Many teachers finish grading before school lets out, and students inevitably are stirring and anxious the last few days of school. It can be close to impossible to get them to focus on anything other than the long break ahead. Many teachers like to switch gears a few days before school lets out, and have the students take a break from the books for other fun activities. Here are some fun ideas for class activities to plan those last few days that will make the time fly and help close the school year with a bang.
Outdoor Field Day: Spending the day outdoors is a great way to bridge the closing school year with a fun-filled upcoming summer. Organize a sport like softball, dodgeball, or kickball for students to participate in. Add a fun twist by playing with soak balls that absorb water and have the pitcher dip them in a plastic tub of water before each pitch.
Indoor Beach Party/Luau: Be as creative as you like with this idea! Have students bring in a beach ball they can have signed by their peers, and plan a treat like root beer floats to get everyone in the mood for summer. Move the desks and let students bring in beach towels to sit on during class and reading time. For younger grades, make a “texture table” with sand and seashells. Purchase lei’s from your neighborhood party or dollar store and give them out as prizes or rewards. For a fun snack, make a tray of blue jello with Swedish Fish inside.
Movie Day: For a simple, hassle-free way to occupy students indoors, have a movie day one afternoon. You can assemble multiple classrooms and let them vote ahead of time of a movie they would like to see. Let students bring in a pillow to sit on and offer a candy treat or popcorn for a snack. To make the experience educational, talk to students about plot and characters in the movie afterward, and provide them with some questions to keep in mind before the movie starts.
Class Scrapbook: Take a picture of each student and give it back to them with a piece of cardstock and some art supplies, such as stickers, markers, string, construction paper, etc. The supplies can be collected throughout the school year and set aside for this end-of-year project. Each student decorates his or her own picture page, and then they can be collected and put in sheet protectors in a binder. Students can then take turns looking at other students pictures. If you make this idea a tradition, students can also look at binders of students from the years passed.
S’mores Party/Science Lesson: Teach chemical and physical changes the fun way and have students make s’mores. Tea light candles can be used, along with the s’more ingredients. Also have bamboo skewers and paper towels for clean up. Each student gets a marshmellow, a full graham cracker, and one fourth of a standard chocolate bar. Talke about open flame and candle safety, and review physical and chemical changes, such as marshmellow color changes (chemical) and breaking crackers and chocolate.
Outdoor “Math” Olympics: Have a contest outside where students complete activites and obstacles like measuring playground equipment, and having contests like seeing who can find the most right angles on the playground or count the most pinecones. Offer ribbons or some other prize to winners.