As the school year ends and summer begins, visions of beach days, amusement parks and warm evenings under the stars dance through the heads of students. Say farewell to pencils and books and welcome the season of recess with a party theme based on traditional summertime activities. A bit of creativity, a few supplies and the help of some parents is all you need to create an end-of-the-year party they will remember long after the last dismissal bell has rung.
What better way to celebrate the start of summer than with a beach party? Have each student color and decorate a paper starfish. String them together to make a beach-themed banner. Drape beach towels over the chairs and spread them out on the floor. Decorate with inflatable beach balls and cut-outs of sea creatures. Top a batch of cupcakes with blue frosting and cocktail umbrellas. Place a strip of fruit leather under the umbrella on each cupcake. Lay a miniature teddy bear-shaped graham cracker on top of the fruit leather "beach towel." Bury the supplies for a beach-themed craft in sandboxes. Have students dig for these treasures. Craft ideas for kids to make at the party include seashell photo frames, Hawaiian leis and decorated flip-flops.
Set up a couple of tents and throw a camping-themed party. Ask parents to loan out camping tents for the day or drape sheets over desks to make your own. Give out miniature flashlights and have groups rotate tents to play word games and decorate nature-inspired crafts. Build a faux campfire with rocks, sticks and flames made out of card stock. Gather around the fire to tell stories, sing songs and eat marshmallows on skewers. Serve hot dogs and s'mores. Cook the hot dogs ahead of time and use marshmallow spread to make the s'mores.
Hand out foam animal visors for students to wear at their zoo-themed party. Divide the classroom into stations that represent zoo exhibits. Have them make penguins out of felt at the "penguin exhibit" or play jungle animal charades at the "safari" station. At the "aquarium," play sea-creature bingo. Set up a "feeding time at the zoo" table with animal-shaped cookie cutter sandwiches and boxes of animal crackers.
Host a carnival for the entire school in the gym or schoolyard. Rent a bounce castle, set up a face-painting station and serve cotton candy and snow cones. Set up a variety of carnival games and enlist the help of parents to run them. Choose uncomplicated games such as ring toss, bean bag toss and magnet fishing. Arrange a cupcake or candy walk in the style of a cake walk. Play traditional party games with a carnival twist, such as pin-the-nose-on-the-clown. Instead of game prizes for each game, give out tickets. Students can use these tickets to "purchase" the snack treats and to gain admission to the bouncy house. Create goody bags with a carnival theme and hand them out to each student at the end of the carnival.
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