A school is a community that needs to be reinforced throughout the school year, and having a great list of school event ideas can help you do that. There are plenty of ways to engage students, parents, teachers and the community at large in events for schools, ranging from simple and inexpensive to a few that are a bit more costly and complex.
Whether you’re looking for an elementary school event idea, or one for middle schoolers or high schoolers, keep reading for different ways to help your school community have fun and make connections all year long. You may also discover some fundraising opportunities along the way.
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Elementary School Event Ideas
If you're looking for event ideas for schoolkids and their parents, the easiest group to cater to is probably the youngest. There are many different ideas for young school children that are sure to get them excited, and their parents too.
All of these elementary school event ideas can help to bring the school community together, provide a welcoming atmosphere and even help your institution raise funds if needed.
These events are generally affordable and easy enough to plan, making them accessible even if you currently have a lot on your plate.
1. Trunk-or-Treat Party
Here's a great activity to do with your students around Halloween. We all know young kids go crazy over the idea of trick-or-treating, but it's not something they generally get to experience with their classmates or teachers.
That's why throwing a trunk-or-treat party can be such a good idea. The concept behind this event is simple and it’s a great alternative to a more traditional Halloween party.
Parents, teachers and other volunteers simply decorate the interiors of the trunks of their cars. Then they park around the school parking lot and open their trunks, where candy and other treats are located.
The kids can go from car to car, visiting parents, teachers and others in their community and collecting goodies.
This is an easy event to put together because all it requires is a parking lot and getting the word out.
This event can help show the power of bringing your community together, and the fun that can occur when each person brings their own little slice of creativity to the table.
2. Theater Night
Having an appreciation for the arts at a young age can be so important. It can give children a moral center, a community and a sense of belonging. Performing and creating art together can also provide a great sense of fun and help with confidence and personality development.
These are just some of the many good reasons to consider hosting a theater night for your elementary school kids.
Providing students with some pieces of well-known plays and great works can help introduce them to the larger culture of theater in general. The kids will likely delight in stepping into some of these larger-than-life characters, getting to “play pretend” and put on a show for parents and teachers.
Who knows, you might just spark a fire of interest in a future thespian.
In addition, hosting a student theater night can be a great way to do a little fundraising for your school or for specific programs that could use extra help. You can sell affordably priced tickets to the performance or accept donations from the community after the show.
There's a little more effort involved in organizing this kind of show, but it's that kind of showmanship and spirit that can make it worthwhile for everyone involved, including you!
3. Family Movie Night
If you're looking for some entertainment that's a bit easier to put together, you don't have to look much further than a family movie night. As far as school event ideas for school kids go, this one is almost always a winner.
It's also an easy one to get cozy with. Encourage students and their parents to come back to the school in their comfiest ensembles — pajamas, slippers and so on.
Lay some blankets and pillows on the floor and choose a family-friendly film that everyone will love. It could be a new release from Disney or Pixar, or you could turn the kids on to a beloved classic they'll get to experience for the first time.
This is easy enough to set up, but if you have some extra time and energy, you can go the extra mile. You can tie your decorations and setup around the movie's theme(s) or locale(s). That means the snacks and decorations you choose can sync with the film and provide a complete experience.
Remember, this is a tech-based event, so be sure to test everything ahead of time to make sure you're ready to go. There's nothing worse than a bunch of antsy kids waiting around for you to make the projector work!
The more you troubleshoot your audio/video setup ahead of time, the lower the chance of an unfortunate surprise.
4. Field Day
This is maybe the most iconic and classic elementary school event idea. In a way, field day is a tradition, passed down from generation to generation across many decades.
Generally speaking, field day takes place toward the end of the school year when the weather is heating up and the kids are getting excited for summer break.
The specifics of what a field day can consist of will vary depending on your ambition and budget. It can be as simple as outdoor sports and relay races or as involved as large parachute tents and dunk tanks.
Basically, any group activity you can think of that can be organized outside can be included in a field day. If you do this event for school once a year, you can have older students explain the games to younger students, creating a deeper sense of tradition and camaraderie from class to class.
If done right, a field day can be a day that students of all ages look forward to and embrace. On top of it all, they'll be getting some physical exercise and engaging with their classmates in new and fun ways.
5. Book Fair
Book fairs often occur during school hours, but this isn't always the case. A book fair can also draw students and parents back into the school building after hours.
