The last day of school is perhaps the most anticipated day of the year for school-aged kids. No more teachers, no more books…plus no more homework, no more waking up super early, no more obnoxious kids in your class. Just the blissful summer, stretched out before you with no expectations. Sigh. If only we grown-ups still got carefree summers without responsibility (but alas). Still, there’s no reason not to celebrate our kids’ newfound freedom at least. And although that countdown to the last day of school starts back, oh, probably around winter break, you can make their school send-off even sweeter by creating some last-day-of-school traditions of your own.
My favorite memory of school to this day is a simple tradition my bus driver did every year: On the last day of school, when we got to the end of the road our school was on, she would pull over — and every kid on the bus knew that was their cue to rip out all of their old school work, notebook paper, handouts and quizzes, and have the most ridiculous paper fight ever. It only lasted a few minutes, and then our bus driver would hand back a trash bag, everyone would clean up, and we’d continue on our journey home. It was such a quick, simple thing, but it made a lasting impression and we looked forward to it all year.
So in the grand tradition of Bus Driver Chris, we’ve rounded up the best (and easiest) ways to celebrate the last day of school in style — from silly-string attacks to memory quilts to brownies for dinner (yep, you read that right).
Peanut Butter Blossom has a fun way for parents and kids to celebrate together — ok, it miiiight be a little bit more fun for the parents than the kids, but hey, they’ll get theirs. When they get off the school bus on the last day, hide and attack them with silly string. Yep, that’s about it. And if they’re too young to have cell phones or other electronics in their pockets/backpacks, why not chuck some water balloons in the mix too?
The sister team behind A Beautiful Mess have created this great free summer bucket list printable so you and your kiddos can plan out what they want to do over the summer. Find a drive-in movie? Go to the beach? Catch fireflies? Add it to the list. You can look back at the end of summer and see what you accomplished — and what you need to squeeze into the last couple days you have left.
Summer is for breaking all your usual “rules” right? So why not have brownies for dinner? Yes, really. (Maybe make it an early dinner so they’re not all hopped up on sugar right before bedtime, but school’s out! It’s time to celebrate!) This decadent skillet brownie recipe from Handmade Charlotte is divine. Besides, you’ll have the rest of the summer for healthy garden dinners and veg-heavy meals (farmers market season y’all) but for tonight, let them eat cake. Slash brownies. Slash ice cream. But maybe not all three.
Or, fine, just go for a real dinner and then make a chilly sweet treat like sno-cones; it’s as easy as pushing a button with the Little Snowie Ice Shaver. Check out these 21 all-natural DIY sno-cone syrup recipes from A Modern Homestead.
Little snowie ice shaver, $190 at Amazon
Make a baller balloon banner (say that three times fast) letting your kids know that they crushed this school year and you’re proud of them. Try this DIY painted-balloon-letters tutorial from Oh Happy Day. Bonus points if you hang it in your front yard. Extra bonus points if you hang it off of your car in the school pick-up line.
Think of it as a summer essentials bucket, or kind of like an Easter basket, except filled with bubbles, beach toys, sunscreen, and new flip-flops. You can put the Bucket List printable from A Beautiful Mess in there too, and give it to your kids in the morning before they leave for their last day of school — or have it waiting for them when they get home. Either way, it’s a great way to jump-start the fun and stock up on summer essentials. Check out these bucket ideas from Somewhat Simple if you need some inspiration.
To really put some oomph in the last day of school, try making these ginormous confetti poppers the night before with your kids. When they get home, they get to shoot ’em. These are truly eye-popping, and so much easier to make then you’d think. Head over to Sugar and Cloth for the how-to.
If you’re looking for something a little more sentimental, try this adorable art quilt DIY from Say Yes. You can give your kids a square of calico cloth each year on the last day of school, have them draw their favorite thing that happened that year, and when they graduate high school, sew the squares together to make a quilt of their favorite school-day memories. Or, you know, keep it for yourself. We’re not crying; you’re crying.
Start the last-day-of-school morning off right by sneaking into their bedroom the night before and filling it with balloons. They’ll wake up to a colorful, fun surprise they can pop their way through to the breakfast table. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you can find more details at Katie’s Pencil Box.