Planning out family fun ideas can be overwhelming because there’s the pressure to be creative and put on a truly fabulous event that all will enjoy.
The first half of that problem is solved with this huge list of ideas for school family fun event ideas!
And what is truly fantastic about this collection of ideas is that the vast majority of these events can be scaled up or down depending on your group’s budget!
And these ideas work for a myriad of age groups and aren’t just limited to elementary school family fun night ideas.
1. Bingo Night
Instead of candy or toy prizes, give out books instead!
Have a Half Priced Books in your area? See if they’ll donate books!
2. Toy or Book Swap
This is especially effective if Winter Break starts we’ll before Christmas- gives kids a chance to play with or read something new while they wait until the big day!
My school serves a small number of low income families, so we gave tickets for the swap to the school counselor who gave them to the families discreetly.
3. Daddy-Daughter Dance
So cute at any age! How about a Butterfly Ball themed evening?
4. Kickball Tournament
Again, having the parents face off versus the kids will make for a memorable event!
5. Fitness Night
Combine with Basketball Night is you have multiple gyms in your school to give a wide range of options.
Borrow recess or gym equipment and let the kids have fun playing with the hula hoops and anything else you have access too.
6. Science Night
Have a science professor in the area willing to do a mad scientist show?
Make slime and mini volcanos and do other experiments that are age appropriate.
7. Multicultural Night
Simple idea: have families bring a dish to share for a potluck dinner that represents their culture!
8. Family Reading Night
Have a station for bookmark making.
Contact your local library and see if they could help!
Click here for some resources.
9. Craft Night
Find seasonal crafts that are age appropriate for your families.
Mix in some take home projects as well as some collaborative pieces that will stay at the school.
Use the collaborative pieces to decorate your school.
10. Art Show
Done in conjunction with your school/district’s PTA Reflection’s program or on it’s own if your school doesn’t participate.
11. Magic Show
Hire a magician to put on a fabulous show at the school.
12. Silly Olympics
Especially fun in Olympic years when there’s lots of excitement and anticipation!
Plan goofy events for families to participate in.
13. Trunk or Treat
All you need is a blocked off parking lot to provide a safe space for fun trick or treating.
Families provide their own treats to pass out, but your group can supplement their candy supply.
14. Blacktop Bash
Literally host a picnic on the playground or school parking lot blacktop.
15. Animal Show
Hire a local entertainer to perform for your school.
16. Cookie Decorating
Buy pre-baked, undecorated sugar cookies from a local grocery store.
Do around holiday time and have families decorate 1/2 of the cookies for teachers as a token of appreciation!
Or turn it into a Bake Sale fundraiser!
17. Let’s Make a Deal
Remember the game show and how goofy fun it can be?
Follow this link for terrific ideas and the exact games to play.
This school family fun night is best for Middle School and High Schoolers.
Younger kids who haven’t seen the kids might not understand how to play.
18. YouTube Movie Night
Borrow a projector from your school and a screen and watch funny (pre-screened) YouTube videos!
19. Math Night
Ask the math teachers in your building or your district’s Director of Curriculum for help!
This is another event that can take up a ton of planning if not done smartly. Check out this blog post for some super helpful tips!
21. Walk to School
Check out the resources available at Safe Route to School and Walk + Bike to School to plan an event.
This is a great event to invite your city officials, school superintendent and local media to attend.
22. Bike Rodeo
This event is a great opportunity to partner up with your city’s Police Department.
23. Ice Cream Social
Purchase ice cream cups, sprinkles and spoons for an easy to put on event. No scooping!
24. Mother Daughter Tea
Invite moms and daughters to get dressed up and enjoy a fancy outing.
25. Lego Night
Bring a bunch of Legos bricks for all to play with.
Be prepared to be wowed by their creativity!
26. Grandparent’s Dinner/Breakfast/Lunch
This could also be titled as a Special Persons event so that it is more inclusive and not limited to just Grandparents.
27. Service Night
Plan a series of projects that can be donated to local Meals on Wheels programs or Assisted Living facilities.
Cards and posters would be great appreciated and are budget friendly!
28. Fall Festival / Harvest Fest
Hay bales races, scarecrow stuffing and other fall themed fun would be enjoyed by all!
29. Veteran’s Day Celebration
Recognize and honor current and past members of the armed forces, whether they’re parents, school staff or community members.
