Teachers Share Favorite Open House/ Parent Night Ideas

Updated September 4, 20002

I usually have the parents and their student do a scavenger search showing off specific things in the room, fish tank, cubbies, their seat....However, I read on here that one teacher has parents help their student fill in a response to graphs.... eye color, boy/girl, favorite color,... so this year I thought I would try some of those and add them to my regular stuff. Can be done on pocket charts or I will probably use chart paper with sticky notes. Good Luck! Posted by EM on 6/28/02

I have my students draw self portraits. We give each one a number,and the name is written on the back. We put them on a wall or bulletin board, and when the parents come they "take a quiz" and try to guess their child's portrait. It is fun and amazing how many can pick out their child's portrait.Hope this helps.Chris

We have a hunt too for the students and parents, but we do it with the whole school, not just limit it to the classroom. Some items we use are things like find a bandaid in the nurses office, find a straw in the kitchen, find a surprise in the gym, etc. I also read a story to the kids. I used to read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, but I found one called The Night Before Kindergarten which is perfect since we do our parent night the night before school starts. The kids bring all their supplies and put them away that evening so they don't have to worry about it the next day. It is a lot of fun! Elle

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I have our estimating jar out by the sign-in table. I ask the parents to estimate how many Hershey's kisses there are in the jar. I tell them how the next day I will be teaching the children what estimation is and explain the activity. The next day with the kids, I take each of the parents estimates and put a sticky next to the number they guessed on our hundreds chart. Then the kids and I count the Kisses and find out which parent or parents guessed correctly. The child whose parent was right shares one Kiss with each student and then takes the leftover home to share with their family. The parents really like this and the kids really get into it because their parents were the participants. After this I begin to send the plastic Jar home with a letter to have them fill the jar with small goodies (plastic spoons, candy, little erasers, plastic rings, etc). A different child takes the jar home each week. We do estimation jar every week. We begin by counting the objects at first, and as they year pogresses when we count we put the objects in sets of 10, 5. Talk about more, less, The learning is endless Posted by flteach on 6/28/02

A few ideas from a ring on proteacher found at

You might have the students write a letter describing their first few weeks of school for the parents to read. Also, provide paper on the student desks for the parents to write a note to their child about Open House ti be read the next morning. You could have sign up sheets for parents interested in helping with planning parties or special projects. Another idea is to
have a textbook out on the desk with a short, simple assignment similar to what their child might be doing this year, and the parents have to complete it. You could have a tape recorder set up for each parent to record a message for their child. Wendy

This will be my third year teaching third grade and back to school night always gives me the jitters. I have my students (using a template) draw their head with hair, eyes, a smile, etc. They draw themselves. Beneath the portrait the students ask their parents questions about them. For example What's my favorite food? What holiday do I like the best? Who is my best friend? The parents enjoy looking at their childs portrait and answering questions about them. I walk around and ask questions. Before that I read off my policies and procedures. Last year I video taped my class during lunch, library, computer, gym and showed it with backroung music about children, several parents got teary eyed. Good Luck

Use the overhead projector to draw a silouette of each child's profile. They'll take magazines to cut out pictures or words that represent themselves, and paste them inside their silouette (no names). I'll have those propped up (taped) on each seat and the parents have to guess to find their child's desk (I'll have the nameplate covered). I'll also have their journal on the desk (turned over, so no name is showing)with an entry that the parent has to answer (What is the greatest thing about being a parent? What is the hardest thing about being a parent?). The child will have already written a similar entry that says about being a child. I'll have a table at the doorway with a list for parents to sign up to volunteer throughout the year. I'll also have their first newsletter to take home with them - that has my website address and general information. When the parent first shows up at my door, I'll hand them a paper that shows them different things to see/do in the classroom, to make sure they don't miss anything (find the child's desk, get a newsletter, read/write in the journal, visit the volunteer desk if they're interested, check out the bulletin boards, centers, cubbies, and poet-tree). I may or maynot, on that same volunteer table, have some cookies, juice, and decaf. coffee (in a carafe) I'll also have some mints attached to a thank-you card for them to take as they're leaving (It says, "Thanks for coming to our Openhouse - it "mint" a lot to us!) I think I covered everything - sorry that's so long, but I wanted to give you some ideas to throw around! - Susan/5th/MS

Posted by Melissat on 8/01/02

One thing I do with first grade (and is easily done with
second) is to make a puzzle for the parents to put together.
Across the top of the paper in large letters I put WELCOME
(which acts as a guideline when the parents are putting them
together). There are lines drawn on the paper, and the
children draw a picture or write a message, disregarding the
lines as they draw/write. Then they cut on those lines and
place the pieces in an envelope. Fun and easy!

