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35 FREE {or super cheap} Ways to Make the End of the Year AWESOME!

Let's hear it for the end of the school year!!  Whether you're already on Summer vacation, have a few weeks or months to go, or maybe just 7 days like me (YAY!!), those last few days we have with our students are ones we teachers want to make extra special!

Note:  If you want to make this EXTRA festive and suspenseful, put these ideas inside balloons! They don't have to be helium filled... just plain ol balloons are perfect!  Before you blow each one up, slip in a little piece of paper that says one SPECIAL activity your kids can do that day.  Then blow them up and label the balloon with a # or date so you know when you want it to get popped.  Each morning pick a lucky student to pop the balloon and reveal what today's surprise is.  Kids LOOOOOOVE this!

Need some simple ideas about what you could put in your balloons?  I gotcha covered... 

20 minute Dance Party: Take their requests for some Kids Bop songs and let them color and sing or show off their sweet dance moves!
Sit Where You Want Day: Have assigned seats?  Let them try sitting where they want as long as they still “do their job.”
Paper Airplane Day: teach them how to make them and then go outside to watch them soar!
Stinky Feet: Let them take their shoes off in the classroom!
Picnic Lunch Outside or Lunch in the Classroom w/ the Teacher: Yay!
Think in Ink: ditch the pencils and use markers or pens for the day! 
Kickball vs Another Class: Coordinate with another teacher and let the good times roll!  A variation of this I also love is called “Big Base.”  Google it!
Dark Day: Work all day with the lights off.
20 min of extra recess time: always celebrated and appreciate by children everywhere (and if it’s nice out- teachers love this, too, right?!  Soak up a little Vitamin D!).
Backwards Day: Do your whole daily schedule backwards… end with your morning meeting, etc.  Kids think this is sooo hilarious!
Homework-Free Day:  If you usually give out homework, give the kids a night off instead!
Game Time: Lead them in classic, simple whole class games kids love like Heads Up, 7 Up , Silent Ball, 4 Corners, or others!
Minute-to-Win-It-Games: Google for specific ideas, but you can put kids into 4 teams and have one person per team go at a time.  The 1st student to get the task completed earns a point for their team.
Computer or iPad Free Time: Check out my website for kids… it’s the only place I let my class play because it has safe links to all my favorite ad-free online games!
Movie: Grab one from your personal stash or rent one from the library for free… or splurge on something hot and new: Zootopia comes out June 7!  That’s my plan, man!
Extra GoNoodle Time: Please tell me you GoNoodle in your classroom?!  It’s the BEST!
Paper Party:  Let kids use paper scraps, tape, glue, paint, markers, etc to just create anything they want… they’ll think they are in Heaven!  SO happy to just sit and create.
Puzzle Party: bring in several 24-100 piece puzzles and put kids in groups to work on them.
Super Science Day: google some simple experiments … there are many easy, low-prep, fun ones!
Thankful Day: Brainstorm a list of people who helped us get through this year: staff, teachers, family, etc.  Give kids paper and time to write and draw their gratitude to the important people in their lives.  This is the sweet template I use that’s always a HIT: 

Ideas that need to be announced a day or more in advance so kids can prepare:
Show & Tell Time: Let kids bring something that’s not super valuable and small enough to fit in their backpack and give them each a minute or 2 to tell the class about it.  Finish up each child’s sharing by letting them take 1 comment or question from the class.
Game Time: bring a card or board game from home to play
Dress up like a Character Day: Do they have cute Halloween costumes they didn't get to wear to school (no scary stuff!)  Wear em!
Crazy Hair Day: Classic.  No explanation needed.  My favorite teacher-do to do is a bun with sharpened pencils poking all around it.  I’ve gotten over a 100 in there.  It gets heavy, but it’s so easy and always makes kids think you’re AMAZING!
Cozy Reading Time: read while wearing jammies
Fuzzy Friends: Bring a stuffed animal to school!  My rule is that it needs to be shorter than the distance from a parents elbow to finger tips.  I also have extras for anyone who forgets.
Matchy-Matchy Day: dress alike w/ a group of friends
Read & Munch: read while eating snacks from home
Crazy Sock and/or Mismatched Shoe Day: Fun!
Silly Socks! Take a picture!
Flashlight Reading: Bring a flashlight from home and read books with the lights off!

Super Cheap {$5 or Less} Ideas:
Chew gum in the classroom for 20 minutes: You might be SHOCKED how much my kids were excited about this one!  Apparently gum is a mega big deal in the K world!
Shaving Cream on Tables:  Roll up those sleeves and let kids smear it around!  Write sight words & draw pictures.
shaving cream fun!!!
Bubble Blowing Bonanza: Grab some dixie cups and a big bottle of bubble solution (or make your own) and have kids make wands out of pipe cleaners (It works!  I tried it!).
Chalk Party: Get a box of sidewalk chalk and go write messages on the sidewalks/blacktop.
Movie & a Snack: A giant bag of popcorn is usually pretty cheap, simple, and sugar-free!
Math Games:  My class loves these 2 lately:  Around the World and Math Football. They're totally EDITABLE and only $2 ea!

These SHOULD all be easy and really exciting for your kids, but if anyone complains or gives you a bad time about any of these, just be like this teacher: ;) LOL an "End of the Year Celebration" coming up?  Grab my template for these {surprisingly sturdy!} hats, sweet diplomas, and pages of ALL my time-tested tips and tricks for planning the BEST EOY Celebration EVER!

If you need any other end of the year favorites from my TPT store, you can click on the pics for links: 


  1. OMGoodness, so many creative fun activities for the end of the year! Thank you so much!
    Christine Maxwell Hand to Heart

  2. Hi Katie,
    Your end of the year ideas are fantastic! My students had their last day today, but I will be saving these for the end of the year next year. Thank you for sharing!
    First Grade Schoolhouse

  3. Thanks for sharing this great collection of ideas, Katie. The kids in your classroom must be having so much fun this week!
    Linda at Primary Inspiration

  4. These are some really fun ideas!