In the words of the band Europe, “It’s the final countdown!” While this time is bittersweet for parents, students and teachers, it’s a time to celebrate all of the hard work, accomplishments and learning that has taken place throughout the year. You all deserve to unwind and have a little fun as you commemorate the year. Here are my most favorite and memorable end of the year countdown activities that will help keep the behavior at a minimum and your students engaged until the very last day of school!
End of the Year Countdown Activities
Balloon Pop Countdown
One of my favorite ways to countdown the end of the school year is with a 10 day balloon pop. I fill each balloon with a strip of paper that has a special activity written on it.
At the end of the day, we will pop the balloon to see what the next day’s activity will be.
Usually these are very simple activities that require little prep, like bubble day, marshmallow day, awards day, popsicle day, switch seat day, game day, chalk day and the last day of school.
I try to work in the special events that I already have planned for the end of the year. The balloon pop just makes these end of the year countdown activities a little more exciting!
Paper Chain Countdown
Some years, I have used a 10 strip paper chain to countdown to the end of the year. Each strip contains a special activity that we will complete that day. In the morning, I choose a student to tear off the next strip and read the activity.
These end of the year countdown activities are the same activities that I placed inside each balloon for the balloon pop.
Another fun way to countdown to the end of the school year is with an ABC countdown. This countdown will take place 26 days before the last day of school. For each letter, you will choose a special activity that begins with that letter. Some of my favorites include teddy bear day, fluffy friend day, ice cream day, glow day, pajama day and VIP day. For the Z, I like to use the word “zero” for 0 days of school left!
Student of the Day Countdown
You can also count down the school year by recognizing a student each day. Begin the countdown with the same number of days before the last day of school as you have students in your class. Recognize that special student by having the students write a positive note or kind word about him/her on a cutout or chart paper.
End of the Year Theme Days
Theme days are always engaging end of the year activities to help count down the school year. Typically, I spread my theme days out over the course of two or three days. Some of my favorite theme days are Bubble Day and Marshmallow Day.
On Bubble Day, I have the students work together to make a bubble solution. They measure and mix the ingredients.
Each student takes a turn blowing a bubble. Then, they will bop the bubble up-and-down on their hand and count how many times they can bop it before it pops. After five tries, they will graph and analyze their results.
The little activity incorporates reading, writing, math and science.
We also complete a bubble blower experiment to see which bubble blower blows the biggest bubbles.
Plus, we learn about the anatomy of a bubble.
To end the day, we make bead-dazzled bubble wands out of pony beads and pipe cleaners.
On Marshmallow Day, the students design and create a solar oven to make solar s’mores.
While the s’mores are melting in the sun, the students create a step-by-step s’mores recipe book.
Then, the complete the “Marshmallow Stack” challenge to see how many marshmallows they can stack on top of each other before the tower falls.
We also use marshmallows as a nonstandard unit of measure to measure various classroom objects.
Sometime during the last week of school, we have a beach day. The students wear their beach gear and bring in a beach towel. At the end of the day, we lay the beach towels out to create a comfy reading space.
Throughout the day, the students will rotate to a series of centers.
At one center, we practice our fine motor skills by threading flowers onto a piece of string to make a lei.
The students will count and compare, as they scoop goldfish into each fishbowl on their work mat.
“Beach Time Basketball” is a class favorite! We set a timer, and the students try to see how many beach balls they can make into a laundry basket. Then, we graph and analyze the data.
At the “Beach Ball Addition” center, the students will toss a beach ball to a friend. On each ball, I have written the numbers 0-5 multiple times. The students will add the two numbers together that their friends hands are touching.
We also practice decomposing 5 or 10 by seeing how many fish we can toss into Mr. Shark’s mouth.
To wrap up our Beach Day fun, we play “Pass the Beach Ball.” For this game, I have the students write a sight word on a small piece of paper that they will place inside a beach ball shaped Easter egg. We sit around the outside of the carpet, and I play beach themed music. As the music plays, we pass the beach balls around the circle. When I stop the music, the students open their beach balls and read the sight word. Then, we play again!
Chalk Day is kept pretty simple! I give each student a baggie with five pieces of chalk. I like to get the chalk from the Dollar Tree, since each tub has enough chalk to make four baggies.
Then, we head outside to get started with our chalk masterpieces!
You could definitely make this more academic by having the students practice sight words, addition or subtraction problems, CVC words, etc.
During our final countdown, we also have a snowball fight. The students think this is just hilarious, since it is summertime and sweltering hot!
To play, I have each student write a sight word on a scrap piece of paper. You could also have them write a CVC word, number, addition problem, etc. Then, they crumple the paper into a ball.
