school spirit week ideas

There's nothing quite like a school spirit day to boost excitement and encourage unity among students. It originated as a homecoming tradition for high schools, but school spirit days have become staple fare for elementary and middle schools as well. Why? Because they're fun! Giving students the chance to dress up and break from the usual routine can keep them engaged and involved as they go about their day in class.

If you're in charge of this year's school spirit week, you're facing a challenge. On the one hand, you want to create fun, unique daily themes to keep the kids engaged and entertained. On the other hand, you don't want to get too wacky, or you risk most of the students refusing to participate. After all, some kids love the idea of wearing costumes to school, but others are mortified at the idea of looking out-of-the-ordinary.

Striking a balance between traditional and creative is your best bet for coming up with theme day ideas for school. Throw in daily prizes for the most creative attempt at the theme, and you're sure to have a winning school spirit week.

Whatever school spirit week ideas you come up with, make plans to have yearbook photographers on hand to capture the memories. You'll definitely want to document the wild and crazy ideas your students come up with!

School Spirit Week Ideas for Elementary School

If you're planning school spirit week for an elementary school, you're in luck! Elementary school-aged children love participating in wacky, creative spirit days. They're old enough to have fun but young enough that they still think crazy is cool. If you're stuck for creative ideas for this year's elementary school spirit week, check out these ideas that are just perfect for the younger set!

elementary school spirit week ideas micrographic

1. Pajama Day

This one's easy because it doesn't require any costumes. Kids love the chance to roll out of bed and wear their PJs all day. This works great right before winter break or when done in conjunction with a day focused on reading. After all, what's more comfortable than curling up in comfy pajamas with a good book?

2. Dr. Seuss Day

If your school spirit weeks coincides with the NEA's annual Read Across America event, this one should definitely be on your list. Read Across America celebrates reading by featuring the works of the great Dr. Seuss, so encouraging students to dress up as their favorite Seuss characters, like Cindy Lou Who, Sam I Am, the Cat in the Hat and more always brings a smile.

3. Pattern Day

Pattern day is a day for students to wear stripes, polka dots, zigzags, squiggles and more. Bonus points if they combine multiple patterns in the same outfit. This is a great option if you're looking for easy ways to convince kids to participate without feeling self-conscious.

4. Sunglasses Day

From aviators to pink plastic Minnie Mouse glasses, the sky's the limit when it comes to featuring students' favorite eyewear. Just remember to give teachers a heads up so they can set ground rules for wearing glasses in class.

5. Wacky Hair Day

Pigtails, spikes, green hair dye — you never know what you'll see on crazy hair day. Parents like this one because it's low stress and doesn't require a lot of planning. In fact, some kids just roll out of bed and use it as an excuse not to brush their hair that day!

6. Disney Day

Let it go and experience a whole new world when kids come to school as their favorite Disney character. This one can take some creativity for parents, so make sure to give them enough advance notice to help their child pull it off. Consider expanding this idea to include Disney paraphernalia, including t-shirts, hats and character socks.

7. Dress Like a Teacher Day

Elementary school kids are fascinated by their teachers, so give them a way to pay homage to them by mimicking them for the day. Don't forget to grab photos of the students with their teacher to document the occasion.

8. Career Day

There's a lot of room for interpretation with this one. Kids always have fun ideas about what they want to be when they grow up. Sit back and watch the parade of doctors, nurses, teachers, professional athletes and assorted other jobs coming through the doors at the beginning of the day. Consider combining this day with a true career day when parents come to school to share with students and encourage them to think about their future career.

9. Pirate Day

Argh mateys, grab an eye patch and a scarf and prepare to walk the plank with this goofy spirit day. If your school spirit week falls in September, this one's perfect because it may coincide with International Talk Like a Pirate Day, held each year on September 19. This is also a great option for the middle and high school crowd as well.

10. Farm Day

Don a flannel shirt and some boots and get ready for some fun down on the farm. If you really want to take this one far, talk to the administration and get permission to teach square dancing during P.E. or music classes that day.

Middle School Spirit Week Ideas

Middle school spirit days can get a little bit tricky since middle schoolers may feel more self-conscious about participating. When you're selecting spirit days for a middle school crowd, stick to basic ideas that are easy to carry out without compromising the "cool" factor that's so important at this age. Some of the elementary school spirit ideas we suggested may also be a hit with the middle school crowd, but if those won't work, check out these options.

1. Wacky Sock Day

Encourage students to wear their wildest pair of socks. Hand out prizes for the brightest colors, the wackiest patterns and the funniest prints. Extra points for teachers and students who find creative ways to display their wacky socks, such as wearing knee socks and shorts or layering socks over leggings.

2. Jersey Day

Encourage a little friendly competition when kids come to school representing their favorite teams or athletes. Make sure to keep it broad and allow for professional teams, college teams and even local teams. Some kids especially enjoy wearing their own football jersey or soccer uniform to school.

3. Patriotic Day

patriotic school spirit day

Break out the red, white and blue attire for this school spirit day. From ribbons and bows to t-shirts and flags, the sky's the limit for this spirit day.

