6 End of the Year Celebration Ideas for Kindergarten

When it comes to winding down the school year, there are lots of fun ways to celebrate a year of learning together.

Here are my favorite end of the year celebrations for kindergarten and kindergarten graduation alternatives.

Free End of the Year Celebration Ideas for Kindergarten

You can make any of these ideas as simple as you want or you can go all out with help from parent volunteers. My style is to go simple. We didn’t have a “graduation” since not all kinders move onto first grade every year.

I’ll share both my own ideas and end-of-the-year celebrations from other teachers who have done different things.

If you have been teaching for one year or many, I hope this list can give you some ideas to try.

Have a picnic

This idea comes from Rachel and she’s been doing it for years as it has become a school tradition.

End of the Year Celebrations for Kindergarten - have a picnic

Here’s what she shares:

“We start the day with our end of the year “celebration”. We sing 9 songs to the families about things we’ve learned over the year. Then we hand out handprint memory books, completion certificates, attendance, and behavior awards.

Then we walk to the nearby park. They play on the playground until a parent gets back with our pizzas. We also ask all families to bring sides (chips, veggies, fruit, cookies, etc.). We all eat and then let them play a little longer. If it’s super hot we have brought a sprinkler and Popsicles. We also let the kids bring any toys that they, or their parents, are willing to carry or bring to the park.

Every grade in our building takes a day at the end of the year and walks to a local park.”

I love that its low key but includes the families.

And well, pizza any day is my kinda party!

Usually in my school, we did a picnic on the last day of school. Students all got served hot lunch trays that were disposable and we all ate lunch out on blankets and the cafeteria workers brought out the giant trash cans outside. Then they went off to play for recess.

Host a ceremony

Set up a graduation “ceremony” for your students. Okay, so you can picture doing one in the gym with families present, the principal and caps and gowns. But what if that’s not your style?

It certainly wasn’t mine but I did make a red carpet moment for each child in our class.

While my kinders were gone at a special, I’d line up all the chairs in rows and leave a middle aisle. I’d arrange with my principal to come ahead of time.

End of the Year Celebrations for Kindergarten - mini red carpet ceremony - no pressure

She and I would simply hand out some little fun certificates to each child as they’d walk down the aisle on red bulletin board paper.

We’d even do the whole handshake thing.

They’d clap (hoot and holler) for each other and there was no need for me to step up to the microphone.

It was totally low key and they still loved it. So did I.

Take a field trip

This is like the picnic idea, but it works with whatever you’ve got in your local area. It was our way of inviting parents to be apart of a special day with us in lieu of anything super formal.

For us, this meant a field trip to the zoo.

We had lead parents in charge of a small group of students (and their accompanying parents) and would gather together for class photos before a picnic lunch and playtime at the park across the street.

End of the Year Celebration Ideas for Kindergarten and graduation alternatives - take a field trip

Remember how I love finding things worth buying at the Dollar Tree?

I’d buy (affiliate) foam visors to create color groups and give each group an animal name.

The visors would match the group parent’s t-shirt color to help keep everyone together.

One year kids wore shirts in their groups’ color. It made for a memorable day!

If you take a zoo field trip too, you may like this 3D zoo animals writing project to use before you go or to wrap up after.

Give a performance

You can put together a collection of songs, poems, or a mixture based on your year together.

You can make it as simple or fancy as you want, invite families, or just a buddy class. Or if your students have a favorite story to retell, perhaps they can perform it.

Wrap up the performance by singing a song together that everyone knows and finish off with punch and cookies.

Memory books and autographs

There are so many fun ways to celebrate together.

If you do memory books, give yourself enough time to pace working on those over the last few days.

Because no kindergarten kiddo really wants to sign their name a bajillion times in one day. Just think how many parents were really regretting making their kid sign Valentines all in one swoop. Not fun.

If you want to collect autographs you can do so with a free autograph booklet or have everyone sign a beach ball.

Class clean-up day

We had a class clean-up day and it always rocked in my book. After we’d take a field trip to first-grade classrooms (while they were away) during our end-of-the-year A-Z countdown, we’d take time to get our classroom ready for its new occupants.

I’d have a master list (with pictures) of things to get done around the classroom and my kinders would tackle each one. They’d work in pairs or trios and this would include anything that I needed done that kinders could handle.

We’d blow through tons of Clorox wipes, but everything would be sorted, put back in place, torn down, trashed or piled to pass out.

I’d pretty much be left with my own teacher stuff to organize before being able to walk away from the classroom {well, almost}

Later, I’d pass out papers in the smartest way I’ve ever seen using snuggle bags {it totally works!} and we made a big deal out of these.

We had a bare classroom after this, but they were so excited to see it back to what it was like at the beginning of the school year when they first arrived… or something at least close to it. {wink}

They were proud to be moving on.

Let’s wrap it up

Those are my top tips on celebrating your last few days together in kindergarten!

I hope that you’ve had a tremendous school year and are only just a few days away from a well-deserved summer.

14 ABC Countdown Calendars - KindergartenWorks

Have you already got your end of the year teacher shirt? Here are my current favorites. Hurry – there’s still time to order.

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  1. Leslie…
    I absolutely appreciate your mission and philosophy of learning and the workings of the young child.
    Never do I come away from your blog/website without being inspired or learning something new. I also leave with the feeling that “this is possible”. There are some teaching blogs where there are amazing wonderful ideas… but lacks practical application application. Not only does your blog have practical application,, but you also have such a deep rooted understanding of child development that the ideas you share are simple yet revolutionary (is that possible?)…. what I mean is that there is such a creative element , intention and purpose behind what you do that it makes an out of the box creative like myself (who also teaches kindergarten) be inspired to move beyond and dare to step into authenticity in my own gifts and abilities as a teacher for my students. (its so easy to compare with other teachers who seem so perfect and good at what they do). I just want to Thank you for shining your light!!!

    1. Barbara, your words mean so much to me. Thank you for sharing and I’m floored that my sharing can help you be your best teacher-self in some small way. Keep leaning into your strengths in the classroom!
      – Leslie

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