5 Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions Your Kids Will Love

Over the last couple of years, I’ve really upped my game for the last day of school.

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


It occurred to me that I was placing a whole lot of emphasis on the first day of school, (and rightly so), but not doing a whole lot to celebrate the last day of school.

Really, school is a lot of work for the kiddies; I want to recognize and celebrate that!

And I want my kids to look back with a big smile and a warm heart when they reminisce about their elementary school days and how we kicked off every summer.

So I’ve set out to make the last day special and fun without taking them all somewhere that costs a ton of money. (We’re saving for a new house, ya know!)

I’m a firm believer in the ole “Making it special and memorable doesn’t have to be expensive” mindset.

As such, here are some of the ways we celebrate the last day of school  without spending a ton of money:


#1 A Sweet Treat

‘Cuz it’s not a celebration unless there’s sugary snack to gorge on. I kid, I kid.

But I do love to bake and the kids love to eat baked goods; it’s a win-win. I have baking staples stocked in my pantry at all times but let’s just estimate a tray of treats at somewhere around $3-$5 for things like chocolate and baking liners. 

I usually go with my ole stand-bye; these chocolate chip cookies.

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


#2 A Festive Banner

I’ve used this banner 3 years in a row and I plan on using it until it disintegrates. It’s colorful and fun and I love to re-use decor as much as possible. Plus, nothing says party like a banner.

Between the paper and the pre-made letters, I think I spent about $4 on this. And re-using it every year means I can go a little bigger on books if I need to and not feel like I’m blowing the budget.

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


#3 A New Book

We are a family of readers (I am a former teacher, after all) and we do silent reading time every day, so this is the perfect way to get our summer started.  And I love hearing them shriek with excitement when they see the book waiting for them at their spot. I try to choose a book that’s $6 or less. (Amazon is my best friend these days, but you could also plan ahead a secretly get some books from their school book fair or their teacher’s book club orders.)

I get one for the big kids who are in school as well as the little kids who are not yet in school. In our house, that’s 5 kids including my niece and nephew, so there’s $30 right there. The bulk of the budget, but so worth it.

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


#4 Party Decor

It takes all of 10 minutes to blow up a few balloons and lay down a plastic table cover. Admittedly, I just use the brightest balloons I can find that come with the helium tanks, so I sort of look at this as a free addition to the celebration. Meaning, I buy a large helium tank about once a year for all the birthdays and just buy colored balloons to match each party as needed. It works out to less than a dollar per balloon (oh yeah- I calculated it down to the cent once) but I can’t remember the exact amount, so let’s round up for argument's sake. 6 balloons, two table covers from Dollar Tree/ Walmart; that’s about $8. $9 if you grab a bag of shredded paper confetti from Dollar Tree as well. I found some leftover on my craft shelf so that was free for me this year.

This year I also picked up a pack of bubbles at Wal-Mart for $3.88...

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


And I used some paper and thread I had lying around to make these fun confetti mobiles. My kids loved 'em! And I loved that they were free!

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa


#5 The Summer Bucket List

I got this idea from a pin I saw on Pinterest a few years back. Sometimes we complete this before the last day of school and sometimes it’s on the last day of school, but either way it’s the same idea. We all take turns suggesting activities we want to do before summer’s end. To avoid the excited roughhousing, I’m the scribe and I get final say. Being a grown up is awesome!

I try to keep this list to just the fun stuff because we make To-Do Lists for chores or other things that need to be done regularly. Best of all- this is FREE!

Cheap and Easy Last Day of School Traditions -MIY with Melissa



Grand Total

In case you've lost track, I only spent $38.88 this year! Pretty good for five kiddos! I definitely would have spent more taking them somewhere to celebrate. 


I loved our little last day of school celebration this year! Their excited little faces make me so, so happy! I hope you enjoy yours, too! How are you celebrating the last day of school? 


Happy celebrating and reading and list making, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!


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