Room Parent Update: Celebrating the End of the Virtual School Year


Nine months ago I wrote an article with tips for being a room parent. I could never have guessed that I would end the year writing an addendum to that piece with ideas about how to celebrate the end of the virtual school year.

It has been three months since our kids last stepped foot in their classrooms. Because of that, it is even more important to create closure for the year. Here are some ideas for creating an end of year experience for your child in a time when the difference between school and summer may just be a matter of the number of daily Zoom calls.

Make Your Own Class Picture

Many schools never had a chance to take a full class picture, since that is often done in the spring. This provides a wonderful opportunity to make something special to share with the teacher and the class. You can ask the parents to text or email you a headshot type picture of each child (we were clear that the kids did not have to be dressed up or even brush their hair). Then you can use a simple website like Canva to create a collage that is easily shared.

Host a Zoom Party

Zoom learning has been challenging for many, but there is still a plus side that kids get to see and interact with their friends. Just because we can’t meet in person for a popsicle party at the end of the year does not mean that we can’t have fun. There are plenty of activities and games that translate well to Zoom including Mad Libs, a Talent Show, Family Feud, Bingo, Charades, and Pictionary (you can use the White Board feature). You can also use online programs like Kahoot to create fun and interactive quizzes.

Create a Class Movie

We all remember the joy we felt when we found out that we were watching a movie in school. Hosting a Netflix Party allows kids to watch a movie together and chat (it is a chatbox, not a video). It is important to choose an age-appropriate movie that would make parents comfortable and a parent should be supervising the chat.

Do Something Apart, But Together

Zoom fatigue is a real thing. It may not be ideal to host yet another Zoom call, even if it is a fun one. Instead, there are activities that you can send out for kids to do on their own time and then report back (or not). A scavenger hunt is a great activity that takes some time (which is helpful these days). It can be done in the house or around the neighborhood. It is very simple to come up with a list of things to find and then email them out to the class.

If you are looking for an activity that is a little more interactive, you could create a Google Doc for parents to add their children’s favorite memories of the year. They can then look through everyone’s answers with their kids. It will spark some interesting conversations.

If you are in the mood to create something a little more sophisticated, you could also set up a Google Slide Show. You can assign each child a page by putting their name in the title box at the top. Then they can work with their parents to add photos and memories directly into the slideshow. It will create a nice keepsake to remember this crazy time.

Celebrate Your Child

While this post is meant to focus on classroom activities, it is also 100% OK if planning something for the classroom is just too much right now. No one expects anything from the room parents in this virtual world. If you have any money left in your classroom fund, you can buy your teacher a gift card (teachers love gift cards—they already have a million mugs, candles, and totes) and call it a day.

However, you may still want to celebrate your children. This could involve a special treat on the last day of school. You could let your kids choose dinner or get a special lunch after their last Zoom call. Take a picture with a “last day of school” sign to create a true end to the year. Hang up decorations congratulating them on finishing a difficult year.

This year has been like no other (I hope). That means we should absolutely celebrate getting through to the end of the virtual school year however that is meaningful and possible for you and your children. Truthfully, we all deserve a cupcake.