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25+ Must-have Products for School PTO and PTA Groups

From a portable bulletin board and mascot costume to a thermal printer (mind blown), here are all the must-have products—plus a few fun splurges!— for school parent groups.

by Kerri Beauchesne

07/17/2024

 

Portable bulletin board 

If your PTO is lacking bulletin board space to advertise events, fundraisers, and contests, this portable bulletin board on wheels is a great alternative!

 

BUY ON AMAZON

Sidewalk signs

These can't-miss signs are great for advertising upcoming school events and fundraisers at pick-up and drop-off, or to share words of encouragement on the first day of school and during state testing week!

 

 

BUY ON AMAZON

Thermal printer

If you don't spend Friday nights with your thermal printer, are you even on the PTO?! (IYKYK) The best part about a thermal printer is that it doesn't use costly ink. If you're wondering what your PTO would use thermal stickers for, well, the answer is LOTS of things! Remind parents about upcoming events, fundraisers, spirit nights and other PTO happenings by placing can't-miss stickers on students' shirts during the day. Add a QR code so that parents can easily scan to sign up for volunteer opportunities, purchase tickets for events, and more.

 

BUY ON AMAZON

 

@ptotoday Nothing better than a label maker and some QR codes 🎉 📸 Greenwood Elementary PTA President @Cortney Hall #ptolife #ptamom #ptalife #ptamomsbelike ♬ original sound - PTO Today ✨School Family Media

Round stickers (for QR codes, event reminders and more)

So, you finally got your hands on that dreamy thermal printer (mind blown) - now what? Here are the round stickers our community recommends using for all your PTO-obsessed thermal printing needs.

BUY ON AMAZON

 

Locking cash box

This locking cash box is great for school events. It has dividers for dollar bills and coins, and a 3 number combination code lock, which can easily be changed as needed.

BUY ON AMAZON

Folding wagon

Ask any PTO leader what they're thankful for the day of a big event: kids who can help lend a hand (or volunteers) and a wagon! We love this Radio Flyer wagon because it's foldable, so you can easily store it in your trunk.

BUY ON AMAZON

Locking rolling storage cabinet for spirit wear

This rolling storage cabinet is great for storing spirit wear! Simply roll the cabinet to the school event you're setting up at to quickly display and sell school spirit wear. The best part? Everything stays organized inside, so when the event is done, you just roll it on back.

BUY ON AMAZON

Parent Group School Year Planner

PTO Today is creating a FREE 2024-2025 PTO and PTA planner (available soon) that you can edit, print and distribute to each board member. Check back soon for a link to this new PTO planner!

Mascot costume and cooling vest

A school mascot is a great way to build school spirit! Many leaders in our community also recommend getting a mascot costume cooling vest as well (brilliant!).

BUY ON SHOP MASCOT

@ptotoday All PTO and PTA leaders and volunteers, please report for duty 🎉 #backtoschool #ptopresident #ptapresident #schoolmascot ♬ marching band(848131) - cesario

Laminator

BUY ON AMAZON

@perksofteachingkinder This saves me so much time! #kindergarten #teachertip #teacher #teachersoftiktok ♬ vlog, chill out, calm daily life(1370843) - SUNNY HOOD STUDIO

Cricut

A Cricut allows you to easily make any DIY project you can imagine, from fun PTO board shirts to personalized gifts and decorations for Teacher Appreciation Week. It has the tools to cut hundreds of materials quickly and accurately, from paper and fabric to vinyl.

 

CHECK PRICING

@shauneyhy Just making school dance magic happen, shout out to my cricut and hot glue gun. 🪄 #schooldance #schooldancedecor #glowdance #pta #ptadance #pto #neonlights #blacklightdecor #glowdance ♬ Come Check This (Quickie Edit) - FETISH

Parent group insurance policy

Without parent group insurance, you and your officers are at risk. Many groups assume they're covered by their school or district policy, but the reality is, most are not (always, always check!). PTO Today offers insurance packages designed specifically for PTO and PTA groups with one of the highest limits ($2/$4 million), provided through one of the highest rated carriers. Directors and Officers coverage protects you and all your officers in the event anyone is sued personally for a decision made by the group, and Crime coverage protects your assets from theft or embezzlement. To learn more, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800-644-3561 ext. 203.

