Last Day of School Celebrations
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Last Day of School Celebrations

Hats off to those of you who love(d) school. I have to admit that throughout my life I’ve loved the last day of school more than any other school day. That includes all the years I taught high school and college and when our kids were on a school schedule. I loved (and still love) to play. Period. (I’ve always been a Pack-n-Go Girl!) Homework got in the way of play. School hours got in the way of play. Teaching—and grading and lesson planning and faculty responsibilities and time in the classroom—got in the way of play.

There was no way my husband and I could keep this mindset a secret from our kids maybe because from kindergarten on, on the last day of school for our kids our ritual was to play Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for the Summer” at max volume as we all danced happily around the kitchen. I do want to report that our kids ended up finishing college, are enjoying successful careers, and are highly functional and happy adults, probably in spite of how we felt about the school year.

Regardless of how you feel about the end of the school year, it IS a day to celebrate. In that spirit, here are 41 ideas for you to make the day memorable:

  1. Take a Last Day of School photo (you DID remember to take a First Day of School photo, right?).
  2. Greet your child with a balloon bouquet.
  3. Go on a picnic and hang out at your favorite park.
  4. Head to your kids’ favorite restaurant.
  5. Fix a special dinner to commemorate the day.
  6. Start dinner with dessert and don’t pay any attention if the vegetables don’t get eaten.
  7. Host a barbecue.
  8. Have a family awards ceremony that reflects the year.
  9. Create a time capsule from the year. Include lots of pictures and favorite assignments.
  10. Throw healthy food out the window and celebrate with a dozen doughnuts—even better? Cronuts!
  11. Grab supplies for a banana split feast.
  12. Decorate your car for picking up your kids.
  13. Spend the rest of the day at the zoo.
  14. Go roller skating or ice skating.
  15. Head to the local swimming pool.
  16. No local pool? Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight in your yard.
  17. Run through the sprinklers at least.
  18. Give everyone $5 to go wild with at a dollar store.
  19. Make a giant bubble maker and spread the joy.
  20. Catch a matinee.
  21. Curl up on the couch and watch everyone’s favorite movie. Don’t forget the popcorn.
  22. Play some miniature golf.
  23. Let your kids have a sleepover.
  24. Camp in the back yard.
  25. Make a bonfire with all the non-memorable stuff they brought home when they cleaned out their cubbies and desks.
  26. Have a scavenger hunt ready to go.
  27. Set up a family Olympics in the back yard with obstacle courses, tricycle races, corn hole games, egg rolls, and more.
  28. Plant a sunflower fort. When the flowers are at their tallest, it’ll be time to head back to school.
  29. Tie-dye a shirt that will be special all summer.
  30. Create a school year hall of fame—made new friends? Achieved awards? Learned to read? Got a great score on a tough test? Never was late for school?
  31. Have a summer fun box ready—sidewalk chalk, new swimsuits, sunglasses, Pack-n-Go Adventures.
  32. Make a bucket list of everything you want to do this summer, and then start scheduling.
  33. Get out an atlas and plan a weekend getaway or a summer trip.
  34. Stay. Up. Late.
  35. Make t-shirts that reflect the year: “Class of 2032” or “Goodbye Second Grade” or “Third Grade, Here I Come!”
  36. Journal about the year: What made the year special? What did you like best about your teacher? What’s the most important thing you learned this year? How do you want next year to be better?
  37. Write a note of thanks to your child’s teacher.
  38. Create a photo collage of the year and all the special moments.
  39. Take a mystery trip. Pick your child up from school with a packed bag and an unexpected destination.
  40. Buy Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You Will Go. Have your child’s teacher write a note in it each year. How’s that for a cool high school graduation gift?
  41. Play Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for the Summer” at max volume and dance happily around the kitchen.