The end of the school year is rapidly approaching! How are you and your family going to celebrate? Read on to find some of the best ways everyone can celebrate before taking a deep dive into summer!
Everyone Needs a Break
This year’s class of kiddos was still in the weeds with masks and remote learning. Teachers, students, and parents alike feel burnt out and ready for a much-needed break. We’re all excited for a summer where we can blow off some steam and enjoy the sunshine. But first, it’s time to say goodbye to the old so we can bring on the new. Here are some of our best tips for how you and students of all ages can reflect on and celebrate the end of the school year.
1. Throw an End of the School Year Party!
There’s no better way to celebrate anything than with a party. Whether it’s a pool party (weather and water temperature permitting), a beach party, a public park, or a bounce park, your child’s classmates and friends will love hanging out outside the classroom space. If you plan for the final days at the end of the year, you can hand out fun invitations in class. If not, gather other parents’ emails and send out a digital invitation later! Don’t forget to pick a theme!
2. Have a Family Night Out.
When I was younger, my parents would celebrate the last day of school by treating us to a night out! If the weather were nice, we would hit the boardwalk or the beach, get some ice cream, or they’d let us pick what was for dinner! If the weather weren’t nice, we’d see a movie, go bowling, or have a movie night at home. They’d especially be inclined to offer higher-stakes treats if we ended the year with excellent grades. But if we didn’t reach that goal, they still celebrated if we tried our best. I never really enjoyed school, so they always tried to make the end of the year a little sweeter since I pushed through.
3. Go to a Theme Park.
Virginia is home to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a theme park where you can travel through different European countries. If you live anywhere near the Williamsburg, VA, area, you have to check out this beautiful theme park. Not shockingly, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been named the “World’s Most Beautiful Park” for the 31st year in a row. If you love it, you can get a member’s pass with unlimited access to the park throughout the summer! You can also get a 2-day or 3-day ticket and spend a day at the nearby waterpark, Water Country USA!
4. Write a Letter Reflecting on the Year’s Class.
Have your child sit down with a blank piece of paper and reflect on the year. They could write it like a letter to themselves, then save each one until they graduate from high school. This practice can help remind students of their growth over the school year. When students reflect on events and emotions, it provides them with motivation to learn and enjoy the process of learning. If they’re having trouble getting started, here are some writing prompts to give them:
- What are some great tips you would tell yourself if you had to go back to the beginning of the school year?
- What has been your favorite part of ___ grade?
- What has been one of your biggest challenges?
- Which of your classmates have you enjoyed spending time with?
- What has been your favorite subject?
- What are your goals for the next school year?
- What do you hope lies ahead in the next grade?
Positive reflection and feedback are just as valuable as negative. With the challenges faced by teachers over the past two years, take any positive student feedback and report it back to their teachers. Teachers need to hear what students love and what worked in their classroom experiences, especially at the end of the year. Even if it’s just, “My child said they really enjoyed social studies in your class.” It helps them understand how to better teach future students and plan ahead for next year’s class.
And most importantly, it boosts morale. Teaching isn’t easy. And let’s face it–we all could use a little morale boost amid current events.
5. Plan a Summer Project You Can Work on Together.
This idea is only for the *high-energy* individuals among us. A summer project can be a great way to bond and encourage kids to get outside and make something instead of sitting inside watching screens! Work together to plan a treehouse, zip-line, fort, or plant a vegetable garden.
Whatever you plan, make sure everyone agrees on who will be involved in the project and what’s expected of them. Are they the designer? Construction assistant? Are they in charge of watering the plants every day and checking for ripe veggies? If they abandon the project (it’s been known to happen), who’s in charge of cleaning it up? Make a game plan! If you’re a more indoorsy creative type, plan a painting, sewing, crafting, reading, or writing project!
6. Make a Digital Portfolio for the End of the School Year.
When I was growing up, a “portfolio” was just a scrapbook or album if the teacher had any extra time left at the end of the year (they didn’t– but they still somehow made time). Now, tools like Google Slides, Canva, Artsonia, and Seesaw make it simple for parents and teachers to digitally create, store and display artwork, important projects, and achievements in a safe place. You and your kiddos can look back on their most special memories and achievements and even digitally send them to relatives or loved ones. A digital portfolio is a fun way to help celebrate learning and encourage kids to feel excited about being in the classroom.
7. Have a Staycation.
Have you really explored your city or hometown? Spend a couple of days pretending to be a tourist or sightseeing! Does your area have any museums, beaches, state parks, historical landmarks, zoos, theme parks, or attractions? Even if it’s just for a day or two, take off work and dedicate some time to enjoying your family’s company and doing all the touristy things before the weather gets too hot.
8. Have an End of the School Year Water Fight!
Although the weather may not be too consistently warm yet, you may be blessed by a truly hot day! And in that case, have an epic water fight! With water guns, water balloons, DIY (or store-bought) slip-n-slides, buckets of water, and sponges, you can create a day filled with water games, relay races, obstacle courses, and general frivolity.
Happy End of the School Year!
We’re all excited for warmer weather and a much-needed break from the pressure of school, homework, and extra-curricular activities. We hope you and your kids can jump into the summer celebrating everything accomplished during the school year. Did we miss any ideas? What are your favorite ways to celebrate the end of the school year?