1. Sign the petition. Take the opportunity to tell policy makers that afterschool programs play an essential role in your community by collecting signatures for the afterschool petition. To collect signatures, either print out the petition or direct attendees to our website. See our Celebrate Youth Voices event idea page to learn more.
2. Light bulb art. Every year, tens of thousands of our printable light bulbs are decorated across the country. Once finished, they can be strung in hallways and tacked to bulletin boards to keep the Lights On in the weeks to come. You can also mail them directly to your local Congressional district office as a bright reminder to your representative that afterschool matters.
3. STEM activities. Design Squad, a show from PBS Kids, has a number of simple STEM activities available for educators to teach kids about engineering design. Also see our Celebrate Afterschool STEM event idea page to see how you can celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day at your Lights On Afterschool event.
4. Get moving. Each fall, Nickelodeon goes completely dark to encourage kids and families to engage in physical activity for the Worldwide Day of Play. It’s easy to celebrate the Worldwide Day of Play at your Lights On event—host a dance party, play kickball, set up an obstacle course, or do anything that gets kids moving! See our Celebrate Health & Wellness event idea page to learn more.
5. Letters to the Next President. With the national election just around the corner, now is a great time to help kids express themselves while learning about the electoral process. Letters to the Next President is a national platform for kids share their views on what our country needs through letters, photos, videos and more. Visit our Celebrate Youth Voices page to learn more.
6. Healthy snacks. Lights On Afterschool provides a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and healthy eating while they enjoy a meal. Make sure your menu complies with the USDA meal patterns, and encourage attendees to take the No Kid Hungry pledge. Visit or Celebrate Health & Wellness event idea page for more information on keeping kids nourished—at a Lights On Afterschool event or all year round.
7. Try coding. If your program has access to computers or tablets, Code.org offers a number of free online games for kids to start learning the basics of coding at a Lights On event. Also see our Celebrate Afterschool STEM event ideas page.
8. Teach creativity. The Creativity Catapult offers a number of expert-designed activities to boost creativity in children—from simple drawing exercises to more elaborate construction projects.
9. Go green. Use your Lights On Afterschool event to teach your kids and community about sustainability. Go paperless, host an interactive recycling demonstration, or check out the number of environmental education resources for educators collected by the Afterschool Alliance. Visit our Celebrate Afterschool STEM event idea page to learn more.
10. Get inspired. Still not sure how to celebrate Lights On Afterschool this year? Visit our new Event Ideas & Activities database, where you can filter event ideas by category, planning time required and level of difficulty.