The finish line is within reach! You can see it, your students can FEEL it, now you just have to survive it ;). end of year activities

End of the year school activities really can be INCREDIBLY fun because hopefully by this point in the year you have hit all of your standards, end of the year assessments are finished, and your students can really APPLY what they’ve learned throughout the entire year.

If you’re anything like me though, you want to ensure that end of the year activities are low-no prep. Which is why I’ve put together this list of end of year activities that will still impress any administrator that happens to wander in for a last minute evaluation, while allowing you and your students to end the year on a high note, having fun!

Reading or Working Outdoors

This is by far, the easiest thing I love doing with my students at the end of the year (or really any time the weather is nice throughout the year.) Reading is super simple because you can just have students grab a book and head outdoors to find a comfortable place to read. (Just be sure to set parameters before you release them, so that you don’t have students wandering too far!)

Working outdoors can be a bit more of a challenge because you do have to have either clipboards or whiteboards for students to write on, and if it’s too windy, papers tend to fly all over the place. So just be cognizant of the weather forecast for the day and make sure your students have the materials they need to be able to work outdoors. (I’d also suggest bringing some extra pencils, because we ALL know some kiddos will forget them.)

An End of the Year Countdown

There are SO many different ways you can go about this. The two ways that I’ve found to be the most successful are a numbered balloon countdown, or an EOY ABC calendar.

The ABC calendar is a bit more involved and DOES include 26 days of end of year activities (which also means a lot more planning on both your end, and for parents.) I LOVE involving my students in putting this calendar together by sitting everyone on the carpet and explaining that we’ll be doing the calendar and we want to come up with ideas as to what each day should be themed (based on the respective letter of the alphabet.)

It does take about 3 days just to plan this with students, because inevitably, there will have to be a tie-breaking vote on some of the more popular days (W was always a hard one for my class – water day or watermelon day…I mean, how do you possibly choose between the two?)

Here’s an example of a full alphabet calendar my 3rd graders put together a few years ago:

Art day – Devote time to extra art activities – I always pulled out the extra watercolors that hadn’t been used that year and gave free art time.

Backwards day – Wear your shirt backwards for the day.

Crazy hair day

Dance day – Take several dancing brain breaks throughout the day.

Eat together – Eat lunch outside, in the classroom, or just join your students in the cafeteria for lunch.

Fitness day – Wear workout clothes to school and devote extra time to exercise throughout the day – this was personally my favorite!

Game day – Allow students to bring their favorite game to school to play, or pull out classroom games for extra game time fun.

Hawaiian day – Dress up in beach wear – no swimsuits.

Ice cream day – Bring or have ice cream donated, I’ve also even MADE ice cream on this day.

Jump rope day – Have a jump rope competition – I always borrow jump ropes from the PE teacher this day.

Kings for the day – Boys get to line up first all day, and get first dibs on free time centers etc.

Lemonade day – Make it from scratch!

Macarena day – Teach your kids the macarena..they’re sure to remember this!

Next year – Spend some time visiting the classrooms of the grade your students will be in the following school year.

Orange day – Wear orange and eat oranges for snack.

Pajama day

Queens for the day – Girls get to line up first all day, and get first dibs on free time centers etc.

Running day – Take several breaks throughout the day to run a lap around the playground together.

Slime day – Make slime during Science time.

Thank you day – Spend some time writing thank you notes to janitors, cafeteria workers, counselors, principals etc.

Uniform day – Wear your favorite sports’ team uniform or shirt.

Video day – Brain breaks were short, kid appropriate youtube videos.

Watermelon day – Bring in a watermelon or have one donated. Cut it up and eat it in class.

Xylophone days – We coordinated with the music teacher for an extra music lesson on the school xylophones.

Yearbook signing day

Zip up your backpacks and head home. (No ACTUAL theme for this day.)

It’s always super fun to see what your students are interested in and I love that it can make the last few weeks of school incredibly memorable and fun!

Numbered Count Down

Another, less labor intensive way to go about this countdown is to set up a balloon countdown. This is always fun because there’s an element of surprise.

Simply blow up however many balloons you want to have (I always did 5.) Write a fun activity on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it inside the balloon before you blow it up. Then label each balloon with a number and pop a balloon each day to see what fun activity is inside.

Some activities we’ve done in the past have included;
  1. Extra recess
  2. Gum
  3. Watercolor time
  4. Watch a short, educational video
  5. Eat lunch in the classroom

These can be elaborate or simple as your schedule/sanity has time for!

Math Games 

The beautiful thing about math games, is that if you have dice or playing cards you can EASILY allow students to play math games.

For example, have students pair up, and place a deck of cards between them. Then, have each child pull a card and write down a math problem that is developmentally appropriate (2 + 2 or  2 – 2 for younger children, 2 X 2 or 2/2 for older children.)

When teaching these games you can touch on some important math concepts, like the fact that the commutative property applies to both addition and multiplication but not subtraction and division.

Or perhaps you already have math games that your students play during centers. Just pull these out and give students extended time to play them.

There are also a ton of great online math games. One of my favorite websites is CoolMath4Kids.

If you teach first grade you can grab my Addition Word Problem Boom cards here!

However you choose to end the year with your students, I have no doubt that if you put a little effort into planning a few fun activities, your students will go home for the summer excited to return again in the Fall.

What about you? What fun activities do you do with your students to end the school year on a high note? I’d love to hear in the comment section below!

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