Posted by jessica/3/MO on 8/01/02

You can have the students write a note to their parents about
school or whatever and then have the parents write their kids
back. Just a thought.


Posted by Marzee on 8/01/02

I am a first grade teacher too. I have for my open house a
Powerpoint slide show that I use to talk about first grade. I
leave a heart on the child's desk for the parent to write a note
on. And I have a parent handbook that has all of my procedures
for the year listed. If the open house is a few days or a week
after school is started I share a slide show of the children in
class. I am not sure if I can do that this year since our parent
meeting is the night of the first day of school. To tie the
evening together, I have a little cookie gift I give the parents
as well. I have posted this before but thought I'd share it
again. I make slice and bake sugar cookies and wrap two in a
baggie with curling ribbon attached to it. I then attach this
little poem. It is always a big hit.

A Message for you!

As sugar and flour come together to make
A wonderful cookie creation that you bake,
Parents and teachers join as one
To create an educated daughter or son.

It takes lots of love, caring and understanding
But an individual will emerge who is special notwithstanding.
We will work together to help each child bloom
So they can grow and prosper as they learn in this room.

So I share this little confection with you as I say
I am committed to helping your child grow each and every day.
Yes, the road is long, but the journey's begun
As we strive to educate your daughter or your son.

Marzee Woodward, 1997

I always put out every text book and workbook that we will
use during the year. I let the parents browse through them
and make sure they know where the child should be reading now
and will (hopefully) be at the end of the year by showing
them these books.I try to make this a welcoming time and let
the parents know that they can come for lunch, assist in the
room, etc.

Last year we did a powerpoint program with the students and
had it running on our classroom computers. It took many
hours, however, to create but showed the children taking part
in different classroom activities (P.E., music, reading,
math, etc.)

Avoid discussing individual students like the plague ! Tell
them that you are just getting to know their child and that
you would love to schedule an appt. for a conference. If you
give specific info on a child, another parent might hear.
Then you will be guilty of a breach of confidentiality.

We call ours Back to School night, but I'm assuming this is
the same thing. In first I always told the parents was what
the expectations were for their child when they left my
class, based on the standards set by our district. I would
show them a page of a book on the overhead based on what
level they should be entering 1st grade at (our district
that's a 4) and then showed them the same of a book at the
level they MUST be reading at to leave 1st grade (again in
our district a level 14). The parents really need to know
what is expected of their kiddos because first grade is much
different than kindergarten. I go over the curriculum in
general and have a handbook that I pass out called the "ABC's
of Second Grade" that has the things I need them to know
alphabetized, in case they forget anything that I may have
said. Good luck! Karen in CA

It is also nice to make up a communication book for each child. (Folder with prongs) May include your day's agenda, special schedule (so they know when to have tennis shoes on their children for PE), a nice poem...

Most important, blank pages for communication. You MAY want to write a short note to each parent on the first page. ("I'm so excited to have Melissa in my class this year. She seems to be a lovely young lady!) During Open house, ask your parents to use this book rather than individual notes to communicate with you about anything. Whenever they have a question, thought or comment to share, they write it in the book. The book stays home unless it has an important message for you. It is much easier than a bunch of little notes, and actually makes a nice little keepsake for the parents to keep at the end of the year. Any note that comes in that you want to keep--just copy it! If you have a special basket for papaers/notes from home, just remind your students where to put it (and tell the parents so they can remind their children at home) when they come in. You'll know those folders need to be checked ASAP as they have a note from home.

Open House Ideas
1.Back to School Raffle-When a parent walks into my classroom, I hand them a ticket to write their child’s name. At the end of the night I raffle the prize off. I usually have the “Prize” on my desk during the school day. I tell the students if your parents come to Open House they can win this raffle for you! They get very excited!!

Raffle:I get a white plastic box (stamp it with large handprints) and fill it with some Candy (wrap it with a labels that says, Welcome to our Class! & fun school supplies. (glitter pens etc) I wrap it in clear cellophane and put a couple of balloons on top. Who ever wins it, leaves my room with this great noticeable prize and tours the rest of the school with it! Parents from all grades ask about it!
http://www.sacredheartschoolsuffern.com/Openhouse.html - Click here to see the tickets.