4. Olympic Day

While this one may not be relevant every year, it's a great one for years the Olympics are taking place, particularly the Winter Olympics, which happen during the school year and are typically a hot topic of conversation. Let kids have fun with this one and expect to see everything from patriotic apparel to sports uniforms, t-shirts and everything in between.

5. Look Alike Day

Otherwise known as "Twin Day," this one requires a little bit of advance planning. Students choose a friend to coordinate outfits with, opting for a cute or fun outfit they both have in common. They may pick a "normal" school outfit they both own, or they can get creative and make up their own matching wacky creations.

6. School Spirit Day

Encourage students to come to school dressed in school colors. If you want to really bump up interest in this spirit day, make sure to sell school apparel in the weeks leading up to Spirit Week so that each student will have something to wear. This is also a great option for elementary or high school students as well!

7. Hat Day

Most school dress codes don't allow hats, so students love the chance to break the rules. Baseball caps, top hats, beanies and more — everyone will love being allowed to wear a hat for the day.

8. Music Day

This one can take different forms. Students can wear t-shirts representing their favorite bands or dress like their favorite musician. Get the administration on board and get permission to play age-appropriate music over the loudspeaker during class changes or in the cafeteria during lunchtime.

9. Flannel Day

These days, flannel is trendy, so this is a great way to get kids to participate without pushing them out of their comfort zone. It's also an easy way to include the majority since a lot of kids already have flannel in their closet.

10. Flipflop Day

Similar to hat day, this one is a hit in schools that don't normally allow flipflops as part of the dress code. Once you have the administration's permission to break the dress code for a day, encourage students to come to school in their favorite tropical footwear.

Spirit Day Ideas for High School

The great thing about high school is that School Spirit Week is typically centered around Homecoming, which means you can take advantage of the excitement already surrounding the week to encourage participating in spirit days, too. While many of the ideas we mentioned for elementary and middle school students will work great for high school students, too, you may be looking for new and out-of-the-box school spirit week ideas for high school that the students haven't encountered before. Check out these 10 great options for the high school crowd.

1. Celebrity Day

Encourage students to come to school dressed as their favorite celebrity. Ranging from musicians to movie stars and politicians, you'll be surprised at what everyone comes up with. Consider adding a red carpet and photo backdrop in the cafeteria for students to take red carpet shots during lunchtime. Or, roll out a red carpet through the school's main entrance for all the celebrities to enter the building.

2. Wacky Tacky Day

The goal is to dress "wacky," so students can do as little or as much as they want with this spirit day. One student may simply wear an ugly sweater, while another may combine stripes and polka dots in the same outfit. One may wear suspenders and too-short pants while another student sports crazy hair and mismatched clothing. The sky's the limit, so have fun with this one.

3. Charity Day

Rather than dressing silly, this day encourages students to come together for a cause. Whether you do a canned food drive or ask everyone to contribute their leftover change after lunch, giving students the chance to contribute to someone less fortunate is a great way to unify the student body and teach them about making a difference.

4. College Day

Watch as friendly college rivalries come to life in the halls of the high school. Have students come to school dressed in a t-shirt from a college they hope to attend. Consider combining this day with a college fair, inviting colleges to come and chat with prospective students throughout the day.

5. Christmas in _____

Most high schools have spirit week in the fall, but don't let that stop you from having fun with this one. Have students wear their favorite holiday apparel, including Santa hats, tacky Christmas sweaters and crazy socks. Bonus points for adding Christmas decorations in the cafeteria or school lobby for the students to enjoy throughout the day.

6. Principal Day

Have a few laughs when students come to school dressed as their principal. You'll be surprised at what they can come up with. If you have several people on the school's administration team, give students the option to choose the person of their choice to emulate.

7. Face Paint Day

face paint school spirit day

Students can come to school with a small shape on their cheek or full face paint. If you want to get specific, encourage students to paint their face in school colors or to mimic the school mascot.

8. Wild West Day

Yee haw, cowboy! Saddle up and head out for a wild day in the west. Blue jeans, flannel shirts and cowboy boots are the order of the day. Even kids who aren't keen on participating can throw on a cowboy hat or bandana for the day.

9. Mustache Day

While there are a lot of fun spirit week dress up days ideas for high school, we think this one is especially simple — and fun! Drawn on or taped into place, pay homage to this unique facial hair statement with Mustache Day. Let students get creative with the shapes and sizes of mustaches they come up with.

10. 50's Day

White t-shirts, rolled up blue jeans and poodle skirts just scream the 1950s. Turn the school into a full-blown sock hop with this spirit day. Just make sure the greasers don't show up and start challenging everyone to race for pink slips!

Show Your School Spirit All Year

show school spirit all year

Show your school spirit all year with the School Spirit Planner Covers designed by Success by Design. Custom designed with your school's colors and mascot, students and teachers alike will find day-to-day planning is easier and more efficient with these planners.

In today's world of smartphones and tablets, it's easy to wonder if students still need a planner. The answer is most definitely yes! Studies have shown that the act of writing down information and assignments in a traditional paper planner enhances cognitive development, brain activity and better information retention. Whether your students are elementary-aged or preparing for their senior year of high school, the results of writing in a physical planner are definitely worth the investment.

For more information or to order your School Spirit Planners, contact us today.