Host a fun end-of-the-school-year bash.

We don't usually think about celebrating the end of the school year with our children unless it's a graduation party. This year don't forget about the kids who aren't graduating. Instead reward their hard work with a party they won't forget.

End of school year parties don't have to be expensive. Because the child isn't actually graduating there doesn't have to be a lot of over-the-top decorations. A great looking cake can serve as decorations because when it comes to summer parties it's all about the fun activities, not how it looks.

Water parties are an ideal way to blow off steam after a year's worth of homework and studying. Provide lots of water balloons, squirt guns, buckets, bubble blowers and sprinklers and you're set. If you don't want a bunch of wet kids running through your house, move the party to a park. There's plenty of room for the kids to run around with water balloons and squirt guns. Just be sure to pick up the broken balloon pieces.

For girls slumber parties are a shoo-in but take it a step further and let them all sleep outside under the stars in the backyard. Fire up the barbecue, make s'mores and tell ghost stories all night long. When the girls arrive at the party, give each of them a journal and a fuzzy pen. You can pick these up at any dollar store; they are perfect for preserving the memories they'll be making later that night. At breakfast the next morning, give each guest a parting gift CD with pictures you took during the party.

If you don't have a swimming pool, call someone who does and throw a pool party. Some public city pools allow you to make reservations for parties. Throw some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, toss some sodas in the ice chest, pump up the volume on the music and dive in. Come up with a few simple pool party games or relay races to liven things up a bit.

Turn your backyard, living room or any other large area into a casino and have a casino night. Buy standard poker chips and have each child use those to place bets. Stock up with prizes and give those to game winners. Enlist the help of adult family members to be waitresses, pit bosses and bankers. Games for casino night can vary according to age, but this party is best thrown for older kids who can understand the concept of betting.

Whether you are throwing a pool party or hosting an outdoor scavenger hunt, the idea is to show you kids how proud you are of them for their scholarly accomplishments and reward the hard work it took to get it all done. Just because they aren't graduating this year or next year doesn't mean they don't deserve a pat on the back and a howling good time.