The last day of school is swiftly approaching for many families and their students. Our girls don’t officially get out of school until mid-June, but it feels like it’ll be here before we can even process it. I am a Mom that likes to make days like the last day of school fun and special for my kids. Recently I’ve found myself searching the web for fun last day of school traditions. I’ve discovered some great ones, and now I want to share them with you.
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The Last Day of School Photo
When it comes to the last day of school and traditions, I think the last day of school photo is a pretty common one. We have been doing a first and last day of school photo with both of our daughters since they started Pre-K.
A last day of school photo is a perfect tradition, especially for the parents, because it allows you to see how much your child has grown throughout the school year and over the years. I know when I compare the first and last day photos of my girls I always say, “Look at how much they’ve grown!”
Last Day of School Breakfast
This is one of my favorite traditions for the last day of school because it is so easy! You don’t have to go all out and overboard like you see on Pinterest. I simply just get the girls something special for breakfast on days like the last day of school.
Something special can be something as simple as donuts. If you don’t make them pancakes often, make some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I’ve even gone so far in the past as to give them ice cream for breakfast! Anything that is out of the norm and that involves a little bit of sugar will probably make their last day of school feel that much more fun.
Create a Playlist
Music is always a big motivator for me. If your kiddos have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, make them a playlist! I can’t think of a better way to start my day. They can enjoy the playlist while they’re getting ready, eating breakfast, and on their way to school (if you drive them).
Creating an upbeat last day of school playlist is fun and pretty easy. Whether you use a platform like YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Music, there are tons of ways to create playlists and libraries for special occasions. And once you’ve created it and saved it, you can go back and edit the same playlist from year to year.
Have a Celebratory Dinner (Kid’s Choice)
This last day of school tradition is much like the special breakfast tradition that I mentioned before. There’s a reason why food often plays a big role in familial traditions. Meals and time spent preparing food together can be great ways to bond as a family. A celebratory dinner on the last day of school seems like a great way to spend time with the family and bond after finishing a year of learning and growing.
You can make the celebratory dinner even more special by letting the food be kid’s choice. Prepare their favorite meal or take them to their favorite restaurant as a way of saying “Good job!” at the end of another school year.
Send Them With a Special Lunch & Note
One other food-related way to make their last day of school special is by sending them to school with a special lunch and note. I pack my girls’ lunches everyday, mostly because they won’t eat school lunches. I know that they occasionally get sick of their normal day-to-day lunches, though. A great way to make their last day of school special would be to send them with something a little different and out of the norm.
I also love sending my girls to school with a special note in their lunch boxes. You can write your own, or you can download and print predesigned ones and cut them out. In fact, I have some that I’ve designed that you can find here in my Etsy shop!
Create a Summer To-Do List
Creating a summer to-do list is a great way to kick off your summer. After school is over, sit down and make a list of the things that you want to do together over the next few months. Then on days when your kids are bored or you don’t know what to do, you can pull out the list and have a few ideas ready to go!
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. I have created a Parent’s Planner for Summer Break. You can find it over in my Etsy shop. It includes a fill-in-the-blank Summer Bucket List and a List of Summer Fun Ideas!
Take Them Somewhere Special to Play
This seems like one of the most fun ideas on this list. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either. After the last day of school is over and they’re back at home, head on out for some fun. You could go to the beach, the pool, your local playground…there are so many other ideas.
In the past when we lived close to the beach we would do something like this. One year we packed a cooler, got the girls Happy Meals, picked up subs for ourselves and headed to the beach. It was so much fun. It is a great way to kick off the summer and make memories with your family.
Make Special Shirts for the Last Day
I love this idea! I am a huge fan of making anything tie dye. Tulip makes great tie dye kits that I have used several times in the past to make beautiful shirts. Grab one of their tie dye kits and make fun shirts for the last day of school. Not only does your kid get to wear something festive and bright, but you also get to spend time together making the shirts.
If you’re not a fan of DIY shirts, get a local business to make shirts for your kids. If you head to Etsy you can find custom shirts there as well. No matter what you decide, I’m sure your kid will love having something special to wear on the last day!
Have a Sleepover
Sleepovers are a great last day of school tradition. As a kid I loved having sleepovers with my friends. We had fun hanging out, eating yummy food and staying up late. Sometimes we even had sleepovers outside with tents in the back yard. This is definitely one idea that will kick off the summer break with a lot of fun and new memories.
