Normally at this time of year we'd be giving you lots of inspiring ideas for events to hold during the spring term. From Valentine's discos and Mother's Day pamper evenings to Easter bonnet parades and pancake-day breakfasts, the season lends itself perfectly to fun-packed events for all the family. Sadly, things are different this year, but with a bit of clever thinking and some careful planning, some things can still go ahead.
We've looked at some of the key celebrations and occasions that take place during the spring term, and thought about how you can celebrate them in a different way.
Deliver a prepared meal for two to people's homes. Enlist the help of a local catering company (or, even better, a parent with catering experience and a large kitchen) to batch-cook the meals (curries or casseroles work best) the day before, then bag them up with cooking instructions, a handwritten note, chocolates and a small posy of flowers. Offer one meat and one vegetarian option and take orders and payment online two weeks before. Use a team of PTA volunteers to deliver the meals on the day.
If a whole meal is too ambitious, you could sell homemade Valentine's cookies or cupcakes. Ask a local cakemaker (or keen amateur baker) to provide them, then deliver them to homes in boxes of four.
As Valentine's Day falls at the beginning of half-term for most schools, set up a Valentine's-themed treasure hunt to be completed by families or small groups of friends at any time during the week. Participants pay an entry fee online, and are then emailed a starting point and a set of numbered clues. Each clue leads to laminated sheet of paper hidden along the route. These could be letters that together spell out a Valentine-themed word, lines from a romantic poem, or perhaps the word 'love' written in different languages. Teams fill in an answer sheet and completed sheets are put into a draw to win a prize. Decide whether to hold your treasure hunt on foot or by car, and allow around two hours to complete the course. Make sure your laminated signs are reasonably easy to spot but not obstructing any road signs or other notices, and include your PTA logo and contact details on each one. Ask teams to photograph themselves en route, then put these images together in a treasure hunt video, to be shared online after the event (ask permission before doing this).
Sponsored flip challenge
An individual event that can be completed during half-term. Challenge pupils to see how many times they can flip a pancake in one minute. Ask them to get sponsorship (an amount per flip) in advance, then collect and submit their sponsorship money online, along with a video of their challenge taking place. As an additional challenge, run a competition for flipping a pancake in the most unusual place. Participants pay a small entry fee and submit their entry via email.
World Book Day
Ask teachers to create a list of spellings for each year group. Let children practise them at home, then hold spelling tests in class. Ask children to get sponsorship from friends and family in advance, eg 10p per correct word, then collect sponsorship online afterwards.
Children are sponsored to read a set number of books (or pages of a book) over the Easter holidays or during the second half of the spring term. As an extra incentive, offer a prize for the child photographed reading a book in the most unusual place.
Breakfast in bed
Get children (with help from dads/other carers) to place an order for a special breakfast delivery on Mother's Day morning. They could even submit a poem or their own message to be delivered with the breakfast. Take orders (and payment) online two weeks in advance then buy items in bulk. Put together pretty paper bags containing a wrapped pastry, jam, juice or smoothie, tea bag, coffee sachet, and fruit salad or yoghurt, along with a small posy of flowers. Enlist a team of PTA helpers to deliver to doorsteps.
With PTA helpers unable to go into schools, this always-popular shopping event will have to be done differently this year. Options include emailing images of the gifts available to school for each teacher to share with their class bubble, or laminating printed sheets of photographs that can be wiped down between uses. Or you could deliver one of each gift to school and leave them on a table in the entrance hall for children to look at. Ask parents to pay online in advance, then children choose their gift via a class order form. The gifts are then wrapped, labelled, delivered to school and placed in quarantine before being handed out in class. Limit the number of gifts to choose from (we suggest between five and eight) to make things easier for all involved!
April Fool's Day
For many, April 1 falls on the last day of term, so it's the perfect time to let pupils be a bit silly. You could either invite them to wear fancy dress, or have a silly hairstyle, for a donation of £1. Or, for a break-the-rules day, make a list of 'rules' that they can break on that day only, for a 'fine' of 50p per rule. Rules could be things such as 'you must not have chocolate in your lunch box' or 'you must not have temporary tattoos at school'. Ask class teachers to collect cash payments from children, or get parents to pay online in advance.
Print pictures of Easter bunnies with different names and place them around your local village or town. Ask shops and local businesses if you can put one in their window. Charge children £2 to enter and send them a list of locations, asking them to fill in the bunnies' names over the Easter holidays. Place completed forms in a draw for an Easter egg prize (ideally donated by a local supermarket).
Email parents an outline of an Easter egg for children to decorate. Ask for completed pictures to be emailed back at the end of the Easter holidays, and pick a winner from each key stage. Charge £1 per entry and award donated Easter eggs as prizes. Older children may prefer to make their own painting or collage.
Give up chocolate
Challenge children - and their families - to give up chocolate and sweets for the whole of Lent and get sponsorship from friends and family.