If you're unfamiliar, a book fair is when you set up part of the school as a makeshift book store where new and donated books are available to students for low prices. They can browse and pick out some exciting new reading options, which they can even begin to dive into at the event itself.
Book publishers often donate or discount books for sale at these types of events. Plus, the excitement around this after-hours school event idea often pushes children to feel more excited about reading.
This is a great fundraising event as well, as the proceeds from the book fair can be funneled into whatever area of the school needs some extra funds.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can set up a few reading nooks and blanket forts where the kids can start their reading adventures right away.
6. Ice Cream Social
We all scream for ice cream, don't we? That's certainly the idea behind this beloved social event, where kids and parents alike gather together to enjoy everyone's favorite dessert.
This is an easy event to set up, with only a quick trip to the grocery store needed to get your supplies. You'll need the ice cream, plenty of toppings, and many plates and spoons to go around.
You can create something of an assembly line, where kids and parents move down the line to create their perfect ice cream sundae bowls.
Make sure you have plenty of seating (and plenty of paper towels in case of a mess) and the rest should take care of itself.
This is a great way to get the student body together, get people excited, and strengthen the bonds of your school community. Plus, if you have a sweet tooth yourself, you won't find much to complain about!
Middle School Event Ideas
The in-between years of middle school are interesting ones for young people. As children become teenagers, the lure of some kid-centric events for schools might no longer call out to them.
However, there are still a huge number of exciting school event ideas you can put together to get your middle school students out and active.
These middle school event ideas range greatly in variety and ambition, but they're all sure to be a massive hit for you and your school.
7. Board Game Night
There are so many board games out there, aren't there? It seems like we're in something of a board game renaissance at the moment, with new games being released and garnering attention each year.
Board games aren't just for children, though. There are many that people of all ages can enjoy. That's what makes a board game night the perfect event for middle school kids who are eager to seem a little more grown up. It's not an event that will feel infantilizing to them.
It's also an easy one to set up, budget for, and enjoy.
If you don't have any board games, you may need to purchase some. However, you could also encourage students to bring in their favorite games from home.
Then, all you need is a large space with plenty of tables. Set up different games at different stations, make sure the rules are laid out, and let the rest happen on its own.
Students can move from station to station, playing different games and meeting new people. You'll need to monitor and make sure no one is getting too competitive or tough, but for the most part, this is an event that can run itself once it’s going.
This event is great for mental health and one parents can jump in on too. Who knows, they might end up losing to students!
8. Community Service Event
Middle school is about the age where children need to start looking outward and understanding the world around them. This is a time to instill vales of giving back, thinking of others and lending a hand.
It's for these reasons and more that a community service event might be the perfect school event idea for your middle school.
Bringing the student body together to work on a community service project is a great way to create a sense of togetherness in your student body. It's also the perfect way to give back to the broader community that your school is a part of.
Getting this middle school event idea on its feet can take a little more work and organization, but the feeling you'll have after giving back in such a major way will be well worth it.
9. Parent-Child Basketball
This event for schools has become surprisingly popular in recent years, particularly with the entertaining pairing of sons and mothers. This is a great school-sponsored athletic event to help break down some generational walls and have a little fun.
It's simple enough to put together — all you need is to open your school gym (or outdoor court) to the student body and get the word out. Generally, quick two-on-two games are the easiest to organize (and likely all the players will be able to handle).
That leaves room for everyone else to cheer on the athletes from the sidelines.
While basketball has really captured the hearts of people across the country when it comes to this event, any type of game could work. You could do parent-child bowling, archery, laser tag — whatever makes sense and gets you excited.
10. Video Game Tournament
Kids love video games, and while we spend much of the school day keeping kids away from digital games, that doesn't mean they're all bad. In fact, they can form the basis for great school event ideas.
Everything can be good for you in moderation, and a school-sponsored video game night might actually help to earn some goodwill among students.
After all, there are many video games (especially of the more kid-friendly Nintendo variety) that can double as both fun events for schools and community-builders.
Even some of your teachers probably have fond memories of getting together as kids for Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart parties, and it's something they can share with a new generation of kids.
Pull together a few televisions and consoles and set them up in a space where you have plenty of room. Assign a teacher, parent or volunteer to each station to oversee the game and rotate the players.
