The Scene

How to Plan the Best Summer Fun Day

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Coming back to school can be a hard moment for everyone! One way to take the edge off it all and enjoy the last few days of warm and sultry New York summer is with a summer fun, back-to-school event. This is also a great way for parents to get to know each other and the school, and to start off everyone on the right foot.

Host a barbecue

The simple rule here is to ask each family to bring enough food to feed their own family. Everything is then shared out, and the PTA can fill in some of the trimmings or drinks. This is a great event to host at a local park where kids can play together or you can organize some games.

Make sure that you provide ways for everyone to mingle. Organized games keep the kids occupied while still allowing them some free time to run around and enjoy the park. These can be moments when parents can meet their children’s future teachers as well as other parents in their child’s class.

Try an ice cream social

If you prefer to hold your gathering on the school grounds, an ice cream social can be a fun way to celebrate the end of summer and bring everyone together. You can do anything here from hiring an ice cream truck to bringing in your own ice cream and toppings, to asking families to contribute.

If you serve your own ice cream, ask the teachers to do the serving. This allows parents and teachers to meet in a low-key, low-stress way where there’s already something built in to talk about.

Host a carnival

If you’d like to combine back-to-school with a fundraiser, a carnival is a great way to do it. Rent a dunking booth and some carnival games, hire some nearby Long Island clowns to visit and do games or animal balloons, and set up a face painting station and a baking contest or two. If it’s hot, rent a tent or two and offer some shaved ice or other cooling foods.

Games don’t have to all be elaborate. Kids will enjoy fishing for prizes in a kiddie pool and taking part in a sack race as much as they enjoy more elaborate games, and with teachers manning different booths and events you have an easy way to facilitate the meet-and-greet.

Organize a breakfast

There’s just something about breakfast that people can’t resist. Whether you make it a pancake social, do a continental breakfast of muffins, donuts and fruit, or go all out with eggs and bacon, people love breakfast foods.

Be creative: if you serve pancakes, for example, serve different flavors or add some food coloring to different batches of mix to make things more colorful. Have families sit in class groups to get to know each other and provide some games for afterward.

Try the cardboard challenge

If the weather isn’t very cooperative where you live, this is an easy social that you can hold indoors in a gym or hall. The cardboard challenge is pretty simple: all you need is cardboard, scissors, markers, and packing tape. Families work in groups to make the most unusual or unique item out of their cardboard.

If you announce the event ahead of time, you can allow parents to bring items from home to use with their cardboard, whether that be paint, wheels, aluminum foil, or anything they can imagine. Be sure to specify that no one may bring anything dangerous. You might also ban anything that costs more than $10 just to keep things fair.

Make returning to school fun this year while also providing a way for parents to get to know one another and meet the teachers. There’s no reason to ever settle for a boring traditional PTA meeting ever again.



Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

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