Can you remember any special ways your family marked the ending of one school year or the beginning of the next? Just like with any other special occasion, parents have a unique opportunity to create meaningful routines and traditions that kids will carry with them for years to come.
If you’re a Mom of school aged kids, more than likely you are just as excited as your kids are that school’s almost out for summer! We all know how fast summer flies by and before we know it, it’s time to head back to the routines fall brings. Below you’ll find 5 ideas to create memorable and meaningful traditions to enrich these seasons of transition.
First Day/Last Day Pictures
I haven’t usually thought to do this at the right times, but I’ve seen Moms share examples of a photo they’ve taken on the first day of school side by side with a photo they’ve taken on the last day of school of the same school year, and the differences can be striking. It’s a really neat way to actually document what you already know to be true – kids grow fast! So fast in fact that you can sometimes see amazing growth when you compare & contrast the differences between two pictures only 9 months apart.
First Day/Last Day Interviews
A fun activity my parents would sometimes do when my sister and I were growing up was to interview us on camera with short and sweet little interviews, complete with questions about the theme or topic for discussion. I’ve done this with my kids for random special occasions before and we all loved it! Now I’m thinking how fun it would be to interview my kids to document whatever is on their hearts on both the first and last day of school for any and all school years that we can!
First Day/Last Day Artwork
You may have seen this neat idea on end of year self portraits for kids here on the blog before. It would also be a fun way to mark the beginning of the school year as well so you can see the progression in kids’ artwork in the course of a year. Just be sure to save those precious pictures your kids make over the years in one spot for each child so everybody knows where to find them when their school years have come to a close. We use a memory keeper like this book to organize and store both my girls’ most important artwork and other school papers.
Last Day of School Celebration
My kids and I typically have a backyard themed party for just us girls the afternoon of the last day of school. It’s a tradition we started a few years ago and we all love it so much we definitely want to continue it. It’s nothing overly complicated or fancy, just some colorful napkins, plates, snacks, and a special drink pulled together as a special treat. Then we all sit around and talk about how fast the school year went and we plan our annual trip to our local breakfast spot that we’ve gone the morning of the first day of summer for the last few years. What fun!
My friend made this amazing welcome home message to surprise her kids with on the last day of school! Can’t you just imagine the sheer glee those kids must have felt seeing this fun surprise? It really is the little things that mean the most! Huge thanks to my awesome friend for allowing me to share 😉
Read a Good Book
Reading an age appropriate book to mark the transition from one school year to the next is another great way to help both kids and adults process the passage of time and prepare for what’s ahead. My daughter who just turned 14 loved the 8th Grade: A 30 Day Devotional from Family Christian she read recently to get ready for next school year.
Here’s Natalie’s take on this book: The devotional book has lots of different stories from the author’s 8th grade year. The author gave scripture and examples that 8th graders could relate to about putting Jesus first in your life. He encouraged his readers to think about all the leadership opportunities they have and how to take advantage of them and be a Christlike example to their friends and peers.
There are many great books out to read with kids to prepare for pivotal transitions, no matter their ages and stages!
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I love the chalk in the driveway idea! That’s so fun! I have a little brother and sister in elementary school so I’ll have to show my mom this post! Thank you for sharing.
AWE love that! Thanks Natalie 🙂
Tomorrow is my son’s last day. I should do a post on our end of school year traditions.
He gets ice cream and a cupcake for breakfast on the last day. We started this a few years ago. And then I hang a poster on the garage that says Welcome to summer _____ grader! And we take pictures by that when he gets home.
How fun! Hope you have a wonderful summer!
Looks like we are two peas in a pod! I just shared 5 ways to wrap up the school year -http://www.hollymcberty.com/2016/05/5-easy-ways-to-prepare-for-last-day-of.html
Enjoy your summer!!!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing Holly 🙂