Here are more end of school year activities that are free and fun. You’re in the countdown of the last few weeks of school. The students are excited and so are you. It takes some creativity, some innovation, and some extra movement to keep them focused and learning during May and early June.
You can listen to this post in the Teacher Writer Talks podcast, Episode 001, or you can stay here and read the blog!
This post was updated on May 2, 2023.
If you read last week’s post, End of Year Activities that Don’t Cost a Dime, you already have a few ideas. Here are a few more to get you through the end of the school year!
Part of Speech Sort
This is another active game that students love. Teachers love it too, because it gets the wiggles out while the students are practicing skills they’ve learned. Plus, it can be played inside or outside.
Here’s how to play:
- A set of task cards or word cards for each team. Another set of cards for the teacher. They should all be the same cards.
- Four baskets or envelopes for each team.
- Label the baskets or envelopes Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb. (For a variation on the game, you could add prepositions, or you could simply do subject and predicate, or simile and metaphor. Of course, then it wouldn’t be called Parts of Speech Sort, right? It would be Figurative Language Sort, or Subject Predicate Sort, or [Whatever You Want Sort]. 🙂
- Set the baskets or envelopes and a pile of cards on a desk or at a station away from where the students line up.
- Students go through the relay to the station one at a time.
- Each student chooses a card and places it in the appropriate basket or envelope.
- When students finish, they can have a quiet one-second high five celebration.
- Once all the teams are done, you share the correct cards for each category. Teams check their own and place any cards that are in an incorrect category aside.
- After checking, each team counts up how many cards they had to set aside because they were incorrect. Each card counts as one point.
- The team with the lowest score wins!
Outdoor Geometry I Spy
Do you have geometry shape cards in your classroom? Great! You have everything you need to play this game!
Students love this because what student doesn’t love an opportunity to get outside and do a fun activity?
This is a third grade appropriate review game, but it’s easily adapted to 4th or 5th grade. I’ll show you how.
Here’s how to play Outdoor Geometry I Spy:
- Each child needs a paper and pencil (with a clipboard if you have enough.)
- Here’s an easy trick if you don’t have enough clipboards. Have the students take their whiteboards to use as a writing surface. If you have enough of those large clips give each student one to hold their paper.
- Give each student a worksheet or cards with the geometric shapes you want to review.
- Are you a 4th or 5th grade teacher? Give your students a worksheet to calculate the diameter and radius of circles on the basketball court, drinking fountains, or any other circular object that would be outside. How about having them find the different categories of angles on items? For example, most windows would have a right angle. If you have octagonal windows, the students should find obtuse angles.
- Have them measure the area of shapes, for example the area of one hopscotch square. Then have them find the area of the entire hopscotch game.
- Find the perimeter of geometric objects.
- Measure the length of painted lines on the play area.
- Whatever geometric task that fits your class and your play area works! You do you!
That’s it for this game! It’s all about review and not about winning. My students loved to do this at the end of the year.
Playing Cards Hoop Shoot
This has been a favorite game with my students and not too many teachers know about it. So I’m letting you in on my secret so your students can enjoy it too.
It’s a review of the basic basketball skills of dribbling, shooting hoops, passing, and passing with a bounce.
Supplies you need to play this game:
- You need a stack of playing cards. You’ll need a two or three decks in a pile. I kept mine in a little plastic tub from the Dollar Store.
- You’ll need one basketball for every two students.
- Basketball hoops.
- You need a timer. You can play for 15 or 20 minutes or until your cards run out.
Rules of play:
- Students get into pairs. If you have an odd number of students, make one trio.
- One student from each team is the card picker.
- The teacher holds the tub of cards. Each card picker runs to the teacher and gets one card at a time.
- The cards are worth face value and the Jack, Queen, and King are worth 10. Therefore, an Ace is worth one, a five is worth five, and a Jack is worth ten.
- Each suit represents a different task.
- Hearts = pass
- Spades = pass with a bounce
- Clubs = dribble
- Diamond = hoop shoot
- Once the team has a card, they have to do the task related to the suit for the number of times indicated on the card. For example,
- 3 of Hearts = students pass the basketball three times to each other.
- 4 of Spades = 4 bounce passes to each other
- 5 of Clubs = each student must dribble the basketball five times
- Queen of Diamonds = each student must shoot to the hoop ten times. It doesn’t matter if they make the shot or not. They just need to practice shooting hoops.
- Once they’ve completed a task, one student on the team puts the card in his or her pocket and the other student gets a new card from the teacher.
You may want to keep this game non-competitive. If you prefer competitive play, have the teams count up the number of cards they have when they’re done. You could also have them add up the numbers of the cards to get a more accurate representation of what they did.
Do you dread going through your classroom library shelves and tubs to clean out the old books and keep it up to date? Then don’t do it. Seriously.
Have the students clean and update the classroom library. Their payment? They get to choose a book from a selection you provide.
My students loved doing this at the end of each year. Here’s how it worked. I kept my books in tubs according to genre. You may have a different method. But essentially, this is what they do:
- Sort the books so they are in the proper genre.
- Wipe down the shelves or tubs.
- Put the books back in their proper places. As they do this, examine each book to make sure it doesn’t have damage, or isn’t older than a certain number of years.
- Put all the damaged or older books on a table.
- Call students to the table by groups to choose a book to take home.
- If you have more books after each student has picked, call them up again to pick another.
Which Books Should You Give Away at the End of the School Year?
It’s totally up to you! However, the most worn or damaged books were the most loved. Usually these were the ones the students wanted. I would look over the table full of books first, to make sure there were none there that I absolutely wanted to keep. Then I let the students take their pick.
They loved this and even though the books were older, they were psyched about getting paid for doing a little work around the classroom. Plus, since the books were some of their favorites, it was almost a guarantee that they’d be reading something over the summer break.
These activities plus the activities from last week’s blog post are the time-tested favorites from my classes. Do you have other fun and free end of year activities that you and your class like to do? If so let’s all share the ideas in the comments! The more ideas we have, the better, right?
I teamed up with four other teachers to bring you a blog post full of FREE and low-cost resources for end of the year activities. Be sure to check out End of School Year Activities That are Free or Low Cost.
Take care and enjoy these last few weeks of school, my teacher friend!
P.S. Don’t forget to keep them writing over the summer! I have digital and printable writing journals with video and website links the students can use with a summer theme. You can give them a digital or printed journal and once they bring it back in the fall, they can get a prize from you. Try three days for free to see if it’s a fit for your class!
P.P.S. Don’t forget to grab your free copy of the video course “Plan Your Year Like a Boss in 5 Days or Less.” You can get your entire school year mapped out and never have to waste another weekend planning!