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Spring and Summer Planning Archive

  • 6 Simple Spring Events

    Easy ways to enjoy the warming temperatures with your school community.
  • Spring Community Service Project Ideas for Schools

    Six ideas to get parents and kids involved in community service efforts in the spring.
  • 8 Steps for a Successful Spring PTO Fundraiser

    What to consider when planning your next spring fundraiser.
  • How To Use Facebook During Summer Break

  • Do These Back-to-School Tasks in Spring

    Give yourself an easier start next fall by checking off these to dos before the school year ends.
  • 17 Safety Tips for Your Spring Events

    Who doesn’t love a fun spring event? Between carnivals, picnics, and field days, families create some of their best school memories. So it’s important to make sure these events run as smoothly as possible, and a key factor for any outdoor event is safety.  We’ve collected safety tips that we think will come in handy as you plan your event. Assuming most of you will skip daredevil stunts like flying dogs (see above photo☺), we’ll keep our tips focused on the basics! Also, a good first step is to make sure your group is up to date with insurance coverage. It’s helpful to check our Insurance FAQs page to see whether your activities and games are covered. For more general information on insurance, go to our main insurance page. You can also call our leader support team at 800-644-3561 with questions.  1. Designate “go-to” people for your event. These are the folks who can answer volunteer questions (especially from newbies) while the event is under way and respond to any emergencies. Give their phone numbers to all your volunteers.  You may even want to try  walkie-talkies for communication. Your school administration may have these devices and allow you to borrow them. 2. Have name badges on all volunteers so families know who to ask for help.  3. Add a volunteer or two at the entrance and exits of busy events like carnivals to prevent children from wandering off.  4. Do a check of all  games and activities, especially if they’re donated games. Look for choking hazards and broken pieces.  5. Inspect the larger carnival booths and activities to make sure they are sturdy and in good working condition. If you’re uncertain, ask a building maintenance person to give them a look.  6. Keep equipment and large structures away from buildings. They can become climbing devices for kids. (Picture them up on the school roof!) 7. Have a hand-washing station set up with wipes and hand sanitizer gel so kids and parents can clean up.  8. Keep extra bug spray and sunscreen on hand just in case parents ask for it.  9. Tape down extension cords.  10. Make sure you have an adult volunteer at each of the game or activity stations. 11. Keep any cooking equipment—grills, warmers, electric pots—away from the main event area.  12. Have an on-site medical emergency kit and make sure all volunteers know where it is.  13. Have a planned evacuation spot, like the school gym. This sounds ominous, we know. But in the event of heavy rain or a thunderstorm, it’s good to have a plan. Get the word out to all volunteers and even practice getting to the gym with them.  14. Set up a shaded area for families. This is especially helpful for parents with babies or young children who may need a short break.  15. Have extra water and freeze pops on hand if a hot day is forecast.  16. Have a plan to keep signs and other items tacked down just in case you have a windy day. Extra duct tape, clothespins, and small weights will do it.  17. If an activity requires water, like a fishing game, set it up away from any electrical cords or outlets. 
  • 5 Easy Ideas for Your School Spring Carnival

