Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Lights on After School

July 23, 2010 01:39 by Barbara Shelby

Updated January, 2014

The 15th annual Lights On Afterschool...OCTOBER 23, 2014


Lights On Afterschool celebrates nationwide to call attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America's children, families and communities. 
In America today, 1 in 4 youth -- 14.3 million children - are alone and unsupervised after school. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults. Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs.
Thousands of afterschool programs in communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool! Be a part of this effort each year to showcase the importance of afterschool programs and underscore the need for quality afterschool programs for all children.


When you register you receive planning tips and tools, free posters and more!  Join the Afterschool Alliance and afterschool programs across the country in rallying for afterschool programs.  More than 7,500 communities, and 1 million Americans celebrate Lights On Afterschool every year!

Go to the following page to learn how you can participate in Lights On Afterschool. Visiting will give you all the  INFORMATION & DOWNLOADS needed for a successful "Lights on Afterschool" event!


  • Creating an email invite; sample provided
  • How to use or e-invite service
  • Graphics for invitations
  • Sample print invitations from past events


  • Ten Steps
  • Media Timeline
  • Save the Date
  • Media Alert
  • News Release


  • Tips for Getting Sponsors
  • Ways to Give Sponsors Exposure at Your Event
  • Sample Letter to Potential Sponsors


  • Light Bulb Art
  • Graphics & Logos
  • Newsletter Article
  • Lights On Buttons & Other Items
  • Poster
  • Radio Announcer Copy
  • Web Banners
  • Afterschool Fact Sheet
  • Lights On! Fact Sheet


  • Email & Print Invitations
  • Save the Date
  • Media Alert
  • News Release
  • Policy-Maker Invitation
  • Policy-Maker Proclamation
  • Other Proclamation

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The WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN of Lights On Afterschool...


...Educators and school personnel
...Parents, grandparents and extended family business and community leaders and Policy makers
...Youth organizations: sports teams, school bands, academic and service clubs, volunteers, etc.
...Local celebrities: TV news anchor, radio host, athletes
the community!



  • Student-created and led activities like raps, skits, dance, music and poetry
  • Sell items to raise funds for your program (See Buttons and Bracelets page available for order at 
  • Student demonstrations of afterschool activities, for example yoga, basketball, karate, mural painting, chess, debate
  • Ask attendees to show their support for afterschool by signing on to Afterschool for All: Project 2010 (see instructions at Project 2010)
  • Contests and competitions (kids versus adults or kids versus kids)
  • Short dance and music performances
  • Special guest speakers: parents, local elected officials, the superintendent, mayor, a member of Congress, local celebrities, etc.
  • Presentations by youth about their afterschool experience
  • A snack or pizza dinner
  • Light bulb art decoration by event guests



  • Pick a time that best suits your event goals and plans, such as:
  • During your regular afterschool program hours
  • Evening hours when parents can participate
  • An early afternoon gathering at a museum, city hall, outdoor square or other public place
  • A breakfast or lunch reception that elected officials and business leaders can attend



  • Your afterschool program facility, indoors or outdoors
  • City Hall
  • Public library, park or recreation center
  • Museum
  • Places of worship
  • School gymnasium or auditorium
  • Shopping mall or local JCPenney store


TIP: After reading some of the below ideas--and you would still like some other suggestions--- visit the "Connecting to Families" Social Events Category. There are also directions for making a Light Bulb Piñata in the Paper Maché category.


IDEAS taken from past Events:
The following is a SAMPLE of ideas from around the country for Lights on Afterschool. As you will read—ANYTHING works! Visit the website mentioned above for more than 100 suggestions.

♦ Birmingham, Alabama: A “Lights On Afterschool” celebration was held at Avondale Elementary and Glen Iris Elementary from 3:30-6:00 PM. Events at the different locations showcased WELLNESS PROGRAMS--- offered free glucose and blood pressure testing, and demonstrated physical education activities that involved students and parents. City Council members and School Board members, program participants, families, school staff, and community members attended.


Birmingham, Alabama: Greystone YMCA Birmingham, Alabama: Afterschool instructors worked with students to PAINT A MURAL.


Anchorage, Alaska: 21st Century Community Learning Center at Wonder Park Elementary hosted a Lights On Afterschool Carnival with a LITERACY THEME. Program participants also enjoyed ACADEMIC BINGO and BOOK GIVE-AWAYS.


 Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska: The Base Commander spoke to youth and parents about the importance of afterschool activities. Afterward, the children READ POEMS, SANG SONGS and DANCED for participants. A TASTING PARTY was also held for parents.


Fort Huachuca, Arizona: the School-Age Services program at Fort Huachuca held a SPAGHETTI Dinner for families. The event featured FACE PAINTING, GAK MAKING, a COMPUTER LAB, PAPER BAG PUPPETS, HAIR SPRAYING, a SMOKE HOUSE from the Fire Department, Army Unit EXHIBITS, POPCORN, a COOKING ACTIVITY AND MORE.


Los Angeles, California: The Boys & Girls Clubs of East Los Angeles in collaboration with Rapid Advancement Youth Services, and the City of Montebello featured a student TALENT SHOWCASE, ARTS & CRAFTS, GAMES, PRIZES, EXHIBITS on youth education, employment, and health and safety.


Santa Clara, California: Millikin YMCA, hosted an OPEN HOUSE. There was a KIDS VERSUS PARENTS FLAG FOOTBALL MATCH and LIGHT BULB DECORATING. Organizers provided a HEALTHY SNACK.


San Francisco, California: Savannah Smith, Jump Prep hosted a MOVIE NIGHT for Lights On Afterschool at Rosa Parks Elementary School-- from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Students, parents and guests WORE PAJAMAS, ATE POPCORN & PIZZA, and WATCHED "E.T.” The school principal greeted guests and community leaders as they entered; a representative from the school superintendent’s office also attended. More than 100 children and parents attended.


Blackfoot, Idaho: The program participants at Snake River Community Center will celebrate Lights On Afterschool by MAKING A QUILT with light bulb designs. Organizers will later DONATE THE QUILT to charity. The event will also include A HAND MADE PINATA.


Buffalo Grove, Illinois: The Champions School Partnership hosted an event that included a VISIT TO LOCAL LIBRARY, STORY TIME AND BOOK MAKING. The children created their own books to take home and share with their families.


Afton, Iowa: East Union and Murray Afterschool Programs - celebrated from 6:00-8:00 PM, with a family PANCAKE SUPPER. The event had a NIGHT-TIME THEME and students DRESSED IN PAJAMAS. Partnering organizations put up BOOTHS with a variety of family-oriented activities that FOCUS ON NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, STARGAZING and other nighttime topics. The event also included a FIRE SAFETY DISPLAY from the fire department, STORY TIME with the principal, and DOOR PRIZES. It was open to the community, with approximately 200 people in attendance.


Louisville: Berrytown Family YMCA, from 4:30-6:00 PM with an OPEN HOUSE. Lights On Afterschool light bulbs DECORATED the facility, and the event included a SHOWCASE OF STUDENT WORK. The youth served as Ambassadors for the evening, giving tours of the afterschool facility and speaking on the importance of afterschool programs. Organizers provided REFRESHMENTS.


Monroe, North Carolina: Benton Heights Elementary School hosted a community OPEN HOUSE for Lights On Afterschool. CHILDREN PERFORMED SONG “Don’t Stop Never Give Up.” Students, family, staff, and community members were invited.


Portland, Oregon: Schools Uniting Neighborhoods hosted “Pumpkin Lights On” in the gym at Shaver Elementary School for Lights On Afterschoolfrom 6:00-8:00 PM. Activities included PUMPKIN DECORATING, GOURD BOWLING, a CAKE WALK, FACE PAINTING, and GLASS BLOWING. Organizers held a BAKE SALE with proceeds going to the Parent Association. The event was open to program participants, families and staff. More than 300 people attended.


Pawtucket, Rhode Island: In honor of Lights On Afterschool, Kids Club hosted an OPEN HOUSE & POTLUCK DINNER--- with parents, school administrators, and town council members.


Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota: The Ellsworth School Age Program provided an OPEN HOUSE WITH REFRESHMENTS made by the children. Parents and children participated in VOLLEYBALL GAMES, RELAY RACE, AND CRAFTS. Children organized TWO PROJECTS TO TAKE TO Veteran's HOSPITAL the following week.


South Londonderry, Vermont: The Collaborative held a Harvest Festival for Lights On Afterschool. The event featured a CHILI AND APPLE PIE -MAKING CONTEST, SCARECROW MAKING, PUMPKIN DECORATING, DANCING, MUSIC, AND GAMES. Organizers read a letter from Senator Bernie Sanders. The event was open to the community and more than 230 people attended.

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