The end of the year can only mean one thing: It’s last day of school activities time!
There’s plenty at hand this time of year with the holidays around the corner as well as the end of the school year, but there’s still a lot of time to keep your students engaged and thinking. With that in mind, we’ve got some tools for your teacher toolkit that can help you strike just the right note at the end of the school year and get excited for the school holidays ahead!
Explore some of our teacher team’s favourite end-of-year activities and things to do on the last day of school!
Last Day of School Activities for Primary
Complete a Write and Pass
Write a series of prompts on different pieces of paper (or print out ready-made sentence starters), and have the students write a sentence before passing it to the next person. When the story has made the complete rounds of the classroom, you can read it out loud or award that honour to the student who completed the last sentence.
Write Letters to Favourite School Staff
Brighten the day of your teacher librarian, nurses and other members of the school staff by challenging your students to write thank you letters to their favourite member of the school staff on the last day before the Christmas break begins. When the students have completed their letters, distribute them to your colleagues to give each person some feel-good vibes to end out the school year.
This is a great way to subtly remind kids that there are so many valuable members of your school staff!
Make Memories That Stick!
Take a journey down memory lane to celebrate the end of the school year with your students — the skills gained, the goals achieved, the friends made, and so much more. A perfect way to encourage self-reflection, it’s also a nice way to celebrate the wins from this school year, both the big ones and the small ones!
Print a memory cactus template now!
PomPom Drop Challenge
There’s one more STEM challenge that we love at the end of the year — creating a Rube Goldberg-type machine! This simple activity works well when there are only a few days of school left because the materials are largely recyclable and can be dropped right into your classroom recycling bin, so no one has to cart home something big and heavy.
The goal for students is to create a drop for pompoms that ensures they’ll land in a cup at the bottom. To make it happen, they’ll get toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls), tape, a cup, and a pompom (of course). Who can create the most complicated course for their pompom and still make it into the cup?
Try these STEM challenges for more end-of-year activities that are hands-on and minds-on:
- Build a Pirate Ship (upper primary instructions)
- Build a Pirate Ship (early years instructions)
- Recreate Famous Landmarks
- Build a Theme Park
Summer Ice Cream Science Experiment
File this under some cool science students will love: Make your very own ice cream right in the classroom. All it takes is a little muscle and some simple ingredients!
Make sure you check on your students’ allergies first. We’ve outlined a simple vanilla dairy version below, but we will give some hints and tips for alternatives at the bottom!
Word of caution: This ice cream is deliciously rich and creamy! Make sure your students eat it in moderation to avoid getting a stomachache.
- one 300 – 400g jam jar per student (make sure you use a straight-sided jam jar as those with rounded shoulders should not go in the freezer!)
- paper towel
- a freezer
- measuring spoons
Approximate ingredients per jar (based on a 300 – 400g jam jar):
- half a jar of thickened cream (approximately 177ml)
- 1 tbsp of sugar (about 12.5g)
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence (approximately 2.5ml)
- Add all the ingredients into the jar and tightly close the lid.
- Shake the jar for approximately 5 minutes or until you can no longer hear the cream shaking (your students may need to take a bit longer, depending on their muscle endurance!).
- Once the cream is nice and thick, wrap the jar in a wet piece of paper towel and freeze for at least one hour.
You will need to sit it out of the freezer for about 10 minutes to let it soften a little. But remember, it doesn’t have any stabilisers in it so it will melt fast! For a dairy-free alternative, you can use coconut cream in place of dairy cream. Alternatively, you can use mashed overripe banana for a delicious healthy option. Just leave out the shaking!
We made a chocolate-mint version by adding half a teaspoon of peppermint essence to the cream and added some chocolate chips after shaking! You can also make a delicious chocolate ice cream by simply adding a tablespoon of cocoa into the mix.
After the ice cream, dig into an ice cream sundae that won’t leave you wiping down the desks — students can show off their informational writing skills while creating a fun summer-themed craft.
Write Letters to Next Year’s Class
Put this year’s students in charge of welcoming next year’s students to the classroom with letters about being in your classroom! This year’s class can share memories, explain what your students will learn, and explain anything that’s specific to your instruction. You could even use these letters for a simple back-to-school classroom display in the new year.
Head Off on a Virtual Excursion
Project a video on your whiteboard that takes your class on an adventure to a national park, a zoo or any of the thousands of virtual excursions that classes can take these days. After the day out, do a turn and talk and write or draw about each one.
Bring on the Drama
Sharpen those speaking and listening skills one last time before summer holidays begins. Read a short play with your students, and have them act out the different parts.
Set up a Class Christmas Tree
This is a simple yet fun idea to round out the year, get pumped for the Christmas break and add a festive touch to the classroom. You can even get students to create the decorations for the tree with our printable Christmas decoration templates and angel tree-topper paper craft.
Hold a Trivia Tournament
After wrapping up the school year, challenge your students to recall things they’ve learned over the year with a fun game of trivia on the last day. Have a think about the subjects, content and lessons you’ve taught and pick questions from each.
Make Last Day of School Crowns
When their desks are emptied, and you’ve sent home all their work from the year, what else is there to do as a last day of school activity but make something special to crown it all? Get the printable last day of school crown!
Create Summer Selfies
Unleash the artist within with this fun self-portrait activity to get students (even more) excited about summer. For this last day of school activity, you can either print out an image of each of your students or ask them to draw a self-portrait themselves. Print off the desired page, and let your students draw their ideal summer activity along with their selfies.
Want to add some Christmas fun? Why not use the glasses that are available as part of our Funky Gnome Craft Template to add a festive flair?
Do Some Christmas Post Card Writing
Your students learned a lot about writing this school year, so put it to work with the Christmas Postcard Template. Have students write a postcard to someone they love that tells them all about their favourite memory from the school year — whether it’s a particular lesson, an excursion, or something funny that happened during a morning meeting.
Create Christmas Holiday Bucket Lists
Who says bucket lists are just for grown-ups? This cute bucket and spade activity is one you can use to create a wall display of all the things your students are looking forward to in the upcoming summer holidays.
Instruct your students to colour in the fun Summer Bucket List Template, then fill in the blanks with all their holiday faves. Cut out each bucket and spade and fold the tabs back. Then, you’re ready to attach the tabs to your classroom wall to make a 3D display.
It’s bucketloads of fun! Why not use some felt or tissue paper to fill in each bucket with “sand?”
Complete a Christmas Word Search
You can’t go past a classic Chrissie vocabulary word search to entertain the little tired minds in your classroom at the end of the year. Make a simple word search with some summer vocabulary and our Create Your Own Word Search Widget. If your students get through this activity, why not ask them to create their own word search using some vibrant summer vocabulary of their own?
Celebrate Christmas With a Collaborative Art Project
Crack out the art and craft supplies and print off our Christmas Collaborative Colouring Template! Let your class put the books aside and explore their creativity. After each square is coloured in, assemble your masterpiece to hang up with your Christmas display.
Reflect on the Year
The last day of school is a good time to reflect on the year that was, and the end of this school year is certainly no different. Encourage your students to sit down and draw pictures to let their parents know what they learned this year, or create an end-of-year interactive book to take home on the last day.
Ask Students ‘What Should I Know?’
Hand every student a sticky note, and ask them to write one thing on the note that they think you should know. Students can sign their names or leave their names off of the note, making it anonymous. They can then place it on a section of the whiteboard for you to read later.