Events & Programs Archive

We know planning great family events is a big part of what your group does. There are tons of ideas in the articles below for new and better ways to connect with parents, even planning events around holidays. Find more helpful tools and info on the Events & Programs resources page.

  • 20 Super Easy Treat Ideas for Valentine’s Day

    Get our ideas on keeping Valentine's Day simple, but fun! 

  • Adding Fun and Learning to the After-School Hours

    Students get a chance to explore art and robotics in after-school clubs.
  • Active Games To Liven Up Your PTO Events

    A few minutes is all it takes to raise the energy in the room—and promote fitness, too.

  • 5 Reasons To Hold a Family Tech Talk Night

    Thinking of organizing a Family Tech Talk Night? Here are five reasons why you should.

  • 27 Fin-tastic Ideas for a “Finding Dory” Movie Night at School

    Plan an unforgettable family movie night at school, featuring everyone's favorite fish!

  • A Royally Fun Family Event

    Families go back to medieval times during this creative program.

  • 6 Ways To Add Fun and Energy to Your PTO Events

    It's easy to liven up traditional activities by adding something new.

  • 6 Ideas for Memorable Events

    Create a tradition or two at your school with one of these event ideas.

  • 6 Simple Fall Events

    Start your calendar on the right note by planning one (or more!) of these autumn events.

  • Sweet Success

    Cupcake contest brings together a school and its community.

  • 37 Ridiculously Easy Back-to-School Event Hacks for PTOs

    Make contact with new parents and establish your group as a well-organized, fun, powerhouse resource for the school community.

  • 26 Ways for Your PTO To Rock a Star Wars Family Movie Night 

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...your PTO decided to plan a Family Movie Night.

  • 11 Favorite Field Day Games

    You'll give kids something to talk about with these fun field day game ideas.

  • 50 Event Hacks That Will Make Your PTO Life Easier

    Spring is finally rounding the bend (virtual high five, folks!), which means your group is likely kicking it into high gear and planning the auction, the carnival, teacher appreciation, and maybe even a few fun School Family Nights (it’s a good thing we PTO peeps love multitasking, right?!). Whatever fun events you have on the calendar, you’ll definitely want to bookmark our collection of 50 (yes, 50) hacks that’ll make planning and executing them much easier for your group—and a lot more fun for families.

    1. Display cotton candy at your spring carnival or summer fair by hanging it from a clothes drying rack.

    via eHow 

    2. Turn a trash can into a Box Tops donation receptacle.

    3. Pringles cans work in a pinch, too (how fun is this for back-to-school night?!).

    4. Make a cupcake carrier out of an old cereal box, and never worry about getting it back.

    5. Draw in the crowds with a “free valet parking” offer.

    Photo credit: Aneese/Thinkstock

    6. Take the guesswork out of planning a fun family event with free kits designed just for PTO and PTA groups.

    7. Transform white shipping boxes into giant dice decorations for a Family Math Night.

    8. Healthy snacks for Earth Day events are irresistible if they’re served in mini terra-cotta pots.

    9. Scooping ice cream isn’t a problem (heck, you could do that in the dark, with your eyes closed). But scooping ice cream for your whole school? Slice it up instead!

    10. Or, if you’ve got it together (of course you do, you’re on the PTO!), scoop your ice cream into cupcake-lined muffin pans and pop in the freezer. Bam! Ready to go.

    11. If your event has activity stations, give volunteers a book to read aloud to their group in case they finish before the allotted amount of time is up.


    Photo credit: Random House

    12. Capture memories with a “selfie station.” Ask parents to share their photos on your school’s Facebook page. And if you’re really savvy (of course you are!), you can come up with a fun hashtag so that parents can easily tag and share their photos.

    13. Use golf tees to stake balloons to the ground—perfect for an outdoor event at school.

    14. No helium? No problem. Hang balloons from the ceiling with crepe paper.

    15. Insert glow sticks into balloons for glow-in-the-dark balloons (fun for a movie night!).

    16. Keep kids busy in between activities with a simple “guess how many Legos are in the bowl” station.

    17. You know that little place called the dollar store? Stock up on clear plastic cups and use googly eyes, temporary tattoos, or stickers to jazz them up.