LEARN MORE

 

Plastic lawn signs

Display words of encouragement throughout a fun run course, welcome students back-to-school, or congratulate rising fifth graders.

 

BUY ON HOME DEPOT

Personalized table runner

A branded table runner is a great way to get parent foot traffic to your PTO table at open house and other school events.

BUY ON VISTA PRINT

Business safe and lock box

A locked drop box makes it easy for your PTO receive and store money safely. Mount in the PTO room - it can’t be moved. This is also a great place to store extra blank checks and keys. 

BUY ON AMAZON

Automatic electric stapler

Great for when you have to staple a bajillion things in less than 5 minutes.  

BUY ON AMAZON

@wareviews Automatic Electric Stapler Induction Binding Documents for Students & Office Buying Link in Profile Bio @WA_Reviews 🔗www.wasuperstore.com 🌍Free Shipping Worldwide 🏷Limited Time Sale only #stapler #staplers #automaticstapler #electricstapler #amazon #amazonfinds #amazonfind #amazonmusthave #amazonmusthaves #amazongadgets #founditonamazon #amazonhack #musthave #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt #gadgets #gadgetstore #gadgetshop #homegadget #homegadgets #gadgetslover #usashopping #onlineshopping #onlineshoppingstore #unboxing #unboxings #unboxingvideos #unboxingreels #unboxingdude #techunboxing #wasuperstore ♬ original sound - Tech Home Gadgets

High speed dollar bill counter

Skip manually counting dollar bills with this high speed dollar bill counter. 

BUY ON AMAZON

Electric coin sorter 

This electric coin sorter will give you all the feels...no more wrapping coins by hand! 

BUY ON AMAZON

Portable speaker with microphone

Bring this portable speaker with microphone anywhere, from fun runs and glow dances to the first day of school.

BUY ON COSTCO

Electric balloon pump 

When it comes to setting up that Taylor Swift inspired balloon arch for Teacher Appreciation Week, you're going to wish you had an electric balloon pump!

BUY ON AMAZON

Snow cone machine

One PTO leader in our community shares they own two of these commercial grade snow cone machines which they use to make about 900 snow cones during their school's annual field day. They use these scoops to scoop snow cones, this snow cone syrup, and this heavy duty extension cord. Tip from our community: (25) 10 pound bags of ice will make approximately 850 snow cone cups.

BUY ON AMAZON

Retractable extension cord

This portable heavy duty extension cord features a 25 foot long retractable cord.

BUY ON WALMART

XL coffee percolator

This coffee maker makes 100 cups of coffee...perfect for Donuts with Grownups, Cookies and Hot Cocoa, and Teacher Appreciation Week.

BUY ON WEBSTAURANT

Utility cart (aka trolley)

This plastic utility cart on wheels has three shelves, comes in a variety of colors, and retails for under $100. This cart is the perfect way to deliver themed snacks to teachers if your PTO does a monthly teacher treat trolley!

BUY ON WEBSTAURANT

Free printables and Canva templates

Check out PTO Today's new hub for free printables and Canva templates for PTO and PTA groups. You'll find free teacher appreciation gift tags and signs, a free calendar that includes all the special and fun days to celebrate throughout the year, a "year in review" graphic, and so much more.

BROWSE TEMPLATES

Website for your parent group

A custom hosted website for your school parent group is a must. If you don't have one or are shopping around for a new one, you can get a custom hosted website for your PTO or PTA group for free through PTOffice as part of a PTO Today Plus membership (new members only).

LEARN MORE

Step stool

From duct taping the principal to the wall as a fundraising incentive to hanging black lights at the school glow dance, investing in a reliable (aka, won't tip) step stool is a PTO must. This one holds up to 500 pounds.

BUY ON AMAZON

Printed out copy of your bylaws

This one's a must! Learn more, including how to write bylaws for your parent group.

Paper cutter

A paper cutter is handy for quickly (and evenly) cutting gift tags and more.

BUY ON AMAZON

@nickisvids

Volunteer life in the PTO. Maybe I'll do a part 2.