If your kids aren’t old enough to have friend sleepovers, have one as a family. My girls love it when we put sleeping bags in the living room, and then fall asleep watching movies together. I often sleep on the couch because of my back, but they have no problem with sleeping the floor. So grab your sleeping bags, a lot of pillows and blankets, and have a sleepover!
Plan a Movie Night
Movie nights are classic, making them a great last day of school tradition. Whether you head to the movie theater or you watch a movie at home, this is a great way to celebrate the last day. Your kids get to stay up a bit late, you get to hang out together as a family, and everyone gets to relax for a bit.
Movie nights aren’t complete without popcorn and other goodies. You could turn movie night into a night full of festivities with pizza, popcorn and movie boxes of candy. If you’re not a fan of candy, make some cookies or some other special treat. No matter what goodies you include, movie nights are a great last day of school tradition.
Create a “Summer Essentials Kit” for Them
When I think of a “Summer Essentials Kit” my mind goes in many different directions. This is a last day of school tradition that you can really get creative with. Start by getting a basket or gift bag for the items to go into. From there you can fill it with anything from water guns and water balloons to sunscreen and a bathing suit. Pretty much anything that says “summer” could go in that kit.
Other ideas that I can come up with include sunglasses, hats, beach towels, books, journals, s’mores supplies, tickets or passes to local events & places…the possibilities are endless!
Have a Water Fight
When it comes to last day of school traditions I think that water fights and water play days “take the cake.” So many schools celebrate the end of school in this way, but you can definitely do it at home, too. Let the kids invite a few friends over and get ready to have some water fun!
For a good water play day I would grab some water balloons, water guns, maybe a slip-n-slide, and definitely some bubbles. Snacks are a must-have for water play days, as well. Oh, and don’t forget the towels!
Go On a Trip
Out of all of the last day of school traditions that I have shared with you so far, this is the one that probably takes the most work (and money). Taking a trip after the last day of school seems like a great way to relax and unwind after a long school year. Sure, not everyone is able to hop on a plane and go far away. But there are lots of other easier, fun options, too.
If you are trying to stay close to home and to not spend a crazy amount of money then you should look into things like camping, amusement parks and indoor waterparks. There are many other ideas out there, but these seem to be some of the most common. No matter how far away you go, I’m sure that most kids would be excited to head out on a new adventure!
Plan a Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt could be a great way to celebrate the last day. If you plan ahead, you could make the scavenger hunt more than just finding objects around the house. It could be summer-themed, or it could take you out into your neighborhood and your community. Get creative with it and have fun!
If I were to create a scavenger hunt for my kids I would likely hide clues to an outing or event around the house. Once they find all of the clues, then we would head out the door for the outing. Sounds like fun to me!
Start a Summer Fun Scrapbook
Of the last day of school traditions so far, this is the most sentimental one. Creating a scrapbook for your summer memories seems like a great way to spend time together and to record your special summer memories. Not all kids might have the patience to sit down and make the book with you, but they can help in other ways. Ask your kids what they would like to see in the book. Have them help you pick out colors, stickers, etc. It can still be a family activity without having them involved 100% of the time.
Have you ever created a summer scrapbook? I would love to see pictures of it! Making a scrapbook really does seem like a great summer tradition.
Head to the Library
While some kids are ready to dive head-first into the closest pool after school is over, there are some kids that would love to head straight to the library. As a kid I was the one that read 15+ chapter books over summer break. Heading to the library is a great last day of school tradition for kids that love to read.
Heading to the library after the last day of school is the perfect time to inspire and create your summer reading list for both you and your kids. A lot of libraries also now hold special events for kids, so check with your local library and see if they are doing anything special for the last day of school.
Plan a BBQ
This is another one of the last day of school traditions that takes a bit of work, but it is so worth it! BBQs are the epitome of the summer, at least in my mind. Holding a BBQ after the last day of school seems like the perfect way to kick off the summer with both your family and your friends. You could even pick a few of the other traditions on this list and blend them with the BBQ.
What would you serve at your BBQ? I know that my kids would likely request hot dogs, s’mores and Rice Krispie Treats. Cheers to the summer!
Last Day of School Traditions= Memories
No matter which of the last day of school traditions that you like, the main goal is to make sure that you are kicking off your summer with great memories. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but the school year can be very stressful. Making it through is not only a big deal for the kids, but for the parents, too. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer than with one or more of these awesome ideas.
I am already planning to use at least 3 of these last day of school traditions for my girls this year. What will you do with your kids? Do you have any last day of school traditions that didn’t show up on this list? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!