End of Year Party Ideas for Upper Elementary

Low prep end of the year party ideas for upper elementary students (3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade)
low prep end of year party ideas for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students

You've seen the memes.  "There's no tired like end of year teacher tired!"  The end of the year is exhausting.  Part of the exhaustion comes from coming up with ideas and planning an end of year party.  Check out the mostly low prep ideas below to help you plan a fun end of year party for your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students.

10 End of Year Party Ideas

Each classroom (and teacher) is different - so each party might be a little different. Choose an end of year party idea that works for you and your students!  Some of the ideas require little to no prep, while others take a little more planning.

1. Have a Talent Show

The end of the year flexibility provides a great opportunity for students to get to show off skills aren't always celebrated in an educational setting.  Allow students that want to to sing, dance, act, perform, or whatever they come up with.  You can do this with just your class, or get the whole grade level on board!

Allow small groups of students to work together to come up with an act.  This is a great chance for students to practice leadership and cooperation skills.

Make sure you have some sort of system in place to make sure that each students' performance is school appropriate!  It's easy for students to accidentally sing a song with cuss words or inappropriate content.

Also, be proactive about potential bullying or feelings of exclusion.  If this is a big problem in your classroom, you could have participants perform solo.

2.  Have a Pajama Party

Pajama parties are fun and are easily adaptable based on how much time you have to plan and prepare.

On the low prep side, simply have students come to school in their pajamas.  They could also bring a stuffed animal, slippers, or a pillow, depending on your preferences.  During the school day, let them "rest" while listening to you read aloud.  Or, use this as an opportunity for students to compare and contrast a book with its movie.  This requires very little planning on your part, yet is still fun for kids.

If you have more time and resources, you could prepare a fun breakfast for your students.  Make waffles or pancakes and have a bunch of fun toppings for them to add.

Another fun pajama day activity is letting students sign blank pillowcases with Sharpies.  This is a fun way for students to collect autographs and messages from other students before summer.

3.  Have a Game Day

Give students a chance to just play some games with their classmates!  You can set aside an hour or a whole day, depending on how much time you have.

If you don't have enough board games for the class, have students bring in some of their favorite games.  You could also provide puzzles, let students play computer games, or find some printable games online.

Check out my favorite strategy games to play with upper elementary students.

If you are spending the whole day  celebrating the end of the year, then plan a few easy group games for students to play whole class.  Relays are always easy to set up and prepare.  Or play a classic, quieter game like Telephone.

4.  Have an Ice Cream Party

Give students an extra 30 minutes to an hour of recess.  Then, when they are hot and sweaty, let them have an ice cream party!

If you want something easy to prepare and clean up, pass out some popsicles.  Or, for a bigger treat, make an ice cream bar with lots of fun toppings.  With summer close by and the temperature getting hotter, this can be a fun way to close out the school year.

5.  Have an Art and Music Day

Most teachers would agree that students do not get enough time in school developing their art or music skills.  Use your end of year party to help remedy this!

You could make this as structured or unstructured as you would like.  Have some art project planned for students to create, or simply provide students with a lot of artsy resources and give them free rein to create whatever they would like.

This would also be a good time to have your students help you get rid of old and broken supplies like markers and glue.

You could play music in the background while students work, and let them sing when they want to.  You could also stop for dance breaks, letting students dance to songs like "Cha-Cha Slide," "Macarena," "Chicken Dance," "Wobble," "YMCA," or "Cupid Shuffle."

6.  Balloon Pop Countdown

This is a fun way to celebrate the end of the year that has been all over Pinterest.  Blow up a balloon with a fun activity on a notecard in it for each day of the "countdown."  Pop one balloon with your students each day as you countdown to the last day of school.  Students get to do whatever fun activity is in the balloon.

You can have cheap (or free) activities in the balloons - things like chew gum for the day, an extra recess, sit wherever you want, write in pen/marker, eat lunch with the teacher, 15 minutes of free play, etc.

If you wanted the celebration to last just one day, you could do this on the last day of school and pop a balloon each hour.

7.  Graduation and End of Year Slideshow

What better way to end the school year than by celebrating what students have learned and having a graduation!

This can be as low key as you want it to be - you could invite parents and grandparents, or just celebrate with your students.  You could put out a red carpet (butcher paper), create an aisle for students to walk down, or just have students stand.  You could hand out a certificate for each students, or simply have the class applaud.

After the graduation, show students a slideshow of pictures from throughout the school year.  It is always fun to reminisce!

8.  Memory Book and Class Autograph Day

Celebrate the end of the year by creating a memory book that will help students remember all the good time y'all had.  A quick google search of "memory book + grade level" will provide you with a lot of options.  Let students work on their memory book in a relaxed environment, with music playing and a chance to talk with friends.

Then, once students have finished their memory book, let them collect "autographs" of all their classmates.

This autograph book includes sentence starters that help your students give compliments and share their favorite memories with their peers.

If it is nice out, this is a fun activity to do outside.  If you can get your other teammates on board, your students will be appreciative - that way they can collect autographs from friends not in their class as well!

After students are done signing, you could play some fun outdoor games to make it seem more like a party.

9. Minute to Win It Party

Spend a couple of hours playing a variety of Minute to Win it games with your class.  Minute to Win It Games are usually silly activities that have to be completed in a minute.  Sometimes the games are completed in teams, other games are for partners, and others are for individuals.  You could have games where everybody in the class plays at the same time, and other games where only a few play at a time.  Depending on your class dynamic, you could keep score.  Or, simply play the games for fun.

Some possible Minute to Win It Games are:

  • Students have one minute to wrap a peer up in toilet paper or plastic wrap
  • Students have one minute move a potato from one side of the room to the other using just their nose
  • Students try to keep 3 balloons from touching the ground for an entire minute
  • Students put a cookie on their forehead and have one minute to get it to their mouth using only their face muscles
  • Students have one minute to stack up 25 pennies using only 1 hand
  • Students have one minute to transfer 25 M&Ms from one plate to another using only a straw
  • Students have one minute to roll a quarter in between two prongs of an upside down fork

10. Have Students Plan and Prepare Their Own Party

Give students the power here, and let them decide how they want to celebrate the end of the year! Give students a small budget (or a $0 budget) and a few parameters, and let small groups come up with proposals for an end of year party!

Students can vote on their favorite proposal, and then make them responsible for almost everything - what games they will play, what food they will eat, who will clean up, etc.

You can check out more end of year ideas here.  

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Comments 3

  1. Do you know of any free software that teachers an use to create end of year slideshows?

    1. Post
      Author

      I’ve used both iMovie, Powerpoint, and Animoto. I don’t believe Animoto has a free option anymore that would work for a slideshow. I’ve never used Microsoft Photo Story, but I believe it is free and could help with an end of year slideshow.

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