30. Winter Fest
Plan Winter themed events: Indoor snowball fight (use scrap paper), indoor ice skating (paper plates on a gym floor, works better for little kids!) and marshmallows shooters would make for a fun evening!
31. Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Celebration
Dr. Seuss was born March 2, 1904, so let your imagination run wild with the possibilities for a fun-filled evening.
You could watch the Lorax, have a poetry slam or create wacky creature crafts.
32. 5k Run/Walk
This would be a great event to parter up with other schools in your district for a bigger event.
33. Chili Cook Off
Food and fun! Invite local community groups (churches, law enforcement groups, etc) to take part.
34. Spaghetti Dinner
When you bring people together over food, good relationships and connections result.
See if a local restaurant can assist with the food prep to save headaches.
35. Cupcake Wars
Have families bring in cupcakes first for judging (by an independent panel!) and then a taste test by all!
36. Fashion Show
This is a great event for older kids, especially before Homecoming and Prom season.
37. Family Tailgate Party
Support your district’s sports teams by gathering families for dinner or snacks before a game!
38. Talent Show
Always a favorite event, but it can seem like an overwhelming event to put on.
But I have you covered!
Get the details on how to run a great show here!
39. Pizza Party
Pizza is a relatively inexpensive way to feed lots of people. Get donations from different pizza places around town and have a taste test.
40. Family Game Night
Families bring their favorite game and everyone plays!
Can it get any easier?
41. Earth Day Park Clean Up
Garbage bags, plastic gloves and hand sanitizer.
Weather’s the only thing that could put a damper on this event, but even with a little bit of rain, most families won’t care.
Any excuse to get out into fresh air is a plus for lot of parents.
42. Science Fair
Ask for help from your schools Science and STEM / STEAM teacher and see if this will fit in the curriculum to expand the school day to include families.
43. Muffins for Moms/Donuts for Dads
Costco will be your savior if you go the muffin route!
44. Special Persons Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Sometimes it’s as easy as designating a day for this to happen (especially for the lunches!) and advertising it so families come in.
If your group has the funds, you could serve a continental breakfast.
45. Lip Sync Battle
This is another event that would work better with older kids.
Unless you want endless rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
46. Family Field Trip
Arrange for off campus activities that are available in your area- museum, science center, aquarium, zoo, hay ride, etc.
Arrange for pre-sales of (discounted, maybe?) tickets.
47. Zumba/Yoga Night
Ask around in your school to see if there is a parent who is an instructor.
48. Pumpkin Carving
Families get to leave with a carved pumpkin and all the mess stays out of their home.
49. “Pi” Night (on March 4th!)
Serve different pies or pizza!
Great event to combine with a Math Night.
50. Dodgeball Tournament
How about facing the kids against the adults in a dodgeball tourney?
51. Basketball Night
This can be as informal as you’d like!
Most kids are happy to run around and play basketball.
You could arrange for a 3 point contest or literally dump balls in the middle of the gym and let the kids have at it.
52. Pottery Night
Get air dry clay or see if a local pottery studio will allow families to bring in pieces to be painted.
Negotiate a deal based on the traffic you’ll be driving into the store, and maybe turn this into a mini fundraiser where your PTO will get a portion of the sales.
53. Kids’ Bazaar
Announce this event months in advance so kids can make items. At the event, kids sell their creations!
Is there a business school or Small Business Development Center nearby that could help with this event?
54. Mother Son Jammin’ Fun Night
a.k.a. Mommy-Son Dance!
Sometimes you just gotta re-title an event to make it appealing!
Make sure to have multiple activities to keep the boys entertained and out of trouble.
55. Reading Fair
Kids do a poster for a book they’ve read!
This could also be a way to have adult make connections and find out about new books they’d be interested in reading.
Contact your local library to see if they want to partner up with your PTO.
56. Go Green Night
Recycled crafts would go over really well for this family fun art night!
57. Playdates in the Park
All too often, kids don’t get enough unstructured time.
Combine a playground free for all gathering with dinner to make the event an actual event
Over to you!
So many terrific ideas! Which ones will you do?
Another Resource You Might Like…
Looking for how to take these great ideas and put them to work for your PTA/PTO to ignite parent engagement?
Look no further than the Membership Master Plan.
It’s a completely customizable solution that features done for you parent letters, communication guidelines, volunteer flyers and everything else to get parents involved and excited to be part of your PTO!