Last week, we talked about how a group can quickly pull together a welcome-back party and spend almost no money.

This week, we wanted to share some additional resources for groups that want to try a theme party or want to shake things up and try something new. We just published Plan a Fun Back-to-School Event, an article that will give you eight additional ideas for a back-to-school party for families.  For instance, you might want to try a tailgate party in the school parking lot, or give a standard picnic a boost by adding a barbecue to it. If you are really adventurous, try a pool party! You could work with a local municipal pool or private club. Whatever the event, encourage attendees to bring a snack or treat to share. This will make them feel more involved!

For planning purposes, check out the links to free flyers and invitations that you can print and use for your events that are included in this article.

To make your welcome-back party memorable, keep in mind that most families will want to make connections for their kids as well as themselves. So, try these ideas:

  • Ask your volunteers to help make introductions

  • Try to get attendees to wear name badges

  • Come up with a few team-based games involving kids and parents. Mix up the teams so attendees can get to know each other

  • Depending on the size of the group, you could try an ice-breaker game, like a beach-ball toss. Using a permanent marker, write getting-to-know-you questions, like “What’s your favorite movie?” on the beach ball. Gather folks in a circle and toss the beach ball. When a person catches it, they must answer the question closest to their right thumb. Then they toss the beach ball to another person.

Also try reaching out to new parents and ask them whether they’d like to help at the event. This can be a quick and fun way for newbies to start feeling like they are part of your community!