6 Ways to End the School Year

Last updated: May 25, 2021, at 4:22 p.m. PT

Originally published: May 25, 2021, at 1:40 p.m. PT

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Well folks, we made it to the end of another school year. Congratulations to all of the students and families who navigated a second year of pandemic-effected school and work! For many, it was a year full of virtual classes and meetings, ever-changing hybrid models, and constant curveballs. Because of that, the need to celebrate our milestones is so much more important. For children who have been staying at home during the school year, it can be helpful to mark the official beginning of summer, even if it means more time at home.

Here are some ways that you and your family can officially put the 2020-21 school year in the rearview mirror, and set your sites on warmer weather.

The Welcome Home Party

Are your little ones taking the bus home from school? If they are, why not greet them at the door with a summer surprise and start the fun right away - dust off the sprinkler, dig deep into the chest-freezer for a handful of popsicles, or fill that toy bin with water balloons! Even if your children are ending the school year remotely, don’t underestimate the power of opening the backdoor to a yard full of summer treats.

Celebrate Teachers and School Staff

It’s no secret that remote learning was pretty hard on everyone, especially teachers and school staff. Sitting down with your little learners to create thank you cards or homemade gifts for their teachers and support staff is a great way to not only spread some joy, but put an exclamation point on the end of the school year.

Take Time to Reflect

So much has been said about the struggles and strife of the 2020-21 school year, but what about the successes? Celebrating your family’s milestones and the achievements is just as important as talking about what made this year so hard. Overcoming challenges is such a big part of a student’s school experience, and the 2020-21 school year had plenty of those. Ask your children open-ended questions: “Thinking back on the school year, what was the hardest part?” “How did this year prepare you for next year?” “What are you going to miss the most?”

Envision Summer Fun

Whether it’s a discussion around the dinner table, a wish-list in a local events guide, or a full on summer fun vision board crafting session, spend some time as a family making summer plans. They don’t need to be showstoppers either, just putting a couple of park days or movie nights on the calendar is a great way to bond, celebrate the end of a school year, and give the whole family something to look forward to. This is also a great opportunity to support some local businesses who've been relying on summer business to stay afloat.

High Five, Parents

Children and Teens aren’t the only ones who deserve celebrating this June. What about you? Set aside some time for you, as adults, with or without the kids. Find a babysitter for a few hours so you can get out of the house, or work with the neighbors to set up some rotating play dates are great ways to take a deep breath and unwind before diving headfirst into summer. (And there’s no shortage of great to-do lists if you need a little inspiration!)

Great Summers Start Here

Last, but not least, summer camp is one of America’s great pastimes, and an awesome way to check off everything on your summer bucket lists in one fell swoop. The YMCA of Greater Seattle is offering a wide variety of summer camp experiences for youth as young as entering kindergarten. For more information on our camp offerings, and to enroll your camper today, visit our website.