kindergarten graduate
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Here's How To Have An Amazing Kindergarten Graduation Celebration In Quarantine

When you stop and think about everything that your child might be losing out on because of the pandemic (end-of-year parties, time with friends), well, it’s enough to make you want to cry. Break out a big box of Kleenex, though, because if you have a kid who's about to go into first grade, you’re probably going to miss out on a kindergarten graduation, too. But just because school is closed doesn’t mean that your kiddo can’t have a grad party. These kindergarten graduation celebration ideas for quarantine will help to mark the end of your little one's milestone year even if they can't be with their classmates.

Of all the years of schooling that your child will have, it’s their time spent in kindergarten that seems to be the most transformative. After all, there are so many firsts when it comes to that full year of school, whether it’s learning how to really read and write or socialize with other kids and make their first real friends. That’s why celebrating your child’s kindergarten graduation is so important, not just for them, but for the entire family. “The kindergarten experience forms a child’s opinion of school, and if they have a positive one, it can affect their attitude towards school for the rest of their career,” Elizabeth Tyrrell MS, an elementary school teacher in New York City, tells Romper. “That’s what makes it such an important milestone that needs to be commemorated.”

Diane Dooley, an elementary school teacher in New Fairfield, CT, agrees. "Kindergarten is a year of tremendous growth!" she tells Romper. "It is certainly worth spending time reflecting and celebrating all that was achieved."

If you’re looking for a way to honor your little learner for all that they’ve accomplished during the school year, read on.

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Craft A Cap Together

If you’re looking for a cute (and woot, quick!) graduation craft, create a graduation cap for your kid. “Having your child make the hat with you involves them in the process,” says Tyrrell. “You can continue the conversation by asking what their favorite parts of the school year were as well.” Check out the easy-to-follow instructions for making a paper cap at Free Kids Crafts.


Get Dressed

Sure, it’s probably been a few weeks since you’ve worn real pants. But your kiddo’s kindergarten graduation is a perfect time to peel off the pajamas and look fabulous for the photos. You should definitely get your child dressed up in a snazzy suit or a darling dress (like the one above from Boden) so that they feel like an elementary school superstar.


Have A Party

Just because you’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t party. Although it might be restricted to just the immediate family, put on a party for your little kindergarten graduation. You can set up some games and blast some music for a fun dance off.


Get Some Goodies

Your child is going to need a cake to commemorate their commencement. Of course, you can visit your local bakery and order a cake, but another option is Sam’s Club, which is offering small grad cakes for less than 10 bucks, and can be decorated with your kid’s school colors, a personalized message, or your child’s photo. (Pricing varies based on cake size and décor, and are only available for order from your local Sam's Club bakery.) At a time when things might seem bittersweet, it’ll be nice to have something sweet to sink your teeth into.


Get Some Stand-Ins

Let’s say that your child is sad that Grandma can’t be there to celebrate their big day. Instead of staring solemnly at some empty seats, you can always invite some guests over — of the cardboard kind. That’s right, life-sized cardboard cutouts are available at Party City, and while you can get out that looks just like your little graduate, some parents are purchasing graduation seat fillers that look a lot like their favorite relatives. (Or you can even get ones that look like their favorite movie characters — just imagine how thrilling it would be if Buzz and Woody or Anna and Elsa came to their grad party.) Or you can line up your little one’s favorite stuffed toys, because, well, they’re party animals.


Do Some Decorating

It doesn’t really take a whole lot to get your home ready for a grad party. Blow up some balloons, hang up some streamers, or even decorate your door to let everyone in the neighborhood know that you are the proud parent of a graduate. You can even have a lawn sign printed with a pic of your kid that reads: “Congradulations, graduate.”


Organize A Grad Drive By Parade

Drive-by birthday parades have become all the rage during the pandemic. So show your little grad how proud you are of them by organizing a drive-by graduation parade. You can have friends and family drive by at a certain time when you’ll be outside so they can honk, wave, and hold up signs for the newly minted first-grader.


Order In Food

Give your kitchen a break on graduation day and order in some food for the festivities. Make sure that the menu boasts all of your child’s favorite finger foods (which means you’ll most likely be hitting up the drive thru at a fast food joint). As for the adults who are so, so tired of eating chicken nuggets and fries every day during homeschooling, elevate their entrees by ordering food from your local restaurants. Not only do you not have to cook, but you’ll be helping the struggling restaurants in your community as they stage their comeback, which is a total win-win for everyone.


Plan For The Future

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the summer will go. So give your little graduate something to look forward to by making plans for the future. You can talk about a possible family getaway sometime down the road that honors all of your child’s efforts in school. Or it might be something as simple as planning a day that delivers on all the things your child loves, like going to their favorite ice cream shop and a toy store.


Create A Memory Book

You can even take it one step further and create a memory book from their kindergarten year, including the activities you did with them as part of their homeschooling. "You can include things like favorite subjects, books, and activities at school," says Mrs. Dooley. If you want your keepsake to have professional-level production value, 4ever Bound takes your pictures and letters and binds them in beautiful books (choose the size, color, and personalization).


Celebrate Their Successes

When it comes to kindergarten, your child’s success isn't just a reflection of their hard work — it's a reflection of your efforts, too. Whether it was teaching your child how to differentiate between the sky line, plane line, grass line, and worm line or understand how to add two numbers together, you were an integral part of their academic accomplishments — and that’s truer now than ever.

So take some time during the COVID-19 craziness to recognize how much your kiddo has learned in the last year. Although the pandemic can feel depressing at times, you should make an effort to celebrate your favorite 5 year-old star pupil. Not only does it recognize how far your kiddo has come, but really, your entire family as well. And that’s certainly cause for celebration.