Load up on tissues and make some space on your camera, because it’s graduation season! Before your grads dive head first into summer, take a minute to savor all they’ve accomplished. We’ve rounded up ten terrific ideas for celebrating a job well done. Read on for more on how to mark the moment!

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Photo: I Heart Naptime

One Smart Cookie

Honor the graduate with a cookies and milk party, and you’ll make more than one smart cookie happy. Go all out with a cookie bar, complete with icing and toppings, or keep it simple with a tray of iced cookies and cartons of milk. We love this door decoration from I Heart Naptime.

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Photo: Long Dogz Mom

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be off and away with a Dr. Seuss themed party for your little grad, complete with whimsical pinwheels and brightly colored decorations. For refreshments, check out these gorgeous rainbow pinwheel cookies by Tablespoon! for inspiration.

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Photo: Learn with Play at Home

1-2-3 and A-B-C

They’ve learned their 1-2-3’s and their A-B-C’s, and now they’re ready for kindergarten! Send them off in style with a party that celebrates everything they already know. And because a party isn’t a party without cute signs on everything, you’ll find yourself placing an adorable “F is for fruit” sign on the “S is for snacks” table near the “B is for bounce house.”

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Photo: Tait Fam

To Kindergarten, and Beyond!

For a fast and easy preschool graduation party theme, head to your nearest party shop and load up on Buzz Lightyear plates, decorations, and favors. Because really, we’re pretty sure that he meant to say “To Kindergarten, and Beyond!”

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Photo: Lessons with Laughter

Our Future’s So Bright

…We’ve got to wear shades. You knew where we were going with this one, right? Imagine the possibilities: from a pool party with sunglass party favors to a backyard picnic, a sunglasses-themed party can work for nearly every age.
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Photo: Pams Party and Practical Tips

Aloha, Future!

It’s almost impossible to graduate to junior high school without someone hosting a pool party. Take the standard splash and dash up a notch with a Hawaiian luau theme, complete with pineapple table toppers, grass skirts for props, and leis for everyone. Go on, take the plunge!

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Photo: My Learning Table

It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson

When you have a houseful of elementary aged kiddos, nothing harnesses their enthusiasm like giving them a mission. Organize guests into pairs or small groups and give each a list of scavenger items. For your younger grads, a simple seek-and-find list will do. For older kiddos, a list made up of riddles will keep them occupied as they try to be the first team to solve the mystery. For inspiration, check out Buggy and Buddy’s free printable scavenger lists here.

A Train for Two

Photo: Christine Stewart via You and Me + 3 

Next Stop: Kindergarten!

For a sure-fire way to thrill your preschool graduates, put a train themed party on your itinerary. Parents can get in on the act with conductor hats, while kiddos will love chugging from one station—concessions, games, or photo booth—to the next. Check out these fun train crafts for inspiration.

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Photo: Greenburgh Nature Center

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Much like a hungry little caterpillar, your graduate has chewed his way through first, second, or third grade and is now ready to become the beautiful butterfly in his next academic phase of life. Liven up a Hungry Caterpillar party with a live butterfly release, or keep it simple with brightly themed desserts and diy butterfly wing crafts.

Photo: Jim Pennucci via flickr

It Rocked Party

Elementary school. It rocked! Celebrate graduation with a karaoke party, complete with stage costumes, props, and a video producer (aka Mom, with an iPhone).

How will you celebrate with your graduate? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey