1. The Lightbulb Challenge! We're hosting a social media challenge to recreate our Lights On logo! Just strike the pose, snap a photo, and post it on social media with a message of support for afterschool and the handle of the person you're challenging to participate. Be sure to tag #LightbulbChallenge and #LightsOnAfterschool so we can share your post!
3. Chow down on healthy food. Lights On Afterschool provides a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and healthy eating while they enjoy a meal. Visit our Health & Well-Being theme page for more information on keeping kids nourished—at a Lights On Afterschool event or all year round.
4. Show off your entrepreneurial chops. For a sizzling activity that will get students and families on their feet, host a pitch contest where students identify a problem, imagine a solution as a business opportunity, structure their pitch, and deliver it to a panel of judges. Kids learn creativity, problem-solving, and public speaking all in one fun, exciting activity.
5. 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.
6. Light up a landmark. Request a special Lights On Afterschool lighting of a statue, fountain, or park in your community; host a lantern lighting where students design, decorate, and release lanterns into the evening sky; or grab a projector and a lightbulb design and light up the side of your own building! (Be sure to share pictures on social media at #LightsOnAfterschool and #LightUpALandmark!)
7. Sign the afterschool petition. Use Lights On season as an opportunity to tell policymakers that afterschool programs play an essential role in your community. To collect signatures, either print out the petition or direct attendees to our website.
8. Get creative with lightbulbs. Every year, thousands of our printable lightbulbs are decorated nationwide. These unique creations can be strung in hallways and tacked to bulletin boards to keep the Lights On in the coming weeks or mailed directly to your local Congressional district office as a bright reminder to your representative that afterschool matters!
9. Wow them with STEM. There are many ways to incorporate STEM learning into your Lights On event. The 4-H educators' Power Protectors STEM Challenge kit is one excellent option. This comprehensive kit consists of three engaging activities that teach kids how to address real-world issues and explore careers in energy. You should also consider showcasing NASA's Surprisingly STEM video series. This monthly series highlights exciting and unexpected careers at NASA, from wind tunnel engineers to dive specialists.
10. Build something cool. Our friends at DIY have many project ideas and video tutorials to help you and your Lights On Afterschool attendees create something fun and unique together. Whether it's a rubber band-powered machine or a cardboard contraption, let us know what you create by sharing the project on the DIY platform or by tagging us on social media using the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag.
11. Crack open some books. There are endless ways to promote reading and literacy at your Lights On Afterschool event. Some book-themed event ideas include reading parties or literacy celebrations.
12. Go green. No matter the theme of your Lights On Afterschool event, you can promote sustainable and environmentally friendly practices by going paperless, recycling materials, or mapping your carbon footprint.
13. Shine a spotlight on youth. Youth are at the center of Lights On Afterschool, so don't forget to involve them in your plans. Engage young people in your Lights On Afterschool event by assigning them leadership roles or allocating time for them to publicly share their thoughts on afterschool.
14. Get moving! You can teach your event participants the importance of physical exercise by hosting a relay race or dance party or issuing a physical activity challenge, where everyone logs a certain amount of physical activity over the course of the week.
15. Get inspired. If you're still searching for the perfect idea for your Lights On Afterschool event, investigate what others are doing this year or what successful events have done in the past. Remember, Lights On Afterschool events do not need to be huge or expensive to be effective, so feel free to celebrate in a way that best fits your community. There are endless ways to celebrate afterschool!
16. Get active on social media. Tell the world why you're keeping the Lights On Afterschool or why you love your afterschool staff! We've provided the templates in our social media toolkit; all you need to do is customize and post. Lastly, follow the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag to see how other afterschool programs are celebrating.
Even if you're not hosting an event of your own, you can still join one million people to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Find an event to attend in your community, ask Members of Congress to help keep the Lights On Afterschool, or join the Lights On Afterschool Lightbulb Challenge!