You could swear it was just yesterday that your child proudly marched into a whimsical kindergarten classroom. Suddenly, you blinked — it’s graduation day and your tiny kindergartner has transformed into a spunky tween. Now, you find yourself preparing for the challenges and excitement of middle school or junior high.

Before you jump into the even faster-paced lifestyle of a junior high parent, take a moment to pause and appreciate just how far you’ve come. Celebrate your 5th or 6th grader’s accomplishments and the last day of school with an elementary school graduation party that closes the chapter on an extra special time of life — and sets the stage for the journey ahead.

Elementary school graduation party ideas often focus on themes that celebrate the transition from childhood to early adolescence, incorporating fun, age-appropriate activities. Elementary school graduation parties can include outdoor picnics, themed parties, or interactive games that engage the young graduates and their friends in a memorable way.

To help, we’ve compiled a roundup of all the best kid-oriented elementary graduation party ideas to help you prepare for a low-stress, high-fun occasion. These are ideal for tweens but also work for kindergarten graduation.

Elementary school graduation BigHead

Graduation Celebration Planning Tips 

Diving into the planning of your elementary graduate’s big day should be as joyful and stress-free as possible. Kick off with pinpointing the perfect date and picking a theme that sparks joy and excitement—not just for your grad but for all the young guests. This theme will be your compass for decorating, choosing activities, and, of course, crafting those all-important invitations. Whether you’re leaning towards whimsy digital invites or tangible, themed cards, ensure they encapsulate the spirit of your celebration. Include key details like the when and where, and a friendly prompt for RSVPs. Aim to dispatch these invites about a month in advance, giving everyone ample time to pencil you in.

And here’s a fun twist to amp up the excitement: suggest in your invites that guests come donning their school t-shirts. It’s a fabulous way to rally that school spirit, making for an unforgettable sea of smiling faces and themed attire in your party snaps. Plus, it weaves in an extra layer of togetherness, celebrating not just an individual achievement but a collective journey through elementary school. So, as you embark on this party-planning adventure, remember it’s all about creating moments of joy and a sense of unity among the young graduates and their cheerleaders.

Elementary Graduation Party Decorations and Themes

Set the tone for a fun-filled party with vibrant decorations that play into the graduation party theme. No celebration will be complete without these party supplies: 

Balloon Arches

This Instagrammable centerpiece has long been a mainstay of the classic high school grad party, but it’s also a great option for elementary school graduates. Select balloons representing either previous or future school colors. Either way, this will be the perfect backdrop for photos with friends and family members.

Class of 20XX Signs

Your child is both a current and future graduate, as reflected in any indoor signs, yard signs, or graduation banners you display at your big party. Go with the current year to keep the focus on the big achievement of graduating elementary school — or look ahead to the future with signs that reveal when the guest of honor will graduate high school. DIY can be a fun project, but you can also easily order these online.

 Graduation Caps Decor

Your little graduate might not actually don a cap or robe, but these accessories remain relevant nonetheless. Incorporated in party decor, they will immediately convey the theme of your bash. From tablecloths to napkins, straws, confetti, and even cupcake toppers, graduation caps can be incorporated into nearly every aspect of your party setup.

BigHead Decor

Keep it silly with BigHeads featuring the proud graduate and, if desired, a few close friends. These can be props for your photo booth or displayed throughout your party setup. Tweens can be sensitive, so get permission before you print any candidates.

Having fun with a BigHead.

Cardboard Cutouts

Cardboard cutouts provide yet another customized opportunity to add a special touch to your graduation party. These go above and beyond, bringing your favorite photos of your favorite preteen to life. Again, permission is essential — but you can always add the dorkiest pictures of the graduate’s proud parents to the mix.

Graduation Backdrop

Tie everything together with a vibrant backdrop that adds instant pizzazz to your party. Customizable decals and murals are easy to apply and can feature any images you find compelling. For an especially meaningful mural or graduation banner, upload a picture of your child’s beloved elementary school or its mascots.

Graduation Celebration Snacks and Beverages for Kids

After guests have oohed and ahhed over your graduation party decor, they’ll be ready to chow down. While you can certainly provide a full meal, it’s often easier to provide snacks and cake. Stick to the theme by incorporating images of caps and gowns — or elementary school mascots, if you prefer.