    A carnival is often the highlight of spring for many families—and it takes a big effort to make that happen. Here are 5 ideas for PTOs and PTAs to do now so their carnival is a runaway hit! Click on any of the images of flyers and graphics below to download. 1. First, let’s talk money. Carnivals can be hectic, so plan for ways to reduce the amount of cash transactions. Consider doing a flat-rate entry fee for kids or entire families. You can purchase inexpensive wristbands for the kids to wear—or try hand stamps (even cheaper!). Not only does this give kids unlimited access to activities and games; it also means volunteers won’t be scrambling to keep track of cash while also running games.  If you do a flat-rate system, set it up so parents can pay ahead of time. This wristband preorder form may come in handy! It’s also a good idea to offer some kind of per-activity pricing system using tickets. You will have families who can only spend a very short time at your event and don’t want to pay the full price of a wristband.  2. Figure out your prize system. Kids love little trinkets, and there are plenty of online options and discount stores to make those purchases. If you want to offer special prizes, reach out now to area restaurants and stores to get $5 and $10 gift cards for the kids.  Determine if you are going to go with per-game winnings or a system in which children can score points throughout the day and redeem one big prize or an assortment of smaller prizes.  Either way, it’s best to have a prize redemption table away from the main game and activity area to reduce chaos at game stations.  If you go with a point system, try a punch-card approach. One option is to download this template from our File Exchange. Your best bet is to print these on cardstock so they hold up throughout the carnival! 3. Add at least a few new games to your event. You want to keep your carnival fresh and fun; kids will notice if you have the same activities year after year. The good news is you can put together a few new games without much hassle. Head over to our Spring Carnival board on Pinterest. We’ve collected lots of game and activity ideas that won’t break the bank and are easy to make.  Here are just a few examples:  Sticky tic-tac-toe  FrugalFunBoys.com   All you need is a foam board, duct tape, blue felt pieces, glue, a few ping-pong balls, and Velcro! Pool noodle race track    ramblingsfromutopia.com Cut a few pool noodles in half. Use toothpicks to hold them together to create side-by-side race tracks.  You can also try putting a new spin on a traditional activity, like turning a cake walk  into a cupcake walk, or even better, a book walk. Use the same setup and rules, but offer winners smaller cakes or books as prizes. We have a refresher on cake walks if you want to review how run this event.  4. Go big on promotions. Use all your channels, including your website and social channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Integra), along with email and flyers to get the word out about your event. Ask parents and volunteers to share the event date. We have several templates on our File Exchange that you can use as flyers and customize for emails and Facebook. You can also create your own flyers and social posts using our clip art like this item:    5. Look forward. Think about next year’s carnival as you work on this year’s event. During planning and preparation, take notes on what’s working and what isn’t. Those notes will be tremendously helpful next spring, when you might have forgotten some details about this year’s event (or if a new volunteer will be running the show). Also, download this survey now to share with parents and volunteers after the event. Getting good feedback will help you tweak your plans for the next carnival! 
  • Last-Minute Tips for Spring Auctions

    If your group is hosting an auction this spring, don’t panic if you still have lots of work left to do. That’s typical. We have plenty of last-minute tips for you! 
  • Put Some Bounce in Your Spring Fundraising

    The options are endless, and it’s a great time for PTOs to try something new.
  • Fair Highlights Kids’ Summer Options

    A roundup of area summer activities helps parents plan for the summer break.
  • Hold a PTO Officers Retreat in the Summer

    Spending a few hours together during the summer can help your group be more organized and energized when school starts.
  • Tips for Favorite Spring Events

    From school carnivals to Teacher Appreciation Week, we offer tips for organizing some classic—and some new—spring parent group events.
  • Go Easy on Volunteer Recruitment in Summer Months

  • Some PTO Summer Homework for Back-to-School Success

    A few easy things to keep in mind that can help you keep up with your PTO work during the summer.
  • 6 Outdoor Events for Spring

    Welcome the warmer weather with one of these ideas for fun family activities.
  • 7 Tips To Get Your Playground Ready for Spring

    As the weather starts warming up, make sure your playground is safe for students with this simple checklist.
  • Video Blog: How To Avoid a Common Mistake That Leaders Make in Spring

    Can you feel the PTO or PTA leader fatigue settling in yet? The last thing you need is to have fewer volunteers for your spring events and programs, right? In this video blog Tim Sullivan talks about a common mistake that leaders often make this time of year -- a mistake that can cost you good volunteers and your group's reputation.
  • 6 Spring Family Event Ideas

  • Summer Crafts Fest Brings Community Together

    A two-day “Christmas in July” street fair brings together more than 20,000 attendees.
  • Spring Family Event Ideas

    Put down the fundraising checklist; forget the next round of school testing. It's time for school fun! Here's a sampling of PTO spring traditions from around the country. What will you do to celebrate your school community this season?
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