The end of the school year can be bittersweet, exciting, happy, sad, and more. Those conflicting feelings and emotions add up to a CHALLENGE for teachers. Let’s face it, teachers are tired at the end of the year, and when you are tired it is harder to be creative and have the necessary energy to keep students engaged. I am here to help with ideas for end-of-the-school-year activities to keep your students engaged and having FUN.
I have a list of TEN super easy, no-prep, or low-prep activities to make the last week of school to keep students engaged and help teachers relax and have fun with their students.
#1: Go Outside
Get your class outside as often as possible at the end of the school year. Fresh air and sunshine are naturally calming and a lot of students don’t get to spend much time outside. You can go outside for an activity every day if the weather is nice! What to do outside?
Read: Have a read “out”. Students bring their favorite book, a blanket, and find a comfortable spot to read.
Chalk Math: Have students write and solve math problems with each other or practice math facts on the sidewalk.
Picnic: Enjoy a snack or lunch outside.
Chalk Art: Have students get creative and have fun making the sidewalk beautiful.
Play a Game: play a whole class game such as “Red Light, Green Light”, “Duck Duck Goose”, or play kickball. Even older students would enjoy a quick, old-fashioned childhood game.
#2: Create a Summer Bucket List
Work together as a class to help each student create a list of 10 things they would like to do over the summer after the school year ends. Brainstorm fun and simple ideas together such as:
Go to a park to play.
Visit with a friend from school.
Take a nap outside.
Visit the local library.
Ask a grownup to teach you how to cook a favorite food.
#3: Teach the Class
One of my favorite activities for the last week of school is to have students teach a lesson to the class. They can teach a math lesson, demonstrate an experiment, teach a song or a dance, share a special collection, how to play a video game, etc. Lessons are required to be “mini-lessons” and must only last 10 minutes or less. I let my students choose what they want to teach and they need to share that choice and have it approved by me. I give them time in class to create a presentation in Google Slides and then I post a lesson “schedule” for the week. My students LOVE sharing their expertise on a topic and I love watching them shine!
#4: End of the School Year Doodle Contest
My students love to doodle so I love to use doodling as a fun classroom activity.
Simply pass out a blank piece of paper and let your students draw or doodle whatever they want! When their doodles are done, students write their names on the back, I hang them up on a bulletin board and label the doodles with a number. I give my students some time to view the doodle gallery to select their favorite doodle and they vote for their favorite.
#5: Create an End of the Year Classroom Playlist
I LOVE using music in the classroom and my students love it too! Ask your students to write down their favorite song (it must be “clean” and classroom appropriate). Take your students’ songs and compile a class playlist on YouTube. Be careful to check all of the songs to make sure nothing inappropriate slips by. Play your class playlist throughout the day. Please note, that I do not recommend projecting the song videos but just the sound – you want to be on the safe side – you never know what might pop up!
#6: Hold a Class Talent Show
Let your students’ talents shine by holding a class talent show! Your students can dance, sing, show off a cheer routine, do a little stand-up comedy, a hand-stand, a soccer move, or something unexpected. I let students choose to participate independently or with a partner or group. I do require them to share with me what they plan to do so that I can make sure that it is appropriate. Assign the activity to your students on a Friday and let them practice during the week for the class “show” on the following Friday. I allow students to use my classroom microphone and the projector if needed.
#7: Do a STEM/STEAM Challenge (or two!)
STEM challenges are collaborative, fun, and engaging. And they are a great end of the school year activity since you have the luxury of more time. Students can design and build:
- paper airplanes that travel the farthest
- foil boats that hold the most pennies
- the longest paper chain from a single sheet of paper
- a zipline that delivers a piece of candy
- and more
There are so many fun options to choose from! You could have your students vote for the challenge of their choice or do a STEM Challenge day and do multiple challenges. If you need a simple STEM Challenge that uses only paper and tape, try one of my Simple STEM Challenges.
#8: Make a Graffiti Wall
Hang a large piece of butcher paper on the wall. Set up a container of markers. Let your students write their names, draw pictures, jot down memories, just doodle, and have some fun creating a giant, collaborative, work of art.
#9: Remember the School Year
It’s always fun to discuss and share memories of the school year. Remember that fun field trip? Or how nervous they were on the first day of school? Collect all of these memories and gather photos from the school year to create a class yearbook!
Read all about how I create a yearbook, How to Create A Digital Class Yearbook.
You can also have students write advice for your next group of students. Your students can write all about the fun they had and the things that they learned with YOU. It would also be a great little note or booklet to leave on your new students’ desks on their first day of school next year. You can also check out my End of the Year Writing Booklet for a fun and easy activity.
#10: Clean and Organize
Teachers have a lot to do at the end of the school year and students can help! My students love to clean and organize the classroom so I let them. I give pairs of students specific tasks and I keep a running list on our whiteboard. Some things I have them do:
- Go through all of the markers, test, and throw away the duds. Box up the good markers.
- Ditto for glue sticks.
- Organize the classroom library and weed out any books that don’t belong or are in need of repair.
- Collect, count, and organize student textbooks.
- Clean off student desktops making sure to peel off any tape residue.
- Take down bulletin boards and anchor charts.
- Organize leftover school supplies.
- Sort and return student assignments.
I hope that you find this list helpful and EASY! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these ideas with your students.
End of the school year? No worries. You got this!
For STEM challenge tips (plus a freebie), read my post, 5 Tips for Using STEM Challenges in Your Classroom.