2.I put a colored sheet of paper faced down on the desk.(I even put a small piece of tape, so parenst can't peek) A pencil is placed on the side of the desk. Sometime during my speech, I ask the parentsto fill out some information. I believe there are three questions. One is What do you believe is important for me to know about your child to help him or her succeed? I have a set of Questions. Parents usually write soooo much. They are happy to see that your really want to get to know their child on a personal level. If anyone wants this sheet, just email me and I’ll send it.

3. This year since I have second grade, I am going to trace the kids bodies on white paper and let the kids design to look like them. I'll have it sitting in their desk.(It's a paper version of them!) I have a great picture of someone who did this. It's adorable!! Again, email me if you want it!

I usually make my students a magnet for their refrigerator. I use the ellison to cut out foam apples and write their name on it. I attach it to a spring clothespin and add a magenet to the back. I usually clip their work to the clothespin and lay it on their desk so their parents see what they've been doing. They're a hit every year. Lisa

I do an estimation jar for open house night. I fill a glass jar that has been decorated with candy and have each family make an estimate of how many pieces of candy are in the jar. The closest estimate wins the jar. I send it home with the student the next day. It's always a big hit. This year I am going to put a baggie with 2 cookies in it on the desk for the parents with the following poem from the first grade mailring I'm on:
As sugar and flour come together to make
A wonderful cookie creation that you bake,
Parents and teachers join as one
To create and educated daughter or son.

It takes lots of love, caring and understanding
But an individual will emerge who is special notwithstanding.
We will work together to help each child bloom
So they can grow and prosper as they learn in this room.

So I share this little confection with you as I say
I am committed to helping your child grow each and every day.
Yes, the road is long, but the journey's begun
As we strive together to educate your daughter or your son.

In the past I have made magnets for the fridge. I also make a welcome mat for the floor and have all of the kids sign it. Have a great school year! Lisa


This only works well if your Open House is after school is in session. We \par take a large piece of oaktag and decorate it to look like a welcome mat. I cut out "Welcome" and then decorate it with fall leaves. Then the students \par sign their names all around the mat. It's just adorable and I love watching \par the parents gingerly step over the 'art'! We also keep it our for our Religious Education students who we share our classroom with on Wednesday nights- Barb/2/NE

This year, I used an idea I got, I think from this web site.
I made up a nursery rhyme scavenger hunt to put their
supplies away. I tried to pick interesting areas in the
room, like the computer table, science table, book area,
etc... It went so well!! Everyone was kept busy and not a
single parent had time to monopolize my time!

These are the nursery rhymes that I made up for open house. I
drew a simple map of my room and taped it to the top of my hunt.
This was just an extra way to help the parents find the correct
drop off locations.

1. Walk, walk, walk, as fast as you can. Leave your watercolor
paints on the gingerbread man. (I made one out of bulletin board

2. One, two, buckle my shoe. Leave your plain wooden pencils by
the spot marked (2).

3. Little Boy Blue put the cows in the stable. Then leave your
Kleenex on the computer table.

4. Jack-Be-Nimble you know the fable. Leave your wipes on the
Science table.

5. Jack and Jill went up the hill, or so that's what they say.
Please put your glue by the barn under the hay.

6. There was an old lady who moved to a sandal, put your
washable markers beside the candle. (I made one out of
construction paper).

7. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Put your crayons by the
mirror - don't let them fall.

8. Hickory, Dickory, Dock. Put your Zip Lock Bags under the

These items go directly into your locker: Book Bag, Resting rug,
Gym shoes, Paint Shirt and Second Change of Clothes.

BY Barbie/IL

open house poem

open to one & all come fill up an hour or two
always meet & shake hands w/ all the teachers in your grade
don't regret it they keep our kids filled w/ knowlege - diana munir

Last year someone on the list had a great poem to use for open house. It involved sweetarts and some other candies. I put it on the board, had the kids sign their names and then had a basket for parents to pick some candy out of. It was a hit! I am at a complete loss as to how it went and what candies were used. Does anyone remember how this went? Thanks! Alana

For all you give,

For all you do,

These sweet treats

Are just for you!

LifeSavers for your helpfulness!
Sweetarts because you understand us!
Hershey's Kisses for your hugs and kisses!
Butterfinger bars because you forgive our mistakes!
~Kris in AR


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Getting to Know Your Students - Parent Form MORE TO COME


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