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10 Ideas for Celebrating Middle School Culmination

Different schools have different names for it. 8th Grade Culmination. Middle School Culmination. Middle School Graduation. 

Whatever you call it, completing middle school and being on the verge of starting high school is a big deal. Especially for this year’s current 8th graders. Remember, they were sixth graders when they were sent home from school in March 2020 and told they would return to school in two weeks. Instead, they completed their sixth grade year at home and did all of their seventh grade year at home as well. 

Middle school was interrupted in a big, scary way. Which means this year’s 8th graders deserve a special celebration.

Here are 10 Ideas for Celebrating Middle School Culmination.

  1. Decorate with Yard Signs
  2. Balloon Bouquets
  3. Celebrate with Friends
  4. Create a Scrapbook
  5. Plan Your Own Mini Grad Nite
  6. Book Signing
  7. Special Family Outing
  8. Special Family Vacation
  9. Graduation Parade
  10. Bedroom Upgrade
birthday yard sign from MyKidlist.com
Whether it says “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations to the Graduate,” a Yard Sign is a very festive way to celebrate!

1. Decorate with Yard Signs

It’s okay to brag. And decorative yard signs are one eye-catching way to do it. Let the neighbors know. Let anyone who drives down your street know – your family includes a graduating 8th grader! Check out our post Best Yard Signs for Drive-by Birthdays + Celebrations

an adorable toddler in a princess dress holding a huge balloon bouquet at Disneyland
Someday this toddler will be culminating from Middle School and she’ll probably still love a balloon bouquet!

2. Balloon Bouquets

Nothing says celebration in quite the same way as a bouquet of balloons. You can decorate the house with large number and letter balloons (Class of 2022). You can fill up your 8th grader’s room with latex balloons (use their middle school’s colors). You can decorate the house with a variety of balloons in each room of the house — confetti balloons; giant, shaped balloons; character balloons. Create a balloon arch outside (or inside) your front door. When it comes to balloons, the possibilities are endless.

3. Celebrate with Friends

Let your 8th grader plan a special celebration with friends. Depending on the time you have for a celebration, the number of 8th graders you want to host, and your family’s budget you can keep this option as low-key or high-end as you want. Some ideas — Pool party. Backyard barbecue. Sleepover. Celebratory dinner at an upscale restaurant.  

scrapbook with photos and certificates from Middle school
It’s fun to look back at all the awards and certificates your kids have received in their very own scrapbook

4. Create a Scrapbook

Middle school seems to have flown by. Culmination is the perfect time to reflect on all your child has accomplished, all the ways your child has changed, and all the ways your child has remained the same. You can create a physical scrapbook — including school photos, certificates earned, photos of completed classroom projects. Or, you can create a digital scrapbook in the form of a slide show. Depending on the number of items you wish to include, you can limit the scrapbook to only include middle school or you can go as far back as kindergarten. 

You’ll find scrapbook and photo album supplies in our MomsLA Amazon Shop!

5. Plan Your Own Mini Grad Nite

If your child’s middle school isn’t hosting Grad Nite, a plan-your-own Mini Grad Nite is a fun, memorable way to celebrate culmination. Allow your 8th grader to invite a few friends (the number depends on your budget), work out the details with all parents involved (hours, transportation, food), and let the kids have a good time. Don’t forget, no one says your Grad Nite has to happen at night. If morning works better for everyone involved, plan a Grad Morning.

Oh the places you'll go by Dr. Seuss book
This gift idea requires some advance planning, but it will be totally worth it!

6. Book Signing

This one may take a bit of sneaky coordination. Select a meaningful book, such as the popular Dr. Seuss graduation gift Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Try to get your child’s middle school teachers to sign the book, but keep it a secret. Don’t forget to ask school coaches, counselors, librarians, and any staff members who have been a part of your child’s middle school experience. Imagine your child’s surprise, when they open the book to see their 6th grade science teacher has written them a message, as well as their favorite campus aide, and the orchestra teacher. 

You’ll find this classic book and more graduation gift ideas in our MomsLA Amazon Shop!

7. Plan a Special Family Outing

Give your 8th grader the gift of choice. Allow them to select a fun family outing. You set the boundaries — whether it’s distance away from home, admission fee, day of the week. But what would your 8th grader love to do to celebrate? See a Dodger game? Go parasailing in Marina del Rey? Horseback riding in Griffith Park? Spend the day at Universal Studios? There is no shortage of fun special outings here in L.A.

8. Plan a Special Family Vacation

This option takes the family outing to the next level. Set the parameters — which method of transportation is an option (car, train, plane), distance (in state, out of state, out of country), number of days (long weekend, a whole week). This doesn’t mean the graduate gets final say, but it does mean the graduate gets the chance to really think about this family vacation and submit their ideal trip for strong consideration by the rest of the family. (It also gives younger family members something to look forward to, knowing when they’re in 8th grade they will have the chance to do the same thing.)

Car Parade for Lucy in Berkeley
A Car Parade can be fun for any occasion, but especially for Middle School Culmination! Photo courtesy of 510 Families.

9. Host a Graduation Parade 

A Graduation Parade is something you and the families of your child’s classmates can do together. Plan the route together, decorate your houses (signs, banners, balloons in your child’s school’s colors), and try to get your neighbors to participate as well. Decorate the family car and chauffeur the graduate around the parade route, allowing them to enjoy the cheers and festivities. 

Find Car Parade supplies in our MomsLA Amazon Shop!

10. Give a Bedroom Upgrade

Now that your child will be a high schooler, maybe it’s time for a bedroom upgrade. Has your newly graduated 8th grader outgrown their twin-size bed? Are they in need of a new desk? A more comfortable desk chair? What better time for a fresh new look than during this summer between middle school and high school?

Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).

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