Be the first to find out about our latests posts, promotions, and offers!

Thematic Recipes

Sticking to a theme can be tricky for graduation party snacks — and, when a fussy 5th or 6th grader is involved, you’d be forgiven for diverging from the central concept. If you’re able to remain on theme, however, you’ll find that graduation cap imagery can be incorporated into a surprisingly wide range of food ideas and options. Get creative as you build this concept into the following favorites:

  • Fruit tray featuring a watermelon carved with the graduation year
  • Chips and dip, stored in bowls shaped like graduation caps
  • Deck out the dessert table with candy dishes in the shape of the numbers from the graduation year
  • Ditch the graduation theme and center snacks around the school mascot or your kid’s favorite sports

 Graduation Cake

Simple is often best for graduation desserts. When in doubt, a large sheet cake from your local grocery store or bakery should do the trick. It can be decked out in a “Congrats!” message or even a graduation hat topper. If you prefer something unique, serve a cookie cake or cupcakes.

Graduation cake.

Emily’s Graduation Cake” by nickgraywfu is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Engaging Activities for Elementary Graduation Celebrations

While high school and college graduates are often content to simply snack and chat, younger students may need a little more guidance. Plan a few simple party games or activities to keep everyone entertained. These ideas should help:

Photo Booth

Featuring cardboard cutouts, BigHeads, or other decor ideas highlighted above, a photo booth will provide hours of posing fun. Hang on to these silly graduation photos for a future display — high school graduation is closer than you think!

Talent Show

Was your child involved in the school band or dance club? Why not put on a show and celebrate school spirit? Natural performers will jump at this opportunity to show off. Another fun option? Encourage your graduate and his or her friends to plan a short skit.

Elementary Graduation Trivia

Draft a few questions that capture the essence of your child’s elementary school years. These will form the basis of an entertaining trivia game, with the winner earning a gift card or some other compelling prize. Encourage guests to submit their own questions to make the game even more competitive.

Elementary School Graduation Keepsakes & Party Favors

All parties must come to an end, but you can make those goodbyes less bittersweet by sending party guests away with keepsakes and party favors. Here’s how to make those parting gifts unforgettable:

Photo Booth Memories: If your party included a photo booth, send guests home with charming snapshots. These photos serve as instant keepsakes, capturing the joy and friendship of the occasion.

Graduation Cap Candy Boxes: Opt for simplicity with small boxes designed like graduation caps, filled with sweet treats. This easy yet thematic favor is sure to delight guests of all ages.

Customized “Graduate” Certificates: Hand out personalized certificates, styled as “Graduate of the Best Elementary School Party.” Roll them into scrolls and secure them with a ribbon for a whimsical nod to traditional diplomas. Customize with amusing titles and achievements to make each one special.

Personalized Bookmarks: Create bookmarks that feature the graduation date, the child’s name, or an inspirational quote. Incorporate school colors or motifs like books and pencils to reflect the educational theme.

Graduation Cap Jars: Fill small jars with candies, topping each with a mini graduation cap crafted from black cardstock and adorned with a tassel. This sweet treat doubles as a decorative keepsake.

Tassel Keychains: Fashion keychains with small tassels that resemble graduation tassels, adding beads or charms related to the graduation year or the graduates’ interests. This DIY craft offers a unique keepsake and can be an interactive party activity if you arrange a keychain-making station.

Custom Bracelets: Offer bracelets in the school’s colors, featuring charms or beads that denote the year or school initials. These bracelets can be a fun party accessory and a cherished memento. Consider setting up a bracelet-making station for an added interactive experience.

Photo Magnets: Use photos from the photo booth or candid shots taken during the party to create personalized photo magnets. These magnets allow guests to relive the memories every day.

Special Keepsakes for the Guest of Honor: For the graduate, consider preserving the cap, tassel, and gown in a safe place. Compile yearbook and class photos into an album or scrapbook, creating a tangible collection of memories to revisit and cherish.

Plan the Best Graduation Party

Whether your student is graduating from elementary school, high school, or college, Cardboard Cutout Standees can level up your party. From life-sized cutouts to BigHeads and even decals, we offer a range of decorative options that are easy to order and display. Get started by uploading your favorite photos — or reach out to learn more.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

    View all posts