When I say, “Ready, set, snowball,” they will throw their snowballs. Each student picks up the snowball closest to him/her, opens it and reads the word. Then, we play again!
Digital Theme Days
For a quick, no prep theme day, you may want to try one of these digital escape rooms. They are an easy was to celebrate the end of the year, as you review math and literacy skills.
The students will complete 8 different challenges to eliminate the suspects and discover who has stolen the missing beach bag!
After they complete each challenge, they will move further along the path. A hidden suspect will be uncovered and eliminated after each challenge.
Once all 8 beach day activities have been completed, they will have eliminated all but one suspect!
Our camping day begins with a note from a camper:
I turned on my flashlight,
Only to see,
A sneaky caper,
Scurry past me!
The critter took,
S’mores from my sack.
Can you help me?
Please get them back!
One by one.
Complete the challenges,
And have some fun!
Ice Cream Day
Once all 8 ice cream day activities have been completed, they will have collected all of the supplies for a big sundae!
These digital end of the year ice cream day activities are no prep, so they can be completed during remote instruction, as well as in-person learning.
Choose to use the digital escape room for whole or small group instruction, or assign it as an independent activity.
End of the Year Shoebox Rummage Sale
During the last week of school, each student will bring a shoebox filled with items priced from 1 cent to 10 cents. These items could be gently used toys, snacks, school supplies, Happy Meal toys, etc.
On the day of the sale, the students bring in 25 pennies. We set up our shoeboxes in the gym, so that all of the Kindergarten students can shop from one another.
Not everyone shops at one time. We might have all the boys shop, all the girls shop, all of the students from Mrs. Sharp’s class shop, all of the students who are five, all of the students who are six… you get the idea.
The shoebox rummage sale takes up a pretty good chunk of our morning. Once the sale is complete, we head back to our individual classrooms and take some time to admire all of our new treasures!
End of the Year Memory Books
I also like to have the students complete a memory book at the end of the school year. We usually begin these memory books when there are about three weeks of school left.
Each day, we will complete one or two pages of the memory book. We glue the completed pages inside a square book from the Target Dollar Spot or Michael’s. These memory books are such a great keepsake for the students and their families.
I have also had the students complete a digital memory book. For this memory book, we began when there were just 10 days of school left. On each day, the students would remember their top memory.
When the book was finished, we had remembered our top 10 memories from a year!
End of the Year Awards Ceremony
As the end of the year nears, another end of the year countdown activity we will complete is an awards ceremony. I will give a special award to each student that reflects their unique characteristics, talents or growth.
Before I distribute each end of the year award, I have the class guess who they think might receive that award. After a few guesses, I will announce the winner and give a special crown to that student. After the ceremony, students will color their crowns so that they can wear them around school and home.
I tuck a printed copy of the award certificate into the students folder to take home to their families.
We have also held our awards ceremony virtually. During our virtual awards ceremony, the students will still guess who they think might receive the award.
Then, I play a drumroll sound effect to help build anticipation before I announce the winner. Falling confetti helps make each award a little more special.
After the virtual ceremony, I send a digital copy of the award and crown to the students.
Read more about our awards ceremony here!
End of the Year Slideshow
On the last day of school, we watch an end of the year slideshow complete with a compilation of pictures from the year set to music. The slideshow typically lasts about 15 or 16 minutes.
After the students have watched the slideshow at school, I send a digital copy to the parents via email.
You can read more about my top 20 songs for the end of the year slideshow here.
End of the Year Student Gifts
Also on the last day of school, I like to give my students a special gift to help send them off to summer.
These slime kits were a total hit. Inside each kit, I tucked a bottle of glue, contact lens solution, baking soda and foam slime balls.
In the past, I have also given the students a custom T-shirt with hand-drawn self-portraits of the class. These T-shirts were such a special keepsake for the students and their families.
One of my favorite gifts to give at the end of the year is a slap bracelet. These are fairly inexpensive, but provide hours of slappable fun!
Another favorite gift are these ice cream kits. Inside each kit, I included the ingredients for a yummy ice cream sundae.
I’ve also given my students a s’more‘s kit. For these kits, I placed a graham cracker, mini Hershey bar and marshmallow inside a zippered bag.
Whatever the gift, I try to be sure that it will provide a little entertainment during summer.
More End of the Year Countdown Activities
Your students may also enjoy these virtual end of the year celebration ideas!
Check out our top 20 end of the year slideshow songs here!
Don’t forget to thank your classroom volunteers with one of these DIY gift ideas!
DON’T FORGET IT… PIN IT!
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