As the school year winds down and the countdown to summer break begins for both students and , take a moment to encourage students to reflect on the past year and all that has taken place. To make the last day of school a memorable experience, plan a variety of engaging and enjoyable activities. This allows students to say goodbye to the academic year in a fun way and embrace the summer season with open arms. Here are a few last-day-of-school activities to try in your classroom.

Outdoor Carnival

Create an unforgettable last of school by transforming your schoolyard into an outdoor carnival. This event can be just for your class, the entire grade, or even the whole school. Invite parent volunteers to help set up and run carnival games such as ring toss, dress-up like a clown relay race, dunk a teacher in a dunk tank, or any other fun games you can think of. If you have a schoolwide event, consider inviting food trucks, a local magician, or a DJ to make this an enjoyable event that students will remember for years to come.

Talent Show

What’s a better way to show your students diverse talents than a talent show? Encourage students to show off their unique gifts by allowing them to showcase their skills of singing, dancing, playing an instrument, performing magic tricks, stand-up comedy, gymnastics, cheerleading, or any other skill they would like to perform for an audience of their peers.

Not only is this a great way to boost and create a sense of community, but it’s also a fun way to end the school year with a sense of belonging and school pride. Encourage any students who don’t want to perform to choose a different role such as decorating, being the MC, helping with technical support, or the lighting. This will ensure every student will contribute to the success of the show.

Advice from Graduates

A fun way to wrap up the school year is to have students write letters of advice to the new, incoming students who will be entering the classroom next school year. As a class, start a discussion to generate ideas on what kinds of topics new students would benefit from learning about. For example, subjects they’ll study, the daily schedule, or field trips they’ll go on.

Then have each student write a letter based on the topics you discussed, including any personal advice they would like to add. Following this, have students peer edit one another’s letters checking for any errors before they type up their final versions. Finally, either save the letters for next year, mail the letters to the new students, or distribute the letters during the next meet and greet event.

Classroom Yearbook

A classroom yearbook is a great end-of-year activity that adds a more personal touch than just the standard schoolwide yearbook. This project allows students to express their individuality and contribute to a book that is solely based on their classroom experiences rather than schoolwide experiences. For younger students assign each student one page to draw, write, or decorate anything they wish that is a memory for them of the school year.

Add their name and photograph and create colored copies of each page to attach to a book for each student. For older students, have them take on roles similar to a professional yearbook, such as editors, writers, photographers, etc. They can incorporate elements such as collages, QR codes, or quotes from classmates. On the last day of school, had out the compiled classroom yearbook for students to sign.

Positive Reflections

A heartwarming, last day of school activity is the positive words exercise. This activity involves students sharing kind words about one another. There are two ways you can do this activity. The first is to place a photograph of each student on a separate piece of paper.  Then, pass around each photo sheet and have students anonymously write one kind thing about the student around the image. Encourage students to not repeat what someone has already written. Compliments should only be positive comments such as, “thoughtful, kind, funny, generous, etc.”

Another variation of this activity is to have students use a form to write complimentary words for each classmate. After they fill out the forms, you can either compile all the comments into a personalized message for each student or have the students themselves assemble the comments for their peers. This allows each student to receive a collection of positive feedback while feeling a sense of belonging and community within the classroom.

Reflective Circle

A fun way to foster a sense of closure on the last of school is to try this reflective circle activity. This activity involves gathering students together in a circle to reflect upon the school year. Students take turns recounting their memories, sharing any challenges they’ve overcome, discussing new friendships they’ve made, and reflecting on any positive or negative experiences they’ve had during the school year.

Students can also take this time to set new goals or discuss their plans for the future. Sharing these thoughts can inspire others, give students a sense of belonging, and help to foster a more empathetic classroom environment.

These hands-on last-day-of-school activities offer an engaging and enjoyable way to ring out the school year. Moreover, they provide students with a way to celebrate, create, and share classroom memories and keepsakes that they will cherish for many years to come.