You could swear it was just yesterday that your child proudly marched into a whimsical kindergarten classroom. Suddenly, you blinked — and your tiny kindergartner 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 with an elementary school graduation party that closes the chapter on a special time of life — and sets the stage for the journey ahead.
To help, we’ve compiled a roundup of all the best kid-oriented 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.
Set the tone for a fun-filled party with vibrant decorations that play into the graduation theme. No party will be complete without these essentials:
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 signs 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 and even cupcake toppers, graduation caps can be incorporated into nearly every aspect of your party setup.
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.
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.
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, upload a picture of your child’s beloved elementary school or its mascots.
Food & Drinks
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.
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 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
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.
Games & Activities
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 games or activities to keep everyone entertained. These ideas should help:
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!
Was your child involved in the school band or dance club? Why not put on a show? 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.
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.
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. These will be easy to create if you staged a photo booth: send guests home with cute pictures.
Graduation party favors are also essential. Keep it simple with small boxes shaped like graduation caps, which you can stuff with candy.
Don’t forget graduation gifts or keepsakes for the guest of honor. If your tween wore a cap and gown for photos, find somewhere safe to store them. Compile yearbook and class photos and create an album or scrapbook to browse whenever you feel nostalgic.
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.