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Ten End of Summer Traditions You Can Start Now

Ten End of Summer Traditions You Can Start Now

Last Day of Summer Activities

It’s hard to let the last lazy days of summer slip behind us. This season of sunshine goes by way too fast. There is no way around it. But before we head back inside to hit the books, it’s worth it to take the time to say a proper farewell to summer vacation. For us, we mix it up. Our last day of summer traditions have changed as we’ve grown. Some years we have done a big BBQ, others we hit a favorite trail, there have been giant and elaborate ice cream sundae bars and movie nights at the drive-in.

Each end of summer tradition has done its part to soften the sting of loss and each has left us with one last beautiful summer vacation memory that we can look back on and smile at. To ease your pain as we bid farewell to late mornings and days at the lake, I have put together this list of ten summer traditions you can start now so that you can celebrate the Last Day of Summer Vacation.

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Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Ice Cream Sundae Bar

The Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This is a family favorite. We like to gather a few tubs of ice cream, a few bottles of caramel and fudge, sprinkles, and gummy bears and whipped cream. Then we slice up some bananas and strawberries, add a side dish of crushed pineapple and finally put out a  heaping bowl full of cherries. Wa la – an ice cream sundae bar awaits. Get creative with your family favorites. This can be followed up by a great end of summer movie. We are partial to Jaws and The Sandlot but to each their own. Here is a great list from Best Life if you need some inspiration.

The 20 Best Summer Movies of All Time

End of summer picnic
End of Summer Picnic

Picnic At The Lake

Why not go all-in for that last day of summer vacation? This family-friendly idea is sure to see that your kids fall to sleep early rather than staying up way too late in anticipation! Spend a day at the lake swimming and throwing the frisbee or football around. Bring some coloring books and storybooks. We also bring card games. To each their own. Then enjoy a great big picnic together. We like to grill but you could do sandwiches and salads if that’s your thing. Whatever it is, go slow. No rushing, no hurrying home. Savor the last hours of your sweet summer vacation.

S'Mores Bonfire Party
S’Mores Bonfire Party

Bonfire With S’mores

This has been T’s favorite way to say goodbye to his summer vacation. We have a big fire outside around the fire pit, complete with s’ mores. We mix up the smores, by making s’mOreos, (using Oreos in place of crackers). We also offer chocolate as well as regular graham crackers. Instead of just using Hershey Bars, we like to make the Nutty Buddy (using peanut butter cups) and buy the bags of mixed mini candy bars for a whole variety of fun flavors. We spend the time around the fire re-living our summer vacation. Everyone tells about their favorite parts. We play the radio low, light sparklers, and watch the stars. It makes for a rather blissful ending.

Drive In Movie Night
Drive-In Movie Night

Head To The Drive-In

This is such a fun adventure. If you have a truck then fill it up with blankets and pillows and a cooler full of goodies. If you have a car then bring some folding chairs and a cooler full of goodies. There is something so summer about watching a movie under the stars. And the ride home everyone is sleepy and full and content.

BBQ Party
BBQ Party

Have An End of Summer BBQ

This is a great way to end the summer. Invite friends, family, and neighbors over to grill! Have everyone bring their favorite summertime treats. Try for pies, pasta salads, fruit salads, and even fruit pizzas. Just whatever their favorite summery food is. (Make sure to get recipes from your favorite dishes). If someone makes a great BBQ Sauce, see they get there early.

Water War Summer Fun
Water War Summer Fun

Have a Water War

We have ridiculous amounts of fun with this one. Invite everyone! Tell them to bring squirt guns if they have them. Super Soakers are welcome too. Then fill several tubs full of water balloons. We usually do girls vs boys but divide them up any way you want and see who can soak the other team better. (It’s best to set a boundary area). This time of year all of the water toys are on sale so you can get huge amounts of water guns and water balloons for next to nothing. We had over forty water guns at our last water war and they cost me under $10.00. That does not include the giant ones of course. Keep in mind, it takes time to fill all of those balloons and squirt guns so get ready early. Make sure to remind everyone to bring towels and a change of clothes.

Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt

Have A Scavenger Hunt

We love Scavenger Hunts. Our Easter Bunny even left a Scavenger Hunt every year until T got too big. Scavenger Hunts are super fun and they are so easy to organize. If you lack the time or planning skills to put one together, Pinterest offers all kinds of helpful plans. For an end of summer Scavenger Hunt, we recommend you have the prize be something for school that you know they will really love. A pair of sneakers they were wanting but thought you said no to. A pencil box with an inspiring quote on it. A set of colored pencils and a sketch pad, a Chemistry Set if Science is there thing. Whatever you think will get them excited about school, that’s your prize. You’d have to get most of that stuff anyway. So really, it just makes for an extra special delivery.

Family Game Night
Family Game Night

Family Game Night

Haul out that stack of board games and a few decks of cards. Pop some popcorn or fill some bowls with chips and layout the dip varieties. T is fifteen and he is still down for a good old fashioned family game night. Make this one extra special by keeping the conversation focused on all the best parts of summer and the things they are most looking forward to for the school year ahead. Have fun together.

Back To School Spa Day
Back To School Spa Day

Spa Day

OK, so I grew up with five sisters and it’s probably showing right now. But a good old Spa Day has everyone feeling their very best for the first day of school. Buy some sheet masks, or a good clay mask and laugh your way through that process. Slice some cucumbers up and place them on your eyes while those masks do their thing. Paint nails for those who want pretty nails and organize back to school outfits together. Don’t forget to accessorize. You can put on a little fashion show if you like. It’s a fun way to prepare for the first day back in class.

Summer Photo Shoot
Summer Photo Shoot

Do A Summer Photo Shoot

You can have so much fun with this. Buy a watermelon and take pics of your kids getting big bites of that juiciness. Offer them sidewalk chalk and capture them creating art outside. Take them to the pool and try and capture the magic moment when their cannonball lands in a giant splash. Let them play with the hose or pick flowers. Whatever you do, capture them enjoying summer and take it one step further and order prints. Before the sun sets on the last day of summer order those prints. When you receive them, put them on the fridge so everyone can remember how awesome summer vacation was!

However you celebrate your last day of summer vacation together, I hope you count it as a treasure. It only happens once a year! We are always looking for reasons to celebrate life around here. If you have a favorite tradition please feel free to tell us all about it in the comments section below. If you have been inspired and are going to celebrate with one fo these suggestions, please share those too! We love to hear from you. It makes us happy!

Wishing you great happiness and a beautiful school year ahead!


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Top Ten Summer Traditions
Top Ten Summer Traditions

7 thoughts on “Ten End of Summer Traditions You Can Start Now

    1. Absolutely Alexis! Picnics are so easy to put together and so much fun too. My husband and I are putting one together for date day next week. I’ve got all the french bread and cheese and wine and fruit on the grocery list. Can’t wait! Be well and thanks for visiting!

  1. Those are some wonderful ideas. For us, it will be going for a “fall” camping trip in October. (The end of summer is a little muddier for us Texans.) But I love all of these ideas for wrapping up the summer and welcoming fall.

    1. Oh, that sounds awesome, Sarah! I love a good camping trip! We have a fall hike planned for October and I can’t wait to see the trees all decked out. Hope your trip is amazing!

  2. Benny from The Planning Geek says:

    Amazing! This post has inspired me to create my own end of summer traditions as I don’t really have any!?

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