The end of the school year is near in Champaign-Urbana and we offer fun ways to celebrate a more-complicated-than-usual year
The school year is drawing to a close. And while many local families are celebrating a grad, or any number of other milestones, all last days are worth a celebration!
Last day of school photo
It is always fun to see the first day/last day comparisons of how much kids have grown over the course of the year. March outside or wherever you snapped that “first day” pic and get a last day one to go with it.
We love ice cream in Champaign-Urbana so why not use this as an excuse to venture out to Champaign-Urbana area favorites, like Jarling’s or Sidney Dairy Barn. More options? Check out our ice cream trail.
Have an outdoor movie
Move your TV outside or set up a projector to point toward a white sheet and watch a summer movie classic. Staying up late is always fun and even better if a movie is involved. If you don’t want to watch a movie at home …
Head to the drive-in
Drive to Harvest Moon in Gibson City (on weekends, or nightly beginning Memorial Day weekend) for a movie as a fam. You can buy advance tickets online ahead of time as this is a popular spot for summer family fun.
Play at the park
Go burn off some steam at any of Champaign-Urbana’s awesome playgrounds when the school bell rings. Pick the one you usually go to or mix it up. A round-up of all of our favorite parks can be found here.
Make a summer bucket list
It feels like so long since last summer wound down and this school year began… so why not make a summer bucket list (pools!) this week as a family? Odds are good if you ask your kids what’s on their summer bucket list, many of their ideas are going to be simpler than you ever imagined. One of the things our kids wanted to do was take Alexa outside for a dance party. See?
Look at pics from the school year together
This is meant to be a fun activity, not a sad one! Whatever the memories of the school year are, it’s fun to look back together. If you don’t want to look at pics, just ask your kids what their favorite memory of the year was and have fun talking together about it.
Have a picnic
Maybe you want to have a meal outside on the last day of school. Many of our favorites places for a picnic are close by.
Have a neighborhood parade
During the past couple of years we’ve learned to love a parade for almost any occasion. Have the kids walk down the street and neighbors clap from their driveway to celebrate them in the neighborhood. Make signs to say “see ya third grade” or whatever they just finished. Invite neighbors (with and without kids) to sit on their porch and driveway to celebrate. Have a teacher in your neighborhood? Wait until the weekend perhaps to make this fun and they can be the guest of honor in the parade as your entire neighborhood applauds them for their hard work during the school year.
Play with water
Set up the sprinkler, pull out the slip ‘n’ slide and fill the water guns. The last day of school is the perfect day to play with water! Or, if you want to take it up a notch …
Family color wars
When everyone — yes, this includes all parents in the household — is done with their commitments for the day, put on old (preferably white) clothes and have a color war. You can dilute regular washable paint and load it in a squirt gun, or order some powdered tempera paint to mix up and use the same way. Bonus if you use your kids’ school colors!
Make something to send to your child’s teacher
This is a great time to let your teachers know how much you appreciate them. Take time to record a short video of you and your child and email it to them to simply say “thanks.” This school year has been a tough time for them and we want them to know how much we appreciate them.
Blow up balloons or make a banner
You can decorate your front porch to surprise your kids on the last day of school. Tell them how proud you are of them!
Walk of Fame/Accomplishments
Thanks to Indy with Kids for this super idea. Set up signs along your driveway (or use chalk on your driveway) that show what your child accomplished at school this year. Things like “learned to pack her own lunch” or “joined running club” that may seem to be little things along the way but are actually some of the most momentous things our kids did this year.
Camp in the backyard
Have camping gear? Pitch a tent in the backyard, crank up the firepit for s’mores and have a blast “camping” to celebrate the start of summer.
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