I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for summer to start this year. This academic year has been full of challenges and struggles whether your kids were in person or virtual. We are winding down to the end of the school year quickly. The next few weeks are full of end of the year testing, field days, projects, and award days. Before we know it, summer will arrive. Here are some fun ways to celebrate the end of the school year and kick off summer fun!

kick off summer water balloon fightI like to start summer with some fun for my two kids. I tend to make a big basket full of summer items – the Summer Celebration Basket! This does not have to cost a ton. It can be full of things you would have to buy anyway for summer, either because they broke last year or your kids grew. I collect all the items till the last day of school. Then, I place them in a large group or basket left for them to find when they get home from the school that day.

Some items I like to include in our Summer Celebration Basket include new swim gear. This may include new towels. I love to find new fun towels for the summer trips to the beach, pool, or even the river. New floats or beach balls are always needed and can be found cheap in many stores. Do not forget new sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to protect their young skin. Aloe Vera might be a good idea too for the moms who are like me – remember to protect the kids but forget about myself. If your kids like to dive or hunt for items in the pool, diving sticks and other toys that sink to the bottom of the pool are fun and easy to add to the basket.

I like to take stock of things, like outdoor toys, during my planning time for this celebration basket. I will then pick up new items to replace the ones that got worn out during the previous summer. So maybe new basketballs, baseballs, or new Frisbees. I like to add new sidewalk chalk to draw on the sidewalk with our younger neighbors. Maybe add a new kite for windy days, or cool new outdoor games for the whole family to enjoy like Outdoor Jenga or Connect Four for the patio.

This year in our celebration basket, I am also including some new items that might keep my kids interested during those super hot summer days. For my son, I found some new drawing books and new colored pencils he wanted to try. My daughter is getting a new puzzle and new books to read. I might even go pick up a new board game to add as well. There are so many fun board or card games you can find in stores. I also picked up some fun family crafts to do when it is rainy and we all want to do something together. These are mostly outdoor themed to add to our garden or patio.

Other things you might include in your basket for the end of the year celebration are favorite summer snacks. Maybe stockpile the freezer with popsicles or ice cream bars. Gather some of your family’s favorite snacks for trips to the zoo or park. If your kids are attending any camps, maybe throw in items they will need for camp. Really, the sky is the limit! You can add as few or as many items as you like. Just have fun and watch your kids get excited for the start of summer with their new goodies.

Some other fun ways we celebrate the last days of school:

  • We have a silly string war with one of the kids’ cousins. I pick up silly string at the Dollar Tree and let them go at it.
  • Water balloon fight! Yes, I normally end up in the middle of this one even if I don’t want to.
  • Pick up a favorite meal or ice cream treat to celebrate!
  • And our favorite we have done in the past is burning the homework pages for the year in a bonfire and having s’mores.

Happy Summer, friends! We survived a crazy school year!