7 Fun Activities To Keep Students Engaged At The End Of The Year

With the end of the year upon us, things are surprisingly busier than usual. Teachers and students alike are ready for the sweet taste of summer, but it's not quite here yet. There's still a lot of work to be done. It's important to purposefully plan activities to help keep your students engaged and help you keep your sanity. It is an extra added bonus when these activities are secretly educational as well. I know how hard it can be to think of creative and fun projects when you have so much going on. Have no fear though teacher friends, I'm here to help you with 7 fun end of the year activities to keep your students engaged in learning!

Plan fun and exciting activities to keep your students engaged at the end of the year with these 7 awesome activities your first graders will love.

1. Be A Teacher Day

My students absolutely love any opportunity to role-play, but nothing gets them more excited than getting the opportunity to play the role of a teacher. This activity is great to use as part of a reward system for your students. 

The idea is that students earn points to cash in on "be the teacher day". I generally start tracking points after spring break to give all of my students the opportunity to earn enough points to participate in this much anticipated day. 

A favorite end of the year activity for students is always the be a teacher day activity!

It can be as simple as putting up a star chart to reward students for being polite, turning in homework on time, reading a book, or any other activities you feel would be reasonable for your students to complete. Whatever works best for you and your students is a great option.

When it's time for "be the teacher day", I put the names of all the students who have earned enough points into a basket and draw from it throughout the day. I like to try to have enough activities planned for each student to be drawn. I have had students lead morning work, give a spelling quiz, walk the class to lunch, recess, or electives classes, lead a math review mini-lesson, and answer the classroom phone or intercom if the office calls in. 

Be a teacher day activities are a class favorite. I always get excited students in September asking if I'm going to do the "be a teacher day" at the end of the year because they have heard about it on the bus, at recess, or from a sibling I had in the past. 

2. End of the Year Memory Book 

Do you need a fun end-of-the-year memory book that doesn't take a lot of time to complete? If so, you'll LOVE these simple, interactive school memory lapbooks. I love including this activity as a way to engage students in learning and capture school memories at the end of the year. 

Students will get to color, cut, and paste a variety of foldable writing prompts into their lapbooks to record some of their favorite memories. Some of the things included are memories about the school year, information about friends, something students did that made them proud, and more! 

End of the year memory books like these are a great activity to help your students remember all of the amazing things they have accomplished during the year.

Once these are complete they make the cutest keepsake that students will be so proud to share with their families! In addition to the interactive lapbook pieces, there is also a choice of covers to customize them further. I've also included a few extra cut-and-paste activities for fast finishers or "just for fun" activities. This resource makes the perfect center activity to help keep students engaged at the end of the year! 

3.  A Little Learning Mess

One of my most favorite, and "sneaky cleaning" activities has to be letting students use shaving cream like a whiteboard on their desks or tables. Shaving cream is an amazing end-of-the-year resource because it cleans desks and tables better than almost anything, and your room will have a crisp, clean smell for a few days afterward. My kids love playing with shaving cream. It's messy and clean at the same time. 

On shaving cream day, you can feel the excitement in my classroom the minute students come in. There's lots of whispering and giggling as they spot the cans of shaving cream waiting for them. I can get a lot of shaving cream at our local discount store, or if you have parents asking how to help, you can ask for them to send them in a few weeks before. 

Using shaving cream to practice spelling or math is a fantastic way to get in some hands on learning during your end of the year activities.

Our shaving cream activity starts with each student getting a small pile of shaving cream sprayed on their desk or table. Students will spread the shaving cream all over the surface of their desk or table until the space is completely white. Then, the game begins with a math problem or a spelling word. Students use their fingers to write and solve the math problem or write the spelling word in the shaving cream. I walk around to check answers. If they answer correctly, I give them another small pump of shaving cream to smear on the desk or table in front of them. If they answer incorrectly, they don't get any more shaving cream that time around. 

Once a student is out of shaving cream and their desk or table is clean, they get a damp paper towel and wipe off the surface. After that, they grab a personal whiteboard or clipboard and paper and have a seat on the carpet. They then solve the problems or write the words on the paper. The last student with shaving cream wins a small prize or piece of candy. This is by far one of the most fun and clean end-of-the-year activities I have ever done with my classes.

4. Hidden Picture Phonics Skills End Of The Year Activity

If you are looking for something low prep, but fun and educational for your students, hidden picture phonics skills pages are for you! These fun activities get students to use their detective skills to find hidden words in cute images. I get the magnifying glasses from our local discount store or I ask a teacher friend if I can borrow some from their science kit for the day. 

Hidden picture pages like these are a great addition to your end of the year activities and give your students a little more phonics practice before they leave for the summer.

The resource linked above focused on R-controlled vowels, an important topic to review towards the end of the year in first grade! To use, students will hunt for words hidden in their pictures. 

