10 Awesome End of the Year Activities for Students

End of the Year Ideas: Slideshow, Discussions, Student Gifts, Theme Days, Book Recs, and more!

Unique, student-created activities and games for the last days of school

If you’ve been around here for a bit, you know I love collaborative activities for holidays, morning meeting, poetry celebrations, and so much more.

One of the best things I started doing about 6 years ago, was making collaborative end-of-the-year activities.

Not only does it give students a sense of closure at the end of the year, but it also makes my job easier!

Want a slideshow for end of the year celebrations? Have students create it!

Need end of the year gifts? Have students give you the content!

End of the year discussions are great to do just on the carpet, but I’ve found I get more students participating when I use FigJam or Jamboard. 

Let me show you exactly what I’m talking about!

These are some of my absolute go-tos to make the last days of the school year fun, inclusive, and way less stressful.

10 Fun Ideas for the End of the Year with Students

1. Use a Student-Created End of the Year Slideshow

This end of the year slideshow has been a staple in my end of the year activities over the past 6 years. It’s an easy way to reflect on the year and have something to play to make your end of the year celebrations memorable. 

Instead of creating the presentation for my students, I find it’s so much more meaningful when they’re part of it! (And it’s one less thing for you to do!)

I use an end of the year slideshow template in Google Slides (also works in PowerPoint) to customize as a class.

Each student customizes one slide of the Google Slides presentation with what they’re most proud of and their favorite memories from the year. I have students tell about their favorite book, subject, and memory but you can edit this categories so they fit your class.

How can this End-of-the-Year Slideshow be used?

I love having this played at Open House. I set it to continuously play in the background as families visit the classroom. Students love when their slide comes up.

You can also use it at your end of the year celebrations with families. When you recognize each student, have them come up to the front of the room with their slide projected behind them. Present them with their classroom superlative award and their word cloud gifts.

Each student slide is extremely easy for students to complete. I’ve had students as young as 1st grade complete it independently and Kindergartners complete it with adult support.

Don’t worry if you teach Pre-K or Kindergarten, or don’t feel comfortable have your Firsties do it independently, you can have an adult volunteer pull students one-by-one to the back and fill in the boxes with their responses. They’ll still love taking their selfie!

After students complete their slide, I always add a class photo to the cover slide. It’s easy to add additional photos to the photo slides by inserting them directly from my phone. 

2. Add an end of the year countdown!

The balloon countdown is one of my students’ FAVORITE end of the year activities. Let’s be honest, it’s one of my favorite end of the year activities, too. The suspense and excitement it creates is too much fun! You can do it with real balloons or with this free balloon countdown template.

Whether you’re popping real balloons in the classroom or using this digital version, there are so many options for what can go inside. You don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to and it’s just as great! 

These have been some of our favorites over the years:

  • Dance party
  • No Shoes Day
  • Sit anywhere you’d like
  • Use a pen for the day
  • Read outside
  • Picnic lunch
  • Indoor recess or extra recess
  • Extra free time
  • Popsicle party
  • Movie and popcorn party
  • Bring a stuffed animal to school 
  • Shaving cream on desks
  • Chew gum 
  • Pajama Day
  • Bring a Game Day
  • No homework
  • Sidewalk Chalk Day
  • Water balloon toss (Ask for a parent to help you prep these)

 

I suggest mapping out your last two weeks of school first and decide which prizes would be the best on certain days. 

For instance, I save movie and popcorn for the last Friday of school when I know I need some extra prep time for our end of the year celebration the following week. While students are watching, I can prep. 

Sit anywhere might be great when the desks have all been cleaned out and most items have been taken home. You get the idea! 

If you teach virtually, click here for fun balloon countdown ideas students can do from home or together on Zoom.

3. Meaningful and Inexpensive Student-Created Gifts

I remember trying to find the best end-of-year gifts for my students. I’d scour through Pinterest and TPT, but I struggled to find something I really wanted to give my students.

I’m one of those teachers who tries to steer clear of buying things that I know will likely end up in the landfill after a few days. I also love giving my students something special and personalized, rather than a generic gift for everyone.

So I needed a unique end-of-year gift for my students that was special and didn’t take tons of time or break the bank. And guess what? I figured out the perfect gift.

I started creating end-of-the-year word clouds for my students based on classmates’ compliments, and it’s been my go-to for the past six years.

An end of the year gift completely comprised of compliments from classmates
  1. Create a Google Form or use my template. In the form, create a section for each of your students’ names. In each section, I also like to include a list of character traits to help students come up with adjectives that go beyond ‘cool,’ ‘funny,’ and ‘smart.’ (Believe me, this list helps!)
  2. Send the form to students and have them go through, typing ONE WORD in each section to describe the friend that’s listed.
  3. When students are finished, open their responses as a spreadsheet. You can click on this option right from the Google Form.
  4. For each student, you can copy and paste all of their words in a couple of clicks into a word cloud generator like WordArt.com.
  5. You can make certain words stand out by adjusting their size (like their name, for instance). I also like to add my school’s name and the grade level. Find step-by-step instructions here.
  6. Save the word cloud as an image and insert the image onto a Google Slide (with 8x10in dimensions) along with that student’s picture if you choose!
  7. Print and frame them (you can find frames for $1 at the Dollar Tree!) or just use cardstock, and present them to students at the end-of-year celebration in your classroom.
End-of-the-year gift ideas for volunteers and school workers

You can also use this same tutorial to create word clouds to celebrate other people at your school at the end of the year. Just insert the volunteer or student teacher’s name on a Google Form and send it to your students. You can use the same process to thank parent volunteers, student teachers, school workers, and student aids! 

4. End of the Year Theme Days

I love a good theme day! Having a theme the last days helps to keep students focused while adding in a bit of fun! 

It’s up to you how many theme days you want to do. Some teachers like doing themes for the last week of school or just the last couple of days. 

You an have students come to school dressed for the theme or try supply them with some fun props when they get to school. 

A lot of the time you can find decorations for a mini-class transformation at the thrift stores or ask parents to lend you some things to jazz up your room! Use themed agenda slides to get students excited when they walk in the door.

Here are a few themes that are fun and easy:

5. A digital memory book students actually want to complete!

Think selfies, images, summer bucketlist, and digital autography signing

I used to use printable memory books back in the day. I’d spend hours copying and stapling the books, printing class photos at CVS and gluing them in each one before giving students their copy.

Students would work on them during the last couple days of school, but their interest in completing the book would usually taper off. It was always one of those activities I liked doing, because honestly it was an easy end-of-the-year activity, but it could be way better.

I switched to these digital memory books and never looked back.

Here’s just a few reasons I love digital memory books:

Add in a digital autograph signing party!

Autograph signing is always such a fun part of the end-of-the-year. It’s great for one of your last community building activities and is always filled with so many smiles.

At my school, not all of my students are able to purchase yearbooks. Instead of just having them use a piece of paper (which wasn’t nearly as fun) to collect autographs, I came up with this idea so they’d all have a unique experience.

How does it work?

I have a Google Slides template that’s ready to go, with enough slides so each student gets their own.

I assign the presentation in Google Classroom so that each student has access to all of the autograph pages (Make it so students can edit file). Students each chose a slide by putting their name at the top. 

They sign each of their classmates slides with a fun message and then they copy and paste their slide into their memory book. 

Not using memory books? Click here to use only the digital autograph signing pages or you can print them if you’re not using memory books.

6. Interactive Research Reports for the Last Days

One of the best things I started doing at the end of the year was having my students work independently on research reports. 

Since it’s the end of the year, my students are really familiar with text features and informational writing. 

I give them a set of Google Slides that they can use to report their findings on an animal, person, country, state, or something of their choice! 

Having students work independently on this is perfect while I pull kids to finish up last minute projects for the year or do any end of the year assessments.

My students are pretty familiar with Google Slides by the end of the year, but ever since I started putting a Google cheat sheet on the sides of the slides for things like inserting a table, linking text, adding a video, etc., they’ve been incredibly independent. I’m able to help others without being interrupted.

 

Ideas for what students can do research on: 

If you want to give your students some structure for their projects with built in designs and fun colors (that they can customize!) click here for these any topic report templates.

7. Summer Agenda Slides

If you have theme days or want to add in a little fun with your agenda slides at the end of the year, consider using summer clipart to jazz them up! 

It’s an easy way to add some decor in your classroom for those last days and students notice it! 

Some ideas for summer-themed agenda slides: 

  1. Camping
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Beach or the Pool 
  4. Popsicles 
  5. Watermelon + Strawberries – fruit theme! 
  6. Fireworks
  7. Tropical Island
  8. Picnic/BBQ
  9. Hawaiian 
  10. Carnival

💡Pro Tip: If go to Flaticon.com, you can find entire packs of clipart with the them that you can download free. Just click “Icon” next to the search bar and change it to “Packs.”

If you prefer to download slides with the fun designs already done for you, click here for ready-to-go templates. 

8. End of the Year Class Discussion Ideas

I’ve got all of your questions for Morning Meeting through the end of the year. I love having conversations to wrap up the year. It’s also a great way to get feedback from your students that you can use with next year’s class. 

Here are some of my favorite conversation starters:

  • Favorite thing you learned this year
  • Funniest thing that happened this year
  • What will you miss the most about…
  • Favorite Memory
  • Favorite Read Aloud
  • Favorite Book/Series
  • Favorite Character
  • Favorite Song/Artist
  • Favorite Movie/Show
  • Favorite Subject
  • Favorite Lunch Food
  • Favorite Assignment
  • Favorite Spirit Day
  • Favorite Free Time Activity
  • Favorite Recess Activity
  • Favorite Field Trip
  • How have you grown this year?
  • Round of Applause (Give yourself a compliment)

It’s also fun to get them thinking about next year:

  • Give next year’s class one piece of advice
  • Give yourself one piece of advice for next year
  • What are you excited for next year?
  • What are your goals for next year?
  • What are you wondering about next year?
Just for fun:
  • Quote your teacher
  • What’s on your summer bucket list?
  • Would you rather?

Need thank you cards for volunteers, student teacher, or your principal? Have class discussions about what you love about them and then document it in a group card or digitally on a FigJam, Jamboard, or Google Slide. You can print the slides or email them to the special person.

Make the card more fun with a theme like You’re one in a melon or Llama just saying you’re so great.

You can do all of these discussion verbally or make it more fun, doing it digitally with these templates. (Bonus of doing it digitally, you can save all the feedback to use for planning next year’s activities)

 

9. Class Book Reviews to Pass to Next Year's Class

A fun activity to do at the end of the year is to bring students’ attention back to their favorite books they’ve read during the year. 

It’s a great time to review genres, characters, themes, and get students to think about books they can read over the summer. 

A fun idea for the last days of school is to have students write a review of their favorite book they read that year. 

I like doing this digitally, where students each create a slide with their photo, cover of the book, why it was inspiring or impactful, and a little snapshot of what it was about. 

The whole class will have access to it so they can reference it over the summer to know what to check out at the library or purchase online. 💡Pro Tip: Send the slideshow to parents so they have access to it!

Sharing with next year’s class:

Another thing I love about having this as a slideshow is that you can also use it as “advice for books for next year’s class.”

You can share this presentation with next year’s class to get them excited about your classroom library and new series that they’re going to love this year. 

Students are going to get excited about these new books when they see the faces of their older friends who have loved them! 

10. Unique End of the Year Student Awards

Something fun for students is to give them each a unique award based on their personality and their habits during the school year.

I started giving out end of the year awards a few years ago. I love making it into an awards ceremony, having each student come up and really talking up their great qualities and why they’re receiving the award.

The key to making sure each student loves their award is by making all of the awards really important. For instance, giving someone a “perfect personality” award and giving someone else a “bookworm” award in my opinion isn’t exactly awesome for the student who got the bookworm award.

The other reason I didn’t initially love awards is because I always found it hard to find an award that really fit for each of my students…aaaand I also don’t like cutesy student clipart 🙈.  

So, I decided to create my own. (Check them out here!) As I got going, I realized I wanted to incorporate social/emotional successes, as well as character traits, work habits, and school subject strengths. I also realized how important recognizing 21st century skills is so I created multiple awards in that category too. 

Here are some of my favorites:

I hope some of these end of the year ideas will help take a little stress out of this crazy time of year while engaging your students and closing the year together as a class community. 

If you want to reduce even more stress, click the button below for templates that you can just assign, without having to create! 

Let Us Create Your Digital Resources

We know you have a limited amount of time to prep for your classroom, so don’t spend your time creating your own resources from scratch. 

Our digital activities and resources are editable so you can customize them for your students. And they’ve been pre-approved by thousands of teachers and students, so you know they’re going to work well the first time.