Celebrating The End Of School


Celebrating The End Of SchoolI am finding that it is really important to me to mark moments. I don’t want to slip through life without pausing to pay attention. It is hard to do that when it feels like we are always moving at record speed and doing all the things (ahem, end of the year spirit days). 

I’ve been wondering how to mark this moment – the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. This is a big transition for our children. They have worked hard in school for week after week and in front of them lies the promise of pool days, play dates, vacations, and popsicles.

I asked some friends what they do to celebrate this transition and I’ve compiled some ideas of all sizes! It doesn’t need to be big or complicated — so many parents are worn out at this point — but there is something special about being present in this moment.

Before School Fun

  • Start the day with a fun breakfast: donuts, pancakes, or stop at their favorite bagel spot on the way to school.
  • If you have a close-knit neighborhood or group of friends, get together before school for breakfast. Follow it up by walking together or carpooling to school!

Straight Off the Bus Fun

  • Be ready when the kids get off the bus — drench them with water balloons, water soakers, and hoses! This would be fun to do with a group of other parents in the neighborhood.
  • Have a big bucket of water balloons ready for the kids so they can have a water fight!
  • Blast the kids with silly string as soon as they are home.

After School Treat

  • Let the kids pick the spot and head out to lunch. Giving them control of this choice is super fun for kids! 
  • Pack a picnic and visit one of the local parks for lunch. Most of the splash pads are open now, too!
  • Head to a local ice cream shop. We love Sugar Queen Creamery. The ice cream is amazing and the outdoor seating and play area is fun. Don’t forget to grab a pretzel while you are there, too. You will not regret it!
  • Grab a cake or cookie cake with the words “Happy Summer” and enjoy it with friends and family.
  • Have a box of popsicles ready to go for your children and their friends.


Pick Up Excitement

  • Blast some fun music (maybe Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” or High School Musical’s “What Time Is It,” depending on your generation) at pick up. Your kid might pretend to be embarrassed, but they’ll probably be loving the carefree fun.

Evening Celebrations

  • Serve sparkling apple cider in fancy glasses at dinner. Toast to the growth of the last year and the excitement of summer.
  • Spend the evening roasting marshmallows and making s’mores around the fire pit. If you have older kids, let them toss notes and papers (ones they don’t keep for future reference) into the fire. 
  • Make the kids’ favorite food (in our house this is hot dogs) and have a movie or game night.

Take a Trip

  • Grab your kids and head straight out of town! Since the end of school falls right into Memorial Day weekend, this would be extra great this year. 
  • Go to Dollywood. This time of year – before the heavy traffic of summer – is a great time to head to the park and do all of your favorite things!


When we take the time to pause and be present in a transitional moment, it is also a great time to reflect on what has been and what will be.

  • Ask your child questions about the best part of their year, what they learned, what they’ll miss about school, what was the hardest, how they grew emotionally, and more.
  • Be curious about their hopes for the summer, too. Ask about what they want to do, who they want to see, and how they want to spend their days. 

Here are a couple reflection activities I’m filing away for next year:

  • Prior to the start of the year, have your child write down goals or worries, or a letter to themselves. Pull this out at the end of the school year for reflection.
  • Ask your young child to write a sentence. Hold onto that and have them write the same sentence at the end of the year. The comparison will allow them to see the growth and progress of the year.

How will you celebrate this transitional moment?


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