The final months of the year are the slowest moving because it feels as though we can’t catch our breath. Room breakdown, EOY paperwork, center clean up (disinfection), going through the pile of things we-don’t-know-how-we ended-up-with. Plus you’re still lesson planning and teaching! Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
With everything going on my favorite thing about the end of the year is sitting back enjoying my kiddies’ hilarity and awesomeness with fun activities. I can’t promise anything, but I am pretty sure that if you partake in these activities, you will solidify your place as their favorite teacher.
Fun activities can be as planning intensive as a field trip or as easy as a cooking lesson using visual recipes. What’s more, these experiences will become great memories as our students transition onto kindergarten.
Activities can include:
- Planning a trip to the zoo.
- Lincoln Park Zoo LPZ is the Free Chicago zoo and it’s very beautiful. All you have to pay for is the bus. Score!
- If you can afford to take your kids to a zoo that’s further away Brookfield Zoo is another option. Thanks to #Target the entrance is free and you only need to pay for the buses. Score, again!
- Take the kids to an ice cream shop.
- First make your own ice cream by hand then make it in an ice cream maker and finally visit the shop. Can easily be connected to creative curriculum and CCSS math and science standards.
- Take the kids to a public park and enjoy a picnic. It’s a great way to acquaint them to the neighborhood. Plus, the staff will most likely be there for them during summer camp. This activity can really help students transition between school and summer activities. You can even have summer camp sign up packets available for parents when you return back to school. This guarantees students will be participating in fun and educational activities throughout the summer.
- If you can easily access a beach, and your district allows field trips there, take students to the beach. There’s no better way to welcome in the summer than splashing in the water.
- Visit your local library branch and help kids get their library cards. It will be so exciting for them and they are more likely to continue reading books over the summer. For more information about Chicago Public Library summer programs click here.
Field trips are a fun way to end the year, but my all time favorite way to celebrate the little ones is by having special days during the last few weeks. Below I have compiled a list of ideas of different events I have planned over the years. Some are very easy to pull off and others need a bit more planning. All events are worth it though, because when a day includes a special activity it becomes special for the kids (and goes by quickly for you).
- Outside lessons- it’s always fun to use the outdoors as a classroom. It engages students in a completely different way.
- Read It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw and have students draw what they see in the clouds.
- Measure the playground (slide, swings, etc.) using inchworms or links.
- Play letter games using hopscotch, letter bowling, etc.
- A Primary Day: all pre-k through second grade classrooms are included in this fun day!
- Students travel between rooms where teachers have planned a 10-15 minute activity. At the end of the day students have four or five different projects they’ve created. This is time consuming to plan but makes the day go by fast. The best outcome of this special day is that students get to meet new friends and their teacher for next year.
- End of Year Family Celebration Day.
- Parents/guardians can contribute in a potluck style lunch. Students like to have their families invested in their school and absolutely love to introduce their siblings/grandparents/parents/guardians to their friends and teachers.
- The most fun way to spend the last week of school is to partake in a Spirit Week. Each day is differently themed and kids get so excited when they participate.
- PJ day- wear your PJs and watch an educational video with popcorn.
- When I grow up day- students dress up as they would for their dream job.
- Pre-K Olympics- students participate in field day activities.
- Cooking day- students get to be mini chefs and make yummy food using visual recipes. This is my favorite day because for most of my students this is the first time they get to cook. Lucky for us, our friends over at The Autism Helper are sharing their favorite summer visual recipe- Ants on a Log! The recipe is part of a larger summer recipe pack that includes nine visual recipes.
That’s it- now you and your students get to enjoy the final weeks of school with activities that are fun and engaging. I hope you enjoyed all of the freebies and use them in your classroom. Don’t forget to take pictures and tag The Elementary Helper on Instagram using #IsItSummerYet #TheElementaryHelper #TEH and #TEHInMyRoom.
Did we forget anything? Do you have any more fun ideas for the end of the year? Keep the conversation going below!