“Ahhh, I’m gonna miss this place!” exclaimed my very glum second-grade student one mid-May morning. ‘Surely he was just pondering the thought of not seeing his friends this summer,’ I’d thought. To my surprise, he was going to miss more than that! His follow-up comment was, ‘I’m gonna miss all these fun end of the year activities you plan for us.’ *cue tears* Interested in those activities my second-grader would miss? Read below for ten ideas I did that you can implement in your class TODAY!
1. This or That / Sit or Stand
‘Sit or Stand’ is a Summer brain break activity to help students get the end of the year wiggles out. It’s essentially ‘This or That’ – but with added movement. Just project and teach! These slides are perfect for when you need to occupy students between those five-minute pockets of time.
Students are shown two options and will cast their ‘vote’ by sitting or standing. That’s right; we’re getting them out of their seats; no boring activities over here! Use these slides as icebreaker questions, brain breaks, a morning meeting activity, or even an indoor recess activity.
2. Directed Drawings
A directed drawing is one of the most relaxing (for teachers and students alike) end of year activities. Make it easiest on yourself by showing a YouTube video of a directed drawing and having students follow along as you press play and pause.
My (and my students’) absolute favorite directed drawings channel is ‘Art for Kids Hub.’ Their video list is extensive – seriously, you can find just about any holiday or season (and more!) on their channel. Even better, students will follow along in the video as an adult and his young child draws, making the drawing less intimidating.
Here’s their playlist for “How to Draw Summer Stuff” you can start with!
3. Sidewalk Chalk; Learning Outside
In the spirit of requiring no prep, take your daily lesson plans outside to switch things up a bit (not your entire day, just one subject). A change of scenery never hurt anyone, especially not an antsy elementary student!
Seriously, this opportunity provides fresh air for students and requires no additional prep on your end. Please know, though, you should explain your expectations first.
Additionally, you can do review games and have students use sidewalk chalk to write their responses. A few no-prep ideas include practicing math facts and spelling dictated words or drawing scenes from a read-aloud. The possibilities are endless!
4. Write a Letter to a Future Teacher
Part of the end of the year fun is the excitement of going to a new grade with a new teacher and new class (for some!). Some students are terrified and don’t even want to consider leaving you, their current teacher.
Depending on how students feel, to help ease their fears OR increase their excitement, I like to have students write a general letter to their teacher next year. I say something to the effect of, “We don’t know who the teacher will be, but we can ensure the teacher knows as much about us as possible.” This way, they feel it’ll be less awkward and intimidating since their teacher knows them already.
I like to use this template to help guide my students in writing a letter to next year’s teacher. It’s available both digitally and in printable formats.
5. Discussion Questions
Students have a lot to talk about by the end of the year, so this is the perfect time to incorporate discussion starters to further their conversations! I like to use one discussion starter per day, and I let students discuss with a partner of their choosing.
You can create fun, engaging discussions using the ‘Would You Rather’ or ‘This or That’ type of questions. Incorporate these at the beginning of the day for morning meeting or as a wrap-up end-of-the-day activity.
These slides include 25+ themed daily discussion questions. Each theme follows:
- My Weekend Monday
- Top Two Tuesday
- Would You Rather Wednesday
- This or That Thursday
- Fun Photo Friday
Try 1-week for free here!
6. Free Time
Yep, you read that right; give students free time – they deserve it! The frequency depends on your schedule and personal choice. But, I suggest giving students structured free time to do an activity of their choosing without the expectation of having to ‘work.’
Some structured activities include card games, board games, and drawing. If you’re feeling particularly generous, give them extra recess!
7. End of the Year Word Search
You can never go wrong with a simple word search! Plus, they make an excellent morning work activity or time-filler.
To extend the learning, you can have students use the words from the word search in a sentence or make a story with them. To make it more challenging, use an end of the year digital word search; yes, it’s possible! However, I’d recommend using a digital version with students in grades two and up.
8. Summer Coloring Pages
Coloring is so calming. What better time to incorporate a calming activity than the end of the year when the wiggles are at an all-time high? I like to give coloring as a morning work activity, but you can even bring it outside and let students color in the sun.
You can download many different coloring pages, but I’d recommend using these free coloring pages from the awesome clip artist Sasha at Rainbow Sprinkle Studio. Eight pages are included absolutely free; remember to leave a review and thank her for her generosity.😊
9. Summer Bingo
Really, who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo?! Seasonal Bingo is arguably one of the most exciting end of the year activities. Simply print and go (laminating is optional).
I created a Summer Bingo with appealing clipart and kid-friendly summer objects, which you can download for free. Students can use the clipart or words as you verbally call out the objects.
10. End of the Year Journal
Wrap up the school year by providing students with an opportunity to reflect. You can use a guided journal that students can fill out or allow them to free-write using guiding prompts.
Make it no-prep by incorporating a digital journal you can assign via Google Classroom!
End of the Year Activities that Don’t Take Ages to Prep
These end of the year activities are absolutely no-prep, and it doesn’t have to be daunting to let students have genuine FUN. Now, do you see why my student (mentioned at the outset) was ‘gonna miss this place?’😜