Thank You to Our Local Sponsors

15+ Fun Ways to Celebrate the Last Day of School

Celebrate the Last Day of School (2)

The end of the 2023 – 2024 school year is near and it is time to celebrate!

Do you have any last day of school traditions? We always go get donuts with friends on the last morning before school and then let the kids pick somewhere special for dinner on the last day {apparently we are all about celebrating with food at my house!} One year we did a fun scavenger hunt when they got home from school, and other years we’ve gotten together with friends for a swim party.

Whether you’re wrapping up a year in preschool, elementary school, middle school, or high school, reaching the finish line on this school year definitely calls for a celebration for parents, kids, and teachers. We’ve got a list of fun last day of school ideas for you if you’re looking for last day of school activities and a countdown to summer.

Don’t forget to thank your teachers this year! We’ve got a great list of Teacher Appreciation Ideas.

Take a Last Day of School Photo

Don’t forget to document how much the kids have changed from the fall! Snap that last day of school photo {take it when they get home for a true end-of-school memento!}

Run into Summer – Last Day of School Sign

Make a paper banner to hold across the driveway or hang across the front door with a fun message on it, and let your kids run through it before they leave or when they get home on the final day. Decorate it with Happy End of School, Welcome to Summer, Congratulations, or another fun message.

School Year Walk of Fame

Make signs celebrating the milestones of this school year. You can hang the signs around the house OR chalk your sidewalk or driveway to celebrate. Get creative here… Joined basketball club, Met AR goals, Made new friends, Students Learned to read, Never missed the bus… just a few ideas to get you started. You can also use favorite memories from the school year activities. (Look online for Last Day of School Printables and Signs)

Summer Fun Box

Have a box for summer fun waiting for the kids on the last day of school. Ideas include sidewalk chalk, bubbles, water balloons, sunglasses, sunscreen, bugspray, bathing suits, coloring books, and more.

Summer Themed Scavenger Hunt

Ramp it up a notch with a scavenger hunt! Take those supplies for summer fun and hide them for a last day of school scavenger hunt. We did this when my kids were 4 and 6, and they still talk about it 5 years later!

TIP: The quickest way to create a scavenger hunt is to work backward. Start by hiding the grand prize item. Then write down a clue for that location, and hide the clue with the next item. Repeat the process until you have hidden all of the items.

Have a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner

As I mentioned earlier, we have a tendency to celebrate with special meals – cooked by someone other than me!

• Pick up donuts for breakfast (our favorite is Charlie’s Mini Donuts near our house)
• Let the kids pick their favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner.
• Cook a favorite meal that the kids love
• Eat something crazy you’d never do on a normal day (Ice cream for dinner? Sure!)

Plan a fun family outing

• Play a round of mini-golf or laser tag at Family Fun Center
• Book a game + golf simulator at The Back Nine or go axe-throwing at Ax-Caliber
• Go roller skating at Skate World or ice skating at Lakeland Ice Arena
Drive-Thru Safari Wilderness in Lakeland or find another place to see animals in Central FL
• Catch a movie at the Silvermoon Drive-In
• See if your family can escape the room at Lakeland Escape Room or Escapology Lakeland

Ice Cream or a Sweet Treat of some kind

• Use our list of places to get Ice Cream & other Sweet Treats to find a place to celebrate with ice cream or dessert!
• Pick up supplies for an ice cream sundae bar at home with ALL the toppings.
• Drive thru HTeaO and let everyone pick their favorite flavor of iced tea or pink lemonade.

Ice Cream Near Me Lakeland FL

Play with Water

Have a water balloon fight, bring out the water squirters, or set up the slip ‘n slide or sprinkler. Parents can get in on the water fun too!

Go on a Picnic

Plan a picnic in your backyard or driveway to celebrate the last day of school or the first day of summer vacation. Remember that a picnic can be any meal of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner!

You can also use our list of 10 Places to have a Picnic in Lakeland to find an outdoor location around town.

Have a Campout

Do you own a tent or camping gear? Kick-off the summer with a backyard campout. If you don’t own a tent, you can still plan an indoor campout in the family room.

Stay up Late

If you normally send the kids to bed by 8 or 9pm, let them stay up late to celebrate the start of summer break. {Especially if they’re still hyped up from the ice cream you enjoyed earlier!}

Make a Summer Paper Chain

Use paper strips to create a paper chain with one link for each day of summer. Each day remove a link from the chain, write about something fun or a funny story from that day on the slip of paper, and stash it away. Read them all at the end of summer for a fun trip down memory lane.

You could also do it the other way around and have a Summer Bucket List chain – write a fun activity on each piece of paper and as you tear them off, make that your fun activity for the day. {A summer bucket list can come in many forms – let us help you find fun things to do this summer in Lakeland + Polk County}

Blare that music and have a Dance Party

I almost forgot one of our summer traditions! We play “School’s Out for Summer” (by Alice Cooper) when we pick my boys up on the last day of school at the bus stop or in car line. They always roll their eyes {my husband and I might be singing along loudly} but I know they secretly love it.
(Editor’s Note – the other lyrics to this song aren’t my favorite, we stick to the chorus on this one)

Other songs to celebrate summer: (a quick YouTube search will pull all of these up)
Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
All Summer Long – Kid Rock
The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley
Summertime – Kenny Chesney
Summer Love – Justin Timberlake
Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts
Beat This Summer – Brad Paisley
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
My personal favorite – Summertime by Bon Jovi!

Looking for the date for the last day of school in Polk County for 2024? Click here to see the school calendar for 2023 – 2024

Wondering when Polk County Schools go back in Fall 2024? Click here to see the school calendar for 2024 – 2025

Summer Fun Guide

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun for Summer Camps, Things to Do Around Lakeland, Things to Do at Home, Open Playgrounds, Places to Play Outdoors, FREE Bowling, Swim Lessons, 4th of July Events, Reading programs, Online Camps, and much more!