Back to the Future (History) Night

If children don’t learn about history, they’ll never understand the present and how to improve their future. Take this opportunity to inspire them by picking a decade, an important historical event, or a historical figure and use that as the starting point for an interactive night of fun and learning.

Family Science Night

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and STEAM (add "arts" to that) are where it’s at these days, and the ideas for related experiments, activities, snacks, and decorations are endless. If you’re looking for a surefire hit, a science night is the easy choice, especially if you download our complete Family Science Night planning kit. As well, our free guide to supporting STEM learning for PTOs and PTAs provides a comprehensive list of hands-on STEM activities and much more.

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Around the World in One Day

Turn your school into a mini-Epcot Center for the night and have different stations with information, food, and more from different countries or U.S. states. Each attendee can receive a passport upon arrival and get it stamped as they make their way around the “world.” Assign a country or state to each classroom for more in-depth learning.

A Night at the Museum

Transform the gym or auditorium into a museum with exhibits including information, games, and activities covering topics like dinosaurs, Native Americans, and space. Combine it with a movie night and show A Night at the Museum as a bonus.

Family Reading Night

There’s a reason a school reading night is a classic (pun intended). Change the book choices and you change the whole mood of the event. Take a theme and run wild with it, or make it low-key; seasonal themes work great, or build it around a schoolwide literacy focus. Either way, you’ll have a great event that families will love to attend. If you’re overwhelmed by where to begin, check out our free Family Reading Night planning kit and let us do the heavy lifting.

Art Night

Instead of just your typical art show, take it to another level and make it an interactive event. Partner with the art teacher or high school art students and have them teach everyone how to paint, or set up art stations with activities and crafts related to different artistic styles.

Weather Night

You’ll make it rain with a weather night—no, really, you will. Stations have information and activities on clouds, tornadoes, rainbows, thunderstorms, and climate. Invite a local weatherperson to give a presentation.

Math Night

Math has a reputation for being the least-liked subject in school—which is the perfect reason to hold an event showing students that math can be fun. Make the whole night about fun and educational games, such as addition hopscotch, math-fact Jenga, and Twister math. You could also set up a “supermarket” where they can shop on a budget and total up orders. Teaching math skills without the kids even realizing it: the perfect equation!

Election Night

How the election process works is an important topic, especially during a presidential election year. It’s not the easiest topic to grasp, so make it fun for students with voter registration cards and ballots to complete at homemade polling stations. Have the kids vote on something fun, like their favorite snack or TV show, or even a schoolwide decision such as a new spiritwear shirt design or school motto.

Academic Olympics

Everyone loves trivia night! This type of event is perfect because you can pick a single topic or cover multiple topics that correspond to what students are learning in class. Set it up like Jeopardy and have the kids compete against each other, parents, and teachers.

Originally published in 2016 and updated regularly