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Lights On Afterschool Snacks
OCT
19
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Easy, last-minute ideas for an amazing Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is just seven days away! While many programs are wrapping up their plans, some will only start planning this week. Luckily, we’ve got something for everyone over at our Last-Minute Ideas page. Use these ideas as the foundation of your event, or add an extra dimension to your celebration with another fun activity.

Looking for a few more easy ways to celebrate? We’ve got you covered:

  • Celebrate health and wellness by planning a make-your-own-pizza, -snack, or -taco night, with fresh and flavorful fixings that kids can mix and match to make their own meals. Polish it off by offering blank recipe cards so kids can write down their favorite combinations, decorate the cards, and take them home.
  • Bring art to your event with easy crafts and activities: Pinterest is full of instructions for tealight holders, galaxy and tornado jars, yarn pumpkins, dreamcatchers, and more.
  • Connect with your local library and ask if a librarian or staff member can come down to your event for a library card sign-up station. Then, host a read-aloud and encourage students to practice their peer-to-peer reading skills. Staple together some blank booklets so kids can write their own stories!
  • Plan a sidewalk parade around the block, showcasing student art, signs, and representations of all the activities you do in afterschool. Take pictures and tweet @ your reps with a message about why they should keep the #LightsOnAfterschool!
  • Take students on a nature walk or a field trip to explore the changing seasons. Encourage students to observe their surroundings and record their observations by taking notes and sketching points of interest. (Interested in more outdoor STEM fun? Check out the PLUM LANDING Explore Outdoors toolkit!)
  • Host a fall-friendly line or square dance party to get kids and parents moving at your event.

We’ve also got an activity so you can celebrate afterschool anywhere, with anyone: the “My Light’s On Afterschool” challenge! To join the challenge, just recreate our Lights On logo, snap a photo, and share it on social media with a message of support for #LightsOnAfterschool and a challenge to your friends and followers to participate. Head over to the Facebook event page for full details — and be sure to use our Facebook frame!

OCT
12
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Make the most of media at your Lights On Afterschool event

By Faith Savaiano

With Lights On Afterschool only two weeks away, many programs and coordinators are busy finalizing the creative and fun celebrations that will take place across the country. But while many afterschool providers are experts at planning engaging activities for large groups, all Lights On Afterschool events can stand to benefit from something that they might be less comfortable with: engaging the media. While the task of contacting media and news outlets sounds daunting, taking the time to publicize your Lights On event can be easy and contribute to an even more successful event.

Why should I reach out to my local media outlets?

One benefit of publicizing your Lights On event is obvious: more people will hear about it! Parents, educators, and relevant community figures that consume local media sources will be made aware of your event, which in turn will help drive buzz and boost attendance.

Furthermore, media coverage bolsters the reputation of your event; creating the precedent of a well-documented promotional push will help with event-planning in years to come as you try to attract more community partners and attention. Lights On Afterschool is a great time to build relationships with influential voices in the community; local media definitely count!  The connections you make this season can be pivotal players in future initiatives down the line.

OCT
5
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Celebrate afterschool STEM during Lights On

By Charlotte Steinecke

Whether it’s cooking up polymer-based jiggly jelly, writing computer code, or exploring urban ecology, we know that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning thrives in afterschool! Afterschool STEM learning presents an incredible opportunity to help students learn, expose them to new ideas and concepts, and involve them in fun experiments and activities. Moreover, afterschool offers a chance to engage students from populations underrepresented in the STEM fields with material they may not otherwise have opportunities to explore.

With so many opportunities for creativity and customization and so many benefits to offer, how could we not include afterschool STEM as one of this year’s Lights On Afterschool themes?

Programs across the country are gearing up with great ideas for 2017! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Movie night: Show a science fiction or comedy movie and coordinate experiments related to the theme of the film. Science Matters of Fort Collins, Colo. plans to show Flubber at their local movie theater and host table experiments after the show.
  • Fall field trip: Take your students to a local farm to learn about the effect of changing seasons. Cougar Club After School in Centerview, Mon. will be visiting a local farm to learn about the life cycle of pumpkins and press apples into cider.
  • Museum visit: Visit your science center or science museum for a hands-on learning experience. Kids Commons in Columbus, Ind. will offer free admission to their children’s museum for families with kids in pre-K through 6th grade, with STEAM activities throughout the museum.
  • Math crafts: Have kids use model kits or cardstock to create and decorate geometrical solids and shapes. Students at the YMCA of Hobart, Ind. will make and decorate dodecahedrons, icosahedrons, and rhombicuboctahedrons with pictures depicting what they like about afterschool, followed by a family game night.
  • Build and tinker: Illustrate a lesson with a makerspace event. Students at High Desert Leapin’ Lizards in Ridgecrest, Calif. will spend the month of October learning about the laws of motion and building cars from recycled materials, with a special celebration at the end of the month so parents join the fun.

Are you celebrating STEM at your Lights On Afterschool event? Share your plan on Twitter using #LightsOnAfterschool!

You can find more ideas and inspiration from past years by searching for “STEM” in the Events Ideas & Activities database.

SEP
28
2017

LIGHTS ON
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America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy schools.

America After 3 PM tells us that 73 percent of families report that their child’s afterschool program is located in a public school building. That is some serious overlap! As afterschool programs across the country prepare to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, this is the perfect time for school and afterschool to collaborate.

 

SEP
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Library partnerships help keep the Lights On Afterschool

By Leah Silverberg

All across America, afterschool programs love their libraries! According to a 2017 study of more than 350 afterschool programs, nearly three-quarters reported that they were working with their local public library in diverse ways, from literacy initiatives to book lending programs and STEM activities. Those informal learning relationships deserve to be featured, and that’s why one of the major themes of this year’s Lights On Afterschool is library partnerships!

As you write your invitations, be sure to invite staff from your local library to participate in your Lights On Afterschool event. Here are a few possibilities for featuring the library in your celebration:

  • Reach out and ask the library if you can host your celebration there; libraries often serve as valuable community meeting places
  • Encourage librarians to promote and attend your event
  • Invite library staff to read to your students or work at an in-event library card sign-up booth as part of your event

If you’re not already in partnership with a library, it can be difficult to imagine the full spectrum of benefits that close collaboration can produce. But just as afterschool isn’t exclusively limited to child care, libraries aren’t just places for books and study! One of our Lights On Afterschool partners, STAR_Net, is working to connect science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities with local public libraries. The results are impressive!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2fdpGHv
learn more about: STEM Lights On Afterschool
SEP
14
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Sharing your story during Lights On Afterschool

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is one of the best and brightest moments in the afterschool year, which makes it the perfect time to share the amazing work you’re doing in your program every day! As you plan your Lights On event, it’s a good idea to plan how you’re going to share the news of the event before, during, and after the celebration. Taking the time to figure out how you want to use your event to tell the story of afterschool involves finding your narrative and connecting to your audience — and we have some tips to help.

What does it mean to tell the story of afterschool?  For the Afterschool Alliance, it means that we work every day to:

  • share the message that “Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families,” and
  • expand those opportunities to more kids across the nation.

With that as our cornerstone, we can begin to develop stories, share images, and produce videos that prove the positive impact that afterschool programs have on our kids — and make the case for more investment in the programs and practitioners that provide these benefits.

Think about the story that you want to tell during this Lights On Afterschool. Pick something specific to your program that you can highlight in your messaging and find ways to showcase it in your event!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2h3SXbW
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
SEP
7
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Take a tour of our Lights On Afterschool resources

By Faith Savaiano

Lights On Afterschool is just seven weeks away, and everyone seems busy and bristling with questions! Are you looking for event ideas? Not sure how to invite your elected officials to your celebration? Need a few tips on what to do after October 26?

Well, we’re here to help! Whether this is your first Lights On Afterschool or you’ve been coordinating celebrations since 2000, we’ve got resources to make this year’s celebration your biggest and best yet.

Need to make the case for a Lights On Afterschool event?

Especially for new programs or programs that haven’t participated in Lights On Afterschool before, it can be difficult to explain to parents, media, and community members just what Lights On Afterschool is. If you need top-level points about why Lights on Afterschool is important and the value that hosting an event brings to your community and program, head over to the “Event Planning” overview.

This year, Lights On Afterschool will be an important tool for afterschool advocates when fighting to maintain funding. To learn about the policy and funding challenge afterschool is facing this year and the crucial role your event will play, check out our webinar, “Fight Budget Cuts using Lights On Afterschool.

share this link: http://bit.ly/2wM8Lnv
learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
AUG
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
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How to bring advocacy to your Lights On Afterschool event

By Erik Peterson

With many of the nation’s students back in school and afterschool, it is time to start thinking about planning a Light On Afterschool event for the month of October. Lights On Afterschool is an excellent opportunity to show policymakers and elected officials, as well as parents and community members, what takes place in your program when the lights are on – and conversely what learning opportunities students miss out on in communities where the lights are off afterschool.

Here are a few ways to get the word out in support of afterschool programs at your Lights On Afterschool event: