If it's not already happened for you, it's on its way: The last day of school. A party to kick off summer vacation sounds pretty great, right? Invite the whole class and keep your sanity with a bar. Nope, not for cocktails or wine (although that's not the worst idea ever...) Instead of trying to individually plate or serve meals, do a make-your-own bar on a long table.
I've seen taco bars with all the fixin's; include meat and refried or seasoned black beans to accommodate vegetarians and carnivores, tortillas, and both the standard accompaniments and some more authentic variations like queso fresco and pickled onions.
Baked potato bars with steamed veggies, cheeses, salsa, chili, sour cream, etc. would be a great make-ahead option since you can bake the potatoes the night before and reheat them in the crockpot the day of the party.
Coneys (a fancied-up chili dog) are pretty much our signature dish where I live, so a hot dog bar would be both easy and popular. Put hot dogs in a crock pot on high for several hours and they'll cook through without any water or anything; then set out buns, chopped onion, chili, an assortment of mustards, shredded cheddar, and other popular dog toppers like sauerkraut, hot peppers, pickle relish, pickle spears, or guacamole.
Another great idea is a dessert bar: try a fruit pizza bar with sugar cookies, cream cheese frosting, and sliced fruit. Top-your-own cupcakes with frosting and an assortment of sprinkles is another good, if messy, idea. Stay away from a sundae bar unless you have a super-equipped outdoor kitchen; otherwise the ice cream gets too melty too fast.
Especially if this is a transition year for your kids, it would be nice to do some kind of memento; a display of class pictures through the years, a slideshow of candid photos, or a running video of some of the activities the kids have done together would be great and fairly easy. And make sure to gather up the kids for a group shot....it's likely not all of them will be moving on to the same school, so having that last time together captured for posterity would be nice.
How do you celebrate the last day of school?