School spirit week is a fun time for everyone to come together and show off their pride. Themed dress-up days are popular favorites, but they’re really just the start. Try some of these school spirit ideas and activities to truly create a friendly and welcoming environment for all of your students, teachers, and staff.
Community-Building Spirit Week Ideas
The whole idea behind spirit week is to help students feel closer to one another, part of a larger whole. These ideas really help create a sense of camaraderie and community between students and staff.
School History Week
Take a look back through old yearbooks and other memorabilia to find inspiring moments from your school’s history. Invite alumni to come talk to students, make a slideshow of old homecoming games or other events to show during morning announcements, and dig up any old school apparel you can find. This is a really neat way to show students that their time in your school is part of a long continuum of learning.
Day Without Hate
Teacher Christine D. works in Jeffco, Colorado, home of Columbine HS. She shared this special Day Without Hate idea: “Every student and staff member was given a bag of pieces of yarn, long enough to tie on a wrist. As you tied it on [to a fellow student or staff member], you said something nice to let them know why you were honoring them. Some kids would wear them for weeks. We encouraged kids to think beyond their normal circle of friends, and as staff members, we looked for kids who didn’t have many and made sure we got them some as well.”
High Five Friyay
All the staff members greet kids in the morning (at car line, buses, and in the hallways) with foam hands. Kids can give high fives if they choose. They also spotlight different staff members (or groups) with “high five” social media posts.
Rival School Surprise
Spread kindness and positivity to your rival school! Surprise them by decorating their sidewalks or hanging posters with positive messages during the evening or over a weekend. This is also fun to do as an intra-district activity—high schoolers can decorate a feeder elementary school, for example.
These are popular for back-to-school and the last day of school, but bring them out during spirit week too! Encourage different classes to design their own booth celebrating school spirit, then have an hour or two when everyone can visit, take photos, and post to social media (with permission, of course).
This is a fun way to wrap up a successful spirit week. Put together a school talent show, and encourage both students and faculty to participate. Be sure to hold it during school hours so all students are able to take part.
Community Service Day
Service to others is an important part of learning, so take one day during your spirit week to go out into the community and do some good. Clean up a local park, visit a nursing home, spend some time at a food pantry—the opportunities are endless.
Staff Thank-You Notes
Spend some time recognizing the staff, teachers, and admin at your school. Encourage every student to write at least one letter, and don’t forget the unsung heroes like custodians and cafeteria staff!
Source: The Kindness Rocks Project
This is one of our favorite school spirit week ideas, and it makes a terrific collaborative art project too. Each student decorates their own painted rock to add to the pile, sharing their school spirit or a message of hope and kindness for others. Learn more about the Kindness Rocks Project here.
Put together a curated collection of your students’ artwork, whether it’s been created at school or at home. Give everyone time during the school day to visit the “exhibits,” and let the artists stand by to answer questions about their work. (Consider adding a section for teacher-created artwork too!)
For one day only, have everyone eat lunch outside—at the same time! It will be crazy chaos, but students can mix and mingle, getting to know each other outside of the classroom. This is especially important for kids who don’t get to participate in after-school activities on a regular basis.
Sidewalk Chalk Display
Set aside part of the sidewalk for every class, and let them chalk up their own colorful displays of pride.
Craft your own special school spirit stick, then award it regularly to a student, teacher, or class that shows off their pride in special ways. Switch it up each day during spirit week, then give it to a new recipient each week after that.
Encourage every student and teacher to read the same book, then host discussions and activities in various classes relating to the title. This is cross-curriculum learning in the best of ways!
School pride brings you all together, but each student has their own family and culture. Share traditions, celebrations, music, and other ways that demonstrate your school’s exciting diversity.
Source: KACO Closet on Instagram
Make or buy school spirit bracelets and give one to every student. (This can be a fun craft project for elementary school classrooms—there are tons of terrific beaded and woven designs out there to try.)
Restaurant Fundraiser Day
Since everyone’s already dressed in their spirit wear anyway, this is the perfect time to show it off at a local restaurant fundraiser day! Here are 50+ chain restaurants that are happy to partner with schools for these events.
Trike-a-Thon (or any “a-thon”)
Raise money for charity by participating in St. Jude’s Trike-a-Thon event. Or choose any activity (try to make sure it’s inclusive) students can do for a sustained period of time, and raise money for a local organization. Examples: read-a-thon, sing-a-thon, rhyme-a-thon (talk only in rhymes), dance-a-thon, etc.
Outdoor Learning Day
Today’s kids spend less time in the great outdoors than ever before. So, set aside a day that’s all about outside learning! Give teachers plenty of advance notice so they can plan activities that take advantage of time outside. (Be sure to set a “rain date” in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, and have plenty of sunscreen on hand if it does!)
School Birthday Party
Hold a birthday party to celebrate your school’s founding! Decorate the halls or classrooms, give out balloons or party hats, and hand out cake (or healthy snacks). Gather everyone together to sing “Happy Birthday,” then share a video on social media of your celebration.
Inside or out, set up tents and invite students to gather ’round for campfire songs and stories. Play some of these old-school recess games, and enjoy camping treats like hot dogs and s’mores.
Make this day all about music, movement, and fun! Play music during class change time, so kids can dance their way down the hallways. Pop into each classroom randomly and play a song for students to dance to. (Record a clip from each and share them with everyone at the end of the day!) Or just get everyone together for a big old dance jam to kick off the day or end it with a smile.