You could encourage kids to free play, or you can set up a tournament-style competition, where winners move on to the next round and an eventual champion is declared. Just make sure everyone knows it's all in good fun!
If you're not well-versed in video games, let someone who is take the reins on this one. It'll be hard to know what you need or to troubleshoot when issues arise, without a little base knowledge.
This kind of middle school event idea can be a huge blast for kids and can help them bond over an activity that they're all fond of and familiar with.
High School Event Ideas
It can feel a bit more difficult to come up with fun school-sponsored events for high schoolers.
After all, this is an age where teens are getting independent, and they might be more likely to branch out and come up with their own kinds of fun.
However, with the right school event ideas in mind, you can capture their attention and bring your high school community together. What are some high school event ideas worth considering?
11. Relay Day
One thing you can count on from high schoolers is that they're competitive. While not everyone is a great athlete, there's still a way to get everyone together and tap into that physical energy.
A relay day is a fantastic and fun way to do just that. All you need is a field and a good sense of organization. Split up the students that come to the event in random teams (or have them sign up as teams ahead of time) and have them compete for a prize.
That prize could be priority parking at school, credit in the cafeteria or anything that you come up with, but make sure it's something the students actually want!
List all your games and challenges ahead of time so your students know what to expect. You could do any number of popular games: three-legged races, tug of war, egg-and-spoon races, scavenger hunts and so on.
This is a great way to get your student body together outside the walls of the classroom. It can bring people out of their shells and help them forge new connections with their classmates.
For this reason, it's one of our favorite high school event ideas.
12. Teacher vs. Student Sports Days
Speaking of outdoor activities, here's one event for schools that's always popular and a hit fundraising event. Momentarily bring down the barrier between the teachers and students and get them on the court together at a teacher-student sports day.
Have someone on your staff who thinks they're pretty good at basketball? Have them shoot hoops against the school team's star player. Chances are the teachers will get beat across the board, but that's part of the fun.
This kind of high school event idea is always sure to draw a big crowd, with students excited to come and cheer on their own and see teachers in a new light. Plus, who knows, maybe you have a secret sports star on your staff. There’s only one way to find out!
If you promote this event on social media ahead of time, you're likely to get a lot of traction and a big turnout. You can sell affordable tickets to the event and voila — you've got yourself a solid fundraising event.
13. Trivia Night
Trivia nights have had a huge surge in popularity across the country, with people of all ages crowding into bars to compete in a casual battle of wits.
You can bring this craze to your own school (with less alcohol involved!) and get your students in on the fun. This is also an amazing and fun way to see if your students are retaining some of the information they're learning in the classroom!
Have people sign up as teams (institute a max of six or seven people) and come together. Put each team at a table and ask the trivia questions over a microphone.
Each team will have five minutes to answer that round’s questions and bring their answers to your team of volunteers. The volunteers will grade the answers for accuracy and tally points.
You can base your rounds around different themes or topics. You can come up with questions on your own or get them off the web, where there are more than enough questions for a great night of trivia.
14. Mascot Music Festival
Have a bunch of talented musicians at your school? You probably do, whether you know it or not. Get everyone excited by launching your own school-based music festival, named after the mascot of your high school.
Have a few students act as volunteer programmers and put groups together like they're making their own Coachella. You can have three stages — essentially, three different areas around the school where people can be performing at the same time.
Sell cheap tickets (fundraising achieved) and the student body can come support their friends and classmates and enjoy some amazing tunes.
15. Secret Santa (or Secret Snowflake)
You're likely already familiar with the concept of Secret Santa, and your students likely will be too. But this familiarity is exactly why this can be an easy and popular school event to pull off, and it’s a great holiday fundraiser too.
Have students who want to sign up buy a small present and bring it to the gym after school. Pile all the presents in the center, and have students pick presents one at a time. As each student gets a turn, they get the opportunity to pick a new present or to steal one from someone who already selected one.
This is a classic holiday game and something fun you can do with students who are down to be included. This school event idea is easy to put together, but it requires planning, organization and cooperation from participants. But at the end of the day, it’s a great high school event idea that will leave everyone laughing.
Prepare for Your School Events with Free Checklists
There’s a lot to keep track of with any school event. That’s why we built three checklists, which will work for most school events, to simplify event management. The checklists and guides include the following…
- Prom event planning checklist.
- Homecoming event planning checklist and guide.
- A general school event planning checklist.