Your parent group is probably accustomed to focusing your event planning on those for the whole family. But this year, start a new tradition (or a few) by adding some events just for parents. Making school friends isn’t just for the kids, after all; it’s important for grown-ups, too, so leave room on your calendar for fostering friendships among adults. The key is keeping the gatherings enjoyable and low-key.
Adult Painting Night
Paint nights have gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason: They’re inexpensive and easy to organize (usually at a local restaurant or venue), and participants end the evening with a fun keepsake. Members of the Ridge View Elementary PTC in Belgrade, Mont., went all-out for their inaugural paint night, offering appetizers, desserts, and cocktails and even raffling prizes throughout the evening. Some 45 attendees enjoyed the event, and the group will most likely plan another one. "We heard rave reviews about the event and a lot of women said they would definitely do this again," says president Tiffany Togstad.
What makes bowling a good choice for a parents night out is its versatility—it works well if people want to play individually or in pairs (couples, committee chairs, etc.). Plus, it’s fun! Consider asking the bowling alley for a special rate in exchange for some publicity in your newsletter or social media channels.
Drinks and Dessert Night
The Page-Hilltop Elementary PTO in Ayer, Mass., sweetened parent connections by holding a gourmet desserts night. A local hotel donated the space for the evening and also provided staff and all ingredients for the event, which featured coffee, cocktails, and 12 different desserts prepared by a school parent who is a pastry chef. Your group probably doesn’t have as easy access to a pastry chef, but you could organize a similar night by asking a few parents to contribute their best creations and a nearby hotel or other suitable location to donate the venue.
Local Sporting Event
Cultivate local pride while having a blast by attending a sporting event together. Keep it simple by attending a high school game, or if circumstances allow, plan an outing to a local college team game, which frequently offer group ticket discounts.
Themed Home Parties
Bringing your event to someone’s home is a way to cut costs and make it more casual. But it doesn’t have to be boring. PTA parents at the Kilgour School in Cincinnati, Ohio, have held theme parties at their homes ranging from a ladies spa night to ’80s dance parties to Italian wine tastings. The hosting parents pay for the events and the guests buy tickets, with the proceeds going to the PTA.
Bingo might be a classic school event, but it’s not just for kids—adults love it, too! Make it more appealing for grown-ups by featuring a variety of cards (start with icebreaker bingo, for example), as well as plenty of fun snacks and beverages.
Promote your adult social events with our customizable flyers:
Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.