Let’s face it, the last days of school can be rough if you don’t have a plan to keep your students busy. The school year is winding down, state testing is over, and you’re left trying to survive the last week of school with a room full of students thinking it’s already summer break.
Fear not – it’s much easier to enjoy the end of the school year when you pack each day full of engaging activities! These are my favorite end of the year activities to make the last days of school more meaningful and less stressful. Haven’t had your standardized tests yet? Click here to read all about how I encourage and motivate my students every year for testing!
End of the Year Reflection Coloring Activities
With all the craziness of the end of the year and the last days of school, I’m always down for a calming activity my kids can work on while I play some music! This coloring activity will have your students reflecting on the school year, and coloring a picture according to the answers they choose. It’s the perfect low-key activity for the last days of school! The pictures all turn out completely different too, which is great for a fun hallway display. Click here to snag the resource!
Paint Swatch Creative Writing
This creative writing activity is great because it’s easy to prep but super engaging for students! Here’s the rundown: all you need to do is grab some free paint swatches from your local home improvement store, and hand them out to your students. Then, have your students write a story using all of the paint color names on the swatch they recieved! I like to give different swatches to all of my kids to make it even more fun.
You can have them write a narrative story, persuasive essay, informational article, poem, etc. It’s totally up to you! I usually have them write a summer-themed narrative story to celebrate the last few days of school. Some of the paint names are tricky to use, so it really makes your students think and be creative!
Summer STEM Challenges
STEM challenges are absolutely perfect for the end of the school year. These summer-themed STEM challenge task cards will allow your students to be creative, work together, and problem solve! Each card has a task for students to complete, and each task will have them dreaming of summer!
I like to divide them out between stations around my classroom and let students work on them in small groups. You can use legos, hashtag blocks, K’nex, or honestly just any random leftover craft supplies in your classroom! I find that giving my students random supplies to build their creations allows them to be even more inventive. (and it helps me clean out my classroom before summer break, of course!) Click here to download your set of summer STEM challenge task cards!
If you’re teaching virtually, OR all of your stuff is already packed up for the year, these completely digital STEM Boom Cards are the PERFECT activity for the last days of school! Have your students use classroom ipads, tablets, laptops, (or honestly their phones if your school allows it) and virtually complete STEM challenges by dragging and dropping digital building blocks!
These summer-themed virtual cards are great because they are zero-prep, and they create absolutely no mess in your classroom. I like to have my students work on these around the room, then screenshot their creations and email them to me, so I can share with the whole class! Click here to check them out for yourself.
Directed drawings are awesome year-round for a good brain break, but I especially love them at the end of the school year for a quick and engaging activity! There are tons to use all over the internet, but I love any of the directed drawings from Art for Kids Hub on youtube.
If you want to add a little competition to your directed drawing, here’s what I like to do on the last days of school – I have my students complete their drawings, but write their names teeny tiny on the back. Then, they turn them in to me, I number each one, and we vote as a class on the best drawing! We keep it anonymous until we’ve chosen a winner, then I give the winner a piece of candy. It’s so simple but it really is so fun! It is always interesting to see which drawing my students choose as the best one.
End of the Year ABC Book
I looove me a project that will take a few days but also is slightly content-based for the last days of school. This ABC Book is just that! (did I mention it’s a free download, too?) For this activity, your students will come up with a term for each letter of the alphabet relating to a certain subject area, or the year in general! The book is totally editable, so you can use it however you’d like.
I like to have my students do “The ABCs of Fifth Grade Science & Social Studies.” I have them use their science and social studies notebooks/textbooks to find all of the terms! Then they have to come up with a sentence and picture for each term. You can also do this completely digitally, and have them present their ABCs to the class! Click here to grab your free download.
Minute to Win It Games
This one takes a liiiiitle more prep than the other activities, but I guarantee your kids will have SO much fun playing Minute to Win It Games, even if you just try one over the last days of school! Basically, there are tons of simple games based on the game show Minute to Win It, and they’re super easy to have your students try in the classroom. The basis of all the games is that “contestants” have a minute to complete the task, but usually in my classroom I just make it a competition of who can complete the task first.
Here’s a list of simple Minute to Win It games you can use in your classroom:
- Bouncing erasers into cups
- Finding a skittle in a bowl of m&m’s (or vice versa)
- Using chopsticks to transfer skittles/marshmallows into a bowl
- Eating Oreos from foreheads without using hands
- Keeping a tissue in the air with a straw for the longest amount of time
- Knocking over cups on a table by blowing up a balloon and letting the air out over and over
- Putting as many Cheerios on a pipe cleaner as possible with one hand
- Unrolling streamers the fastest with one hand
- Cup stacking
- Having a plastic spoon and cotton ball volley
- Pulling all Kleenex out of the box with one hand the fastest
- Separating skittles by color the fastest with one hand