    18. Or, if you’re fancy (here's lookin’ at you, fancy pants!), you could use washi tape.

    19. Paper plates + balloons = balloon Ping-Pong.

    20. Throw some hay and a table tennis ball in a box for a game of “Find the eyeball in the haystack” at the fall festival.

    21. Send polished email newsletters directly from your own personal email in just a few clicks to make sure everyone knows about your event.

    22. Transform boring, store-bought treats into something spectacular with a few bells and whistles.

    23. Facebook is your friend! Tag all those parents you see frequently at school events in the comments of your “upcoming event” posts to make sure they see it. (Bonus: All our free family night planning kits come with Facebook graphics—score!)

    24. Use an empty laundry detergent dispenser as a hand-washing station at outdoor events.

    25. Pick snacks that tie in to the theme of your event, like a kid-friendly cheese tasting (featuring prepackaged cheese sticks and Babybel cheese) for The Stinky Cheese Man at Family Reading Night...

    26....and colorful cupcakes (or gelatin cups) arranged in the shape of a periodic table at Family Science Night.

    27. Put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle for a no-mess school breakfast event.

    28. Easily process payments on-site using an app like Square or PayPal.

    Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/Thinkstock

    29. For those jazzier “parent-only” events, string holiday lights around a Hula-Hoop for instant fancy.

    via Hative  

    30. Jazz up juice boxes and pouches with crepe paper and googly eyes.

    31. Or prettify plain old water bottles with a roll of patterned duct tape.

    32. Give your event a holiday theme—for example, plan a “For the Love of Books” Family Reading Night around Valentine’s Day.

    33. Make hot dogs for a crowd in a Crock-Pot...

    34....and cook corn on the cob in a cooler.

    35. Spray-paint Twister on the field for a fun outdoor spring carnival or field day game.

    36. Make it easy for parents to identify your group by wearing “Ask me about our PTO” T-shirts.

    37. Pass out themed movie night prop kits for audience participation (like clappers for when Dorothy clicks her heels during The Wizard of Oz).


    Photo credit: EmBaSy/Thinkstock

    38. Walking tacos (using allergy-friendly chips) are a fun, easy, and school-safe meal at outdoor events. 

    39. Plastic tablecloths are an inexpensive way to make backdrops for a fun photo booth.

    via Makoodle 

    40. Tickets make for a fun photo backdrop, too (bonus: you can reuse the tickets at another event!).

    41. Duct tape—an instant parent icebreaker.

    42. Also a good icebreaker? Free samples and coupons for parents!

    43. Fancify a cheap plastic tablecloth with just a few nips and tucks.

    44. Plan a raffle basket around your event’s theme (we love this “mad scientist” gift basket for Family Science Night!).

    45. Turn an old bulletin board into a pin-the-nose-on-the-(insert character here!) game.

    46. Spray-paint trinkets from the dollar store and use them as trophies (best costume at Family Movie Night, anyone?).

    47. Plan a movie night around movie release dates. More families are apt to attend if it’s a new movie kids have been dying to see.

    48. For the holidays, “wrap” tables into presents.

    49. Bring Candy Land to life in the library with some oversize colorful squares (decorating for Family Game Night doesn’t get simpler than that!).

    50. Get a year's worth of event and fundraising ideas in just a few hours at the PTO Today Expo.

  • Starry, Starry Night

    Maine elementary students enjoy an out-of-this-world astronomy event.
  • A Tech-Savvy Talent Show

    Social media and mobile voting generate student enthusiasm.

  • Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

    Ideas for PTOs and PTAs to support their school communities during this annual celebration.

  • Not Just Another Dance

    Try these fun alternatives to father-daughter and mother-son dances.

  • Special Interest Day Captivates Students

    A day of educational and fun activities brightens up winter for Michigan students.

  • Event Ideas Middle Schoolers Won’t Hate

    Even finicky middle schoolers will have fun with these ideas and events—although they probably won’t admit it.