After finding the hidden words with the magnifying glass, the students write the word in the correct column under the image. Once they have found all of the words, they can color the picture. These worksheets are perfect for centers, group activities, or individual assignments for targeted skills practice. 

I know you and your students will love these word-finding activities so much, I would love for you to try them out for free. Click this link to get a set of super fun and engaging Hidden Words Phonics Skills Find, Write, and Color pages for FREE!

Grab these FREE phonics pages to include in your end of the year activities this year.

5. Long Vowel EE and EA Memory Game

Getting in some phonics practice at the end of the year is fun and easy with this long vowel memory game. It's also NO PREP for you which makes it even better. Just print two-sided on white paper and cut out the squares. If you can, laminate the cards to use for years to come. Students love it and you will love how engaged they are when they play.

Activate prior learning during your end of the year activities with these long vowel ee and ea matching games your students will love.

I like to use this as a carpet activity with my students during a day of rotations. I generally pick a day a few weeks before the end of the school year and designate it as game day. My students think they are playing games all day, but I know they are actually practicing the important skills we covered throughout the school year. I choose a student to mix up the pieces on the carpet for their group and make sure they are all circle side up. Students then take turns flipping over two cards at a time. If the image matches the long vowel EE or EA word, they keep both squares. The student with the most squares at the end of the game wins. 

I know your students will love this long vowel EE and EA memory game so much they will be begging to play it over and over! If you are looking for even more memory games for phonics review, you can find this NO PREP activity in my Phonics Games Bundle in my TPT store. 

6. Summer-Themed Write the Room

There's nothing better than building a bit of anticipation for summer towards the end of the school year. As things are winding down, I love to use this summer-themed Write the Room resource in our classroom. By the end of the year, my firsties are very familiar with write the room since it's one of my favorite activities to use throughout the year. This comes in handy since they can be fully independent by the end of the year! 

Get your kiddos ready for summer fun and get in some extra spelling practice with these summer themed write the room activities during the last few weeks of school.

This activity focuses on summer vocabulary words. Each card shows a picture of a familiar summer item like bubbles, sand, flip-flops, a sandcastle, and more! Students will use the writing boxes to figure out how to spell each word and record it on their paper. 

This is a fun way to encourage writing skills while learning how to spell some new summer words. After this activity is complete, I like to have students use their recording sheet to write a summer story in their journals too! 

7. End Of Year Countdown Board

This is a great activity that you can stretch out over the last month or week of your school year. There are several different ways to make a simple countdown calendar, but two of my favorites are either with balloons or a tissue paper "punch" wall.  This reminds me of an old game from game shows like The Price is Right and it's a favorite year after year.

I usually start this end-of-year countdown activity one month before the last day of school and countdown weeks until we reach the last week of school. On the last week of school, we count down the remaining days. But you could use this idea to countdown every day, start at a different time, or use it as a Fun-Friday treat all year long!

For option 1, the balloon method, simply write some ideas for fun activities on small strips of paper. These can be anything from lunch in the classroom with me, to extra time at recess, a class hike around the school, popsicles on Friday, or a special dress up day. 

Fold up the paper strips, and place them inside small balloons. Then blow them up, tie them off, and tape them down on a piece of poster board or a cork board. 

Make a super fun and exciting end of the year countdown board with a few simple supplies like balloons, construction paper, and posterboard.

Once a week, I will choose a student to pop a balloon and we will have that special activity for the week. On the last week, students will pop one balloon a day to count down to the last day of the school year. Alternatively, you can also make a tissue paper punch board instead of using balloons. Check out A Girl and a Gluegun for detailed instructions on making a punch board to use for your countdown! 

You can also use tissue paper, rubberbands, and plastic cups to make a punch board like the one shown here from A Girl and a Glue Gun.

No matter which option you choose, it's bound to be a student favorite! My students are so excited when I get out our end-of-the-year countdown board. It's a great way to put some fun into your otherwise hectic last weeks of the school year. 

Even More Fun and Engaging End-of-the-Year Activities 

I know how busy we are all feeling as our year comes to a close. Don't spend your time scouring the internet for ideas just to get lost in the chaos. Check out some more of my favorite end of the year activities here in my TpT Shop! 

With review games, phonics practice, and math activities I am sure you will find the perfect end of year activities your students will love and get a little review in too!

Save these End of Year Activities!

Be sure to pin this page to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you will be able to come back anytime for some great end of year activities to keep your students engaged. I have to be honest, some of these activities are so fun, you are going to want to use them throughout the school year!

Looking for fun and exciting end of the year activities to keep your students engaged in learning before heading home for the summer? Use these 7 fun activities during those last few weeks of school to keep your students excited about practicing and reviewing key concepts and skills they have learned throughout the school year. #thechocolateteacher #endoftheyearactivitiesforfirstgrade #firstgradeendoftheyearactivities #endoftheyearactivitiesforelementary #endoftheyearactivities

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