♬ original sound - nickisvids

Step & repeat backdrop

Having a step and repeat backdrop bedazzled with your school logo is a great way to build school spirit and perfect for photo opps at school events, like Kindergarten Signing Day, orientation or your back-to-school open house. 

BUY ON UPRINTING

Marquee light up letters

Some PTO groups like to go big for events like Teacher Appreciation Week, back-to-school and Kindergarten orientation. These 4 foot light up marquee letters are a great way to display your school's abbreviated name.

BUY ON AMAZON

Clear plastic 8x10 frames

These frames are an inexpensive way to display important info at school events - like flyers on your PTO welcome table or signs in the lounge during Teacher Appreciation Week.

BUY ON AMAZON

Bubble machine

Break out the bubbles! Welcome students on the first day of school with a fun blast of bubbles or use a bubble machine during field day (at the popsicle station) or during a bubble run (a fun take on a fun run!).

BUY ON AMAZON

Chalkboard sign for school drop off

Leaders love this chalkboard sign because it rolls. Perk: the sign is removable, so you can easily take it off to write on it!

BUY ON AMAZON

Popcorn machine

One community member who uses this popcorn machine shares that her PTO gets approximately 400-500 bags of popcorn (each bag = one brown lunch bag that's filled half way).

BUY ON WALMART

Construction cone costumes for morning drop off

If your school's morning drop off is not as orderly as you'd like, you're not alone. Leave it to creative parent groups like MVS PTA in Waddell, Arizona, who decided to dress up as construction cones to help direct traffic. Not gonna lie, we're kind of loving this fun idea!

BUY ON AMAZON

@notyouraverageptamoms Yeah we're this extra 😂 gotta keep that line moving! #mvspta #dontgoblockingdropofflines #target ♬ original sound - MVS PTA

Robert's Rules of Order

Ask any longstanding PTO leader how to best conduct meetings in an orderly fashion, and they'll recommend referencing Robert's Rules of Order - the recognized guide to smooth, orderly, and fairly conducted meetings. Most PTOs and PTAs use Robert's Rules of Order to conduct their meetings.

BUY ON AMAZON

Accounting software

PTO Today's Finance Manager is PTO and PTA accounting software that's built by leaders for leaders. Give it a test drive with a free 30 day trial!

GET FREE TRIAL

Accordion folder with 12 tabs

Quick tip from our community: Organize so that each tab is its own month. Store any incomplete paperwork and receipts until it is reconciled with the bank statement. 

BUY ON AMAZON

Hanging file box

Quick tip from our community: After your monthly paperwork is reconciled and reviewed by a non-account signer, put the paperwork in the box for the audit team. Once each month is complete and the bank statement is mailed, put that month’s paperwork, reconciliation, and the sealed envelope with the bank statement in a manila folder and hand to a non-account signer to review and sign off on. To make specific transactions easier at a later date if needed, keep two manila folders inside each hanging file - one for that month’s deposits and one for that month’s expenses.

BUY ON STAPLES

3 ring binder

Quick tip from our community: Use a 3-ring binder (along with tab dividers) to store a copy of your audit checklist, printed copies of all meeting minutes, prior year audit, bylaws, treasurers reports, budgets, insurance, and anything else that's required for your annual audit.

BUY ON AMAZON

Checkbook with carbon copies

BUY ON AMAZON

 

Must have supplies (aka, what to keep stashed in your PTO "go bag"!)

Advice from our community of PTO and PTA leaders: always keep a PTO bag stocked and ready to go in your trunk so that you're never without tape, goo gone or emergency chocolate at a school event. Here's what leaders in our community stash in their PTO bags!

  • Clipboard
  • Tape (of all kinds...duct tape, masking tape, Scotch tape)
  • Sharpie markers
  • Goo Gone
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife or box cutter
  • Zip ties
  • Multiple types of tape (scotch, masking, duct)
  • Stapler
  • Highlighters
  • Notebook
  • Pens and pencils
  • Spare phone charger
  • Sticky notes
  • Extra hair ties
  • Tylenol
  • Granola bars
  • Candy
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Mints
  • Rolls of plastic table cloths in school colors (for easy decorating in a pinch)

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