How to Have an End of Year Homeschool Festival
Why have a Homeschool End of Year Festival?
The 3 biggest reasons:
1- It is a great way to celebrate the end of the academic year and reward our kids for all their hard work. Moms too! It is a time to relax and have fun.
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 1:7
(If you homeschool year round, just call it something different.)
2- It signals that our school is wrapping up and summer is starting! For a couple years we made it a “Back to School” Festival, so be creative.
3- It is a great way for kids to burn off energy.
Back yards work well, especially if they are nice and flat. A park also works well particularly mid morning when most kids are in school. We have never had a problem securing a shelter to house our equipment or games and usually have it all to ourselves.
Wear old clothes, bring a sack lunch , and prepare to have fun!
My idea of an End of the Year Festival is a cross between a carnival and a field day. Each mom/family brings 1-2 activities. If you have 10 families this adds up quick. Get your kids involved in the ideas.
Here are some ideas that we have used:
Tickets: You can buy a roll of tickets from an office or dollar store. Have each person who is in charge of a game or an activity, give each child a ticket after they participate. The more you participate, the more tickets you can earn. These can be exchanged for popsicles or prizes at the end of the festival.
Popsicles: Chilly Willys are popular with kids and good when you get hot. Freeze them for a couple days before bringing them in a cooler filled with ice. Charge 1-2 tickets per pop.
Prize Boxes: Prize boxes include small toys and items in several boxes separated by worth; 1 ticket, 2, tickets, 3 tickets, and 5 tickets. Think fun school stuff; new or like new. Regift unwanted Christmas presents, Wendy’s frosty coupons (7 for $1), books, new pens/pencils, small stuffed animals, crayons, markers, art supplies, games, water bottles, wallets, or cool stuff kids like, etc. Make it age appropriate. Ask moms ahead of time to look for stuff to contribute. Save left overs for next year.
When I was in elementary school in Miami, our festival included gold fish as prizes but I haven’t been able to talk any moms into this yet. ☺ Goldfish are cheap.
Each mom/family brings or plans an event or two for the group. That mom will hand out tickets for each child that participates. You can adjust the games depending on the age of the kids.
- Relays are particularly fun: Wet sponge relay to fill a bucket with water first, balloon relay with balloon between knees without dropping it and then sit on it to pop it-hilarious, pass the sand (fill container while passing sand from a sand box).
- Tug-o-war – Try pitting moms against kids!
- Face Painting – Purchase paints inexpensively at craft stores. I have used acrylics but make sure you use paint that won’t cause skin irritations. Some paint is specific to face painting. Use small hand held mirrors, a card table and a couple of chairs, small brush tip brushes (for detail), a roll of paper towels and cup of water to rinse brushes. I use stencils and other ideas for things to paint but my best resource is an Usborne book series: I Can Crayon, I Can Finger Paint, I Can Draw Animals. Google ‘easy face painting’ or check out Pinterest for oodles of ideas. Print a few ideas and have them available for kids to choose. Think soccer balls, snakes, dolphins, the sun, insects, rainbows, butterflies, stars, hearts or if you are feeling brave, try some special eye doodles. The most inexperienced artist can pull this off.
- Races: burlap sack race (sacks acquired from local hardware store have lasted for years), 3 legged race (we used old neck ties to tie legs together), wheelbarrow race, 50 yard dash, etc.
- Floating ducks in water for younger kids. Pick up duck and tell the number written on the bottom for littlest or pick 2 and give answer of both added or multiplied together for older kids.
- Treasure Hunting: Have kids dig in sand for jewel rocks or treasures to keep- good for the youngest kids.
- Bean bag toss Once a mom did a toilet paper toss into a toilet lid fastened on a bucket.
- Apple bobbing
- Hula hooping (See who can go the longest- make up variations to how you can hula), or pass hula hoop in a circle of kids without letting go of each other’s hands.
- Balloon stuffing team relay – This was the funniest thing we have ever done. Buy XXXL clothing and have each team stuff all the balloons into clothes while a team member is wearing it. We used a sweat suit. See pictures below.
- Obstacle courses (crawl under trampoline, cross over made up bridge, hop around, crawl under haystack, slide down slide, cross over swamp on monkey bars, jump over cones, cross the river of death, dodge ball at finish line- you get the idea)
- Silly string wars are great for a grand finale.
- One year we had a talented mom make balloon animals for the kids.
- Oreo game – This is where you put an Oreo on your forehead and using only facial muscles, work it into your mouth. Hilarious to play and watch, especially with older teens.
- Olympics Adventure Group style: Fastest runner, longest jumper, farthest thrower (baseball or foot ball), farthest kicker, etc.
- Nerf Rocket shooter contest
- Horse shoes, penny pitch
- Egg toss – raw is best 🙂
- Rag tag – Place rag in kids back pocket and play tag.
- Toe pick up– Using marbles or ice cubes, see who can pick up the most using only their toes.
- Mummy wrap – See which team can wrap child first in toilet paper like a mummy.
- Bat spinning– See who can stay up the longest. Best to play in grass.
- Mystery box- Child puts hands into covered box and tells what is in box without seeing item.
- Minute to Win it Games
- Parachute games (We have used this in our nursing home ministry as well.)
- Basketball dunking
- Dangling Donut game. Use powered donuts for messy fun.
- Penny drop in a shot glass that is in a large pickle jar filled with water.
- Line up blind. Have kids line up in order of smallest to tallest while blind folded.
- Candy Count guessing– Guess how many beans in jar. Child closest wins the jar of candy.
- Frisbee toss
- Water balloon games (kids love these-store in coolers)
- Sprinkler Games
- Use your imagination!!!
These days are filled with the most precious of memories.
How do you celebrate the end of the year?
I would love to hear about any ideas you have! Please share.