Think of the support staff – librarians, janitors, etc. Talk to them, and arrange an activity that they feel would help them. For example, every year, my class would clean up any debris that had collected on the school grounds. It was a small gesture that saved our janitor several hours of solo work each year, and he was always so appreciative.
10. Recruit Your Students for Your Yearly Classroom Purge
We try to keep an organized classroom throughout the year. But if you’re anything like me, by the end of the year, to say that my room needs a spring cleaning is an understatement. Why not get a classroom’s worth of helping hands to get the job done? The trick is to stay organized and on task while you clean. Start with a list of everything you’d like to get done in your room before summer hits. Then split up all your tasks, and assign task groups to their own series of tasks. For example, Task Group A would be responsible for organizing the classroom library, cleaning out the cabinets, and taking down a bulletin board. Other task groups would have their own series of tasks. Try to divvy up your tasks equally across task groups, and make a competition out of it!
Good luck and stay strong! The end is in sight!
PEACE, LOVE, AND STICKY NOTES,