Unity Wall or School Mural
Source: National Student Council
Whatever design you choose, make sure every single student gets to paint at least a few strokes. Give them a sense of ownership and pride, along with an inspiring message to read when they walk by. Get lots of terrific school mural ideas here.
Social Media Blitz
Older students will enjoy this one. Create a hashtag and encourage students to use it to share their pride on social media. It’s such a fun way to get the community to see the positive side of your school and students.
Make this day’s learning all about STEM. Hold a science fair, conduct school-wide STEM challenges, learn about important STEM contributors, and more.
Give students a chance to learn a new hobby! Ask for staff or parent volunteers to lead sessions on their favorite hobby, and let students sign up for the ones that interest them.
Collaborative Art Project
Source: No Added Sugar
Create a piece of art that represents your entire school. We’ve got a whole roundup of collaborative art projects to try here.
Random Acts of Kindness Day
Of course, you want kids to be kind to each other every day. But set aside one day and encourage them to rack up as many acts of kindness as they can, especially for those they might not usually think of. Document the acts when you can, and share photos to your school’s social media or website.
School Paper Chain
Give each student a strip of paper to decorate, including their name. Then, have each one attach theirs to the chain in turn. Hang the results in a hallway where kids can see it daily and be reminded that they’re all connected.
Light It Up Day
Pass out glow sticks and jewelry, decorate the hallways and classrooms with string lights, and give your school a general glow-up! Get more cool glow-up day ideas here.
Spirit Week Competition Ideas
Source: Kaleb Scarpetta on Instagram
A little friendly competition can really motivate students to show their spirit. Be sure to recognize all contributions, no matter who the winner may be.
School or Class Cheer
Hold a contest for the best school or class cheer, so that years from now, it will still pop into alumni’s heads and remind them of the good times they had at your school!
Door or Hallway Decorating Contest
These are always popular! For middle or high school, assign each graduating class a hallway to decorate to show off their school pride. For elementary, focus on classroom doors instead.
Students vs. Faculty
It’s always fun to watch students try to beat faculty at pretty much anything. Make it a kickball game, relay race, or even a trivia contest.
Have students submit their designs on paper. Hang them on a bulletin board in the hallway where kids can vote for their favorite designs. Then turn the winner (or winners) into shirts you can sell at a fundraiser.
Hold a contest to choose a song to play any time your school’s team enters the room or field! It’s also fun to do these by grade for pep rallies and assemblies.
School Pride Poster Contest
Create posters to encourage school spirit and a sense of community. Hang them in the hallways, and award prizes to the best.
Spirit Fashion Show
Dress up and show off your moves on the catwalk! Students and teachers can vote for their favorite displays of school pride.
Create an epic scavenger hunt around your school and its grounds. Let students compete in teams to find all the spots, and offer prizes to the first finishers. (Or place all finishers’ names into a drawing, and pull randomly to award prizes instead.)
Challenge students to come up with a design for a mask that celebrates school spirit. If you have the funds, work with a local print shop to get the winning masks made, and sell them to raise money for your school.
Set a topic like “Why I Love My School” or “My School Makes Me Proud Because …” and hold a contest. Read the winners out loud at an assembly or send them home in a newsletter.
Get the whole school together for a day of friendly competitions! Check out our list of inclusive field day games and activities for all ages here.
Challenge students to create a video for your school song, or any song that expresses their pride in being part of your learning community. Share the videos school-wide, and have kids vote for their favorites.
Hold a contest to find the best dance moves for each class to perform during pep rallies and assemblies! These could be to the school song or another tune that students choose.
School Trivia Contest
Create your own school trivia quiz on Kahoot, then hold a school-wide trivia competition to see who really knows their school!
Battle of the Classes
Award points to each grade or class based on their participation in each spirit event. Give one point for every student who participates in an activity, and extra points for those who really step up their game. At the end of the week, recognize the winners as school champions!
Spirit Week Dress-Up Theme Days
Source: Sally D. Meadows Elementary
For some folks, this is the best part of spirit week! Just remember that not all kids feel comfortable participating or have parents at home to help them out. So while you can definitely include one or two of these days in your spirit week plans, be sure to choose other types of ideas too so every student feels part of the celebration.
Most importantly: Avoid days that are exclusionary or inappropriate. Find examples and better choices here.
- School Colors Day
- Pajama Day
- Hat Day
- Paint Your Face Day
- Anything but a Backpack Day
- College Wear Day
- Mismatch or Inside-Out Day
- Blast From the Past Day (wear clothes from another decade or era)
- Book Character Day
- Formal Day
- Sports Fan Day
- Patriotic Day
- Favorite Animal Day
- Rainbow Day (be as colorful as possible!)
- Mascot Day (dress as your school’s mascot)
- Favorite Color Day
- Superheroes and Villains Day
- Beach Day
- Game Day (dress to represent your favorite board or video game)
- Future Me Day
- Wacky Socks Day
- TV/Movie Character Day
- Western Day
- Blackout or Whiteout Day (dress in all black or all white)
- Stuffed Animal Day (bring your favorite cuddly friend to school)
- Disney Day
- Fandom Day (celebrate whatever you’re a fan of)
- Historical Figure Day
- Tie-Dye Day
- Zoom Day (business on top, casual on the bottom!)