A - Z of Event Ideas
Need some ideas for your Adult Learners' Festival event? Want to try growing a learning tree or get on your bike!? Have a look at our A - Z of Event Ideas and be inspired! Whatever you do to let us know what you are doing by registering your event here.
Ask about Learning
Advertise your local learning opportunities or provide drop in guidance sessions for members of the public. Why not promote the AONTAS Information Booklet - What Next?. Simply download a copy from www.aontas.com or call us to get some sent to you.
Invite an author to visit your local library, book club or organisation to give a reading or a Q&A session or even some tips on creative writing!
Autograph Bingo is a fun way to help both new acquaintances and old friends discover facts about each other. The goal of this game is to mingle and obtain the signatures of people who have the facts listed on their bingo card. Just as regular bingo rules, once a player successfully obtains a full row (5 in a row) on their Bingo sheet, whether obtained horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, he or she shouts "BINGO!" The Autograph Game is a great way to learn new things about people. Have fun! Click here for the game's instructions.
Bike to Work
Bike to Work use their industry experience and trade contacts to get you riding to work on a bike of your choice from your local preferred participating bicycle shop. Employees can choose from over 100 different brands of bikes.
Benefits to the Employee
- Huge savings on bikes and accessories
- Huge selection of brands
- Get fit
- Expert staff - here to help
- Delivery to your door
Benefits to the Employer
- Improve Your Company's Environmental Image
- Improving Staff Health, fitness and morale
- Reducing Parking and Congestion Problems
- Savings to be made for everyone!
- Scheme Set-Up and Promotion
Blow the Dust off Your Trumpet (courtesy of The National Concert Hall)
Rediscover the joy of making music! Why not invite people who had once played instruments, but then had to put them aside as life made other demands on their time, to take up those instruments again. From castanets to clarinets, guitars to glockenspiels, encourage players of all levels to come together during the Festival. Hold the event in a local library or school hall and blow the dust off your trumpet!
The initiative began in May 2009 as The National Concert Hall's contribution to the Bealtaine Festival celebrating creativity in older age. The National Concert Hall wanted to empower older people to rise to the artistic and physical challenges of playing their instruments, and to give them an opportunity to enjoy the social and creative buzz of playing in an ensemble.
Board Game Tournament
An event for everyone here with a Board Game Tournament. Pick a favourite board game such as Monopoly, Scrabble or Connect4 and then simply invite your learners, family, friends to make teams, sign up to play and see who are crowned the winners.
Brain Recall Tests
Study this table for up to three minutes. Then turn away from the screen and write down as many of the philosophers as you can on a piece of paper in a blank grid. One point per name and one bonus point for getting the name in the right position. Or use other words relevant to your work
Bring Your Own Utensil Dinner:
That's what you advertise it as . . . "Bring Your Own Utensil," and you don't tell them anything else. When you're advertising the event, give suggestions of utensils they can bring: wooden spoons, spatulas, serving forks, egg beaters . . . whatever you want.
Serve a spaghetti dinner for the event. The catch is... no silverware. Everyone has to use the utensil they brought with them. Take pictures with a digital camera (if you have the capability, show a slide presentation at the end of the night). Give prizes afterward for the following:
- Most Creative Utensil
- Most Functional Utensil
- Sloppiest Eater
- Neatest Eater
- Largest Portion Consumed
- Smallest Portion Consumed
This event works great for building up the fellowship of your group.
Bring a Friend
Hold an event where people can bring along a friend. Not only do they get to have a great day out with their mate but they will also get to experience your centre/classes/activities.
Get learners to bring in their old books and exchange them for new ones. This is a great way to get learners talking about books and to meet each other.
Exhibit artwork, stage a drama, screen a DVD or hold a presentation ceremony! Celebrate the achievements of your learners or organisation and invite potential learners' along to discover how adult learning can change lives for the better! You could host the event in collaboration with other organisations in your area such as the local library or arts centre?
Change.ie provides information on how small changes by each individual can have significant positive impacts on climate change. Change.ie encourages people to learn about how to calculate their carbon footprint, how to reduce their carbon emissions and make savings in energy-bills.
Charter a Local Learning Bus
Why not partner with a local bus company to collect potential learners and bring them to your
centre? You can provide the AONTAS What Next? Booklet on the Learning Bus and information about classes in your centre.
Encourage your local cinema do a preview or special screening for local adult learners. A film is a great way to start discussion among your participants.
Hold a coffee morning and get participants to bring a friend so that they can see what your centre/college offers. You could host a coffee morning for other providers or organisations in your area to get together so that people can see what is on offer in their local area.
Are you part of a craft group? - knitting, painting, printing, wood - turning - why not have an exhibition so that you can display all your hard work. If you're part of a craft group, why not get people in for a taster craft session, a cup of tea and a chat about what your group does.
Why not arrange a cultural trail and visit the local museums and galleries in your area. Have a look at Discover Ireland for a list of what is available to visit in your area. If you live in Dublin have a look at dublinculturetrail.ie for a ready made map of cultural trails. Have a look at our events section for more details.
Desk Workout, courtesy of The Irish Heart Foundation
Desk Work-Out is a FREE web based physical activity programme with a series of aerobic, stretching and strengthening activities to encourage movement and activity at the desk. As part of Learn for Work Day why not set aside 30 minutes for all staff to do a desk workout? For more information, please click here or visit www.irishheart.ie
The Digital Books section on Ask about Ireland encourages people to enter a virtual reading room by providing access to hundreds of digital books. Books can be searched by county or by subject.
Are you a distance learning provider? Why not host a free session so new adult learners can trial your courses.
Host a free webinar about your e-learning courses or host a digital skills session for new adult learners.
Energy Saver Quiz
How much do you know about saving energy? Test your knowledge by developing a short quiz about environmental issues and energy saving. Get some short sample questions below or visit www.askaboutireland.ie for environmental facts and figures:
For Green Learning Day, hold a session to identify the plants species which grow in your area or invite a local gardener to host a grow-your-own workshop.
Footprint calculators help us think about the ways our lifestyle affects the environment and help to find ways to reduce our impact. Why not encourage learners in your centre to find out their carbon footprint? A sample calculator is available at www.change.ie. You can combine it with an IT sample class or follow it with a workshop on reducing your carbon footprint.
Regular exercise can help burn fat, lower blood pressure, boost the immune systems and make you feel happier. It has also been shown to lower the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease. To mark the Adult Learners' Festival, why not hold a taster fitness class, in anything from basketball to belly dancing!
Get Gardening and Green up
Gardening is a way to relax, get exercise and grow your own food! To mark Green Learning Day you can hold a gardening demonstration, launch a community garden or start at the basics and plant a herb garden! already have a garden?- inspire participants by holding a cooking demonstration using fresh produce!
Get to Know Your Local Politicians!
Can you name all your local politicians? Would you recognise them? Invite your local politicians to view your centre/ venue or even display photos of your local politicians up in the centre along with their party and contact details and encourage staff and learners to view the board. You can combine this with a lobbying skills workshop!
Ask About Ireland includes free digital access to Griffith's Valuation - the first full scale valuation of property in Ireland, published between 1847 and 1864. More than 1.5 million valuation records were assembled and accompanied by six-inch scale maps for the entire country. Griffith's Valuation is one of the most important surviving genealogical sources.
Grow It Yourself
Taking the 'self' out of 'self-sufficiency'! GIY Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation which promotes and facilitates back-garden food growing. It also acts as a national umbrella organisation to keep local GIY groups connected. The organisation was launched on the 12th of September 2009 in Waterford and is supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. As part of the Green Learning Day you can encourage your staff and learners to join GIY Ireland or go to a meeting being held locally for more information.
Grow a Learning Tree
This initiative allows learners to reflect on what they have achieved through learning as well as providing inspiration for prospective learners.
- You can use a poster or a real tree to represent your learning tree
- Encourage learners to write or draw the impact adult learning has made on their lives and hang it on the learning tree.
- Collate all the contributions into a booklet or display the learning tree in your premises
Each event organiser will receive a packet of seeds from Irish Seed Savers: www.irishseedsavers.ie
Girls' night in
Hold a 'Girl's Night In' in your centre and encourage women learners to hosts demonstrations of their hobbies.
Have a go at History
Organise a walking tour of local historical sites or visit your local museum and learn more about your town and community.
How to Remember Whatshername!?
On Learn at Work Day, why not hold an activity to enhance memory skills within your group or organisation.
1) Rhyme - Sophia in her biker's gear
2) Association famous name - Sophia Loren
3) Facial / body feature - Sophia has 'S' and 'a' in her curly hair
4) Book or film title - Sophia's Choice - creativity needed as well as imagination!
5) Association with an item - Sophia on a sofa
6) Smell, taste, food, drink - Soapy Sophia
7) Nature - Sophia the Squirrel
8) Alliteration - Sophisticated Sophia
9) Music - How do you solve a problem like Sophia? - creativity again!
Healthy Recipes courtesy of The Irish Heart Foundation
Good food need not be boring. The Irish Heart Foundation has put together a range of menu choices where the fat content is low but the flavours are high. As part of the Adult Learners' Festival why not give an information session on healthy eating or a healthy cooking demonstration. You could even circulate these healthy cooking tips to staff or learners:
- Use more fruit and vegetables every day. Vegetables taste delicious on their own, so try not to add butter or spread.
- Use herbs and spices rather than salt to flavour food. Many people watch their salt intake because of raised blood pressure.
- Use little or no oil when making a healthy low fat dish. All oils are 100% fat, even olive oil, so use a maximum of 2 tablespoons of pure vegetable oil for 4 portions.
- Serve dressings and sauces on the side. Use low fat cooking methods - steam, grill, poach, microwave, oven-bake, stir-fry or roast without fat or oil.
I'm a Politician, Get Me Outta Here!
A key aim of the Adult Learners' Festival 2016 is to keep adult learning on the political agenda. Why not, invite local politicians to take part in a panel discussion, question and answer session or to meet learners face to face to listen to their concerns.
Inter-departmental quiz in your workplace
Why not hold an interdepartmental quiz in your workplace on Learning for Work Day. Get each department to come up with ten questions and then test your colleagues' knowledge.
The purpose of job swapping or shadowing activities is to learn actively from a colleague, business partner or customer about their job. This will raise awareness of exactly what colleagues do each day, and encourage better communications between departments. It will not be practical for a complete job swap to take place at all times so it is likely that the day would be a combination of job swapping and job shadowing. Don't forget to think about practicalities in advance (for example, warning colleagues that the job shadow is taking place and getting approval if the activity being observed is confidential or commercially sensitive). Identify areas of your business which will benefit most from job swapping, those areas which will benefit most from allowing job shadows to take place and those areas for which neither would be practical. A mutual debrief at the end of the day is very valuable. This could focus on what has been experienced and what lessons learned.
It may be helpful to review the experience in the light of three pieces of information:
- the best bit
- the worst bit
- what will change as a result of the experience
Lots of local libaries host knitting circles so why not join one, learn a new craft and meet new people. Or have a look at Stitch n' Bitch which has a list of local knitting groups and pointers on how to start your own. You could start your own group in your local community and host an exhibition/sale of your work for Learning Communities Day.
This activity is inexpensive and it can be organised using few resources. Each employee answers the question "Did you know that..." in relation to a particular theme or subject. Employees can then come together at the end of the day to swap the fact! You can encourage participants to post the questions on a notice board and discuss what they have learned.
Here are some ideas on the themes you could use for your 'Learning Chain':
- Learning how to learn / tips on how to learn best. This could include drinking lots of water to hydrate the brain, listening to baroque music, learning in bitesize chunks, eating lots of protein, etc.
- Facts that you never knew about your workplace. These could be researched on the company website or by asking current employees and former employees.
- The history of the town where your workplace is located.
- Tips on using Microsoft Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, etc.
Learning in the Library
Libraries are a great resource at the heart of every community. As part of the Adult Learners' Festival, why not encourage those who don't usually visit the library to pop in! As a library, you could hold a guided tour of the library or invite new members to sample a book club. Book clubs and reading groups are growing in popularity across Ireland. They are a great way to get together as a group and talk about your shared passion for books and reading.
The Learning Zone on Ask about Ireland provides students and teachers with the perfect resource for learning about Irish culture, heritage and curriculum-based subjects. Students can explore and enjoy new information, authentic materials and interactive activities across a wide range of popular topics. The Learning Zone also offers a wide variety of content to support the Primary and Post-Primary Curriculum and provides students with authentic materials to support an inquiry- and researched-based learning approach. Photographs, maps, drawings, pictures, audios, videos and digital books can be located from among thousands of items. Popular features include comparisons between Ireland as it was during the last century and Ireland as it is now, historical information on each county in Ireland, online scientific experiments, historical documents, transport through the ages, and much more.
LexisNexis is described as the "world's largest collection of public records, unpublished opinions, forms, legal, news, and business information". This resource on Ask about Ireland provides customers with access to five billion searchable documents from more than forty thousand legal, news and business sources. Your local library can provide access to this database of information.
Lifesteps consists of a series of interesting guides available in public libraries. Whether you are interested in learning the basics about the internet, about how the internet can help you to find a job, take care of your health or start up your own business- there is a Lifesteps guide for you!
Local Environment Quiz
See how much your learners/ employees know about their "local environment" by holding a quiz. Help keep participants informed by handing out an environmental facts and resources sheet after the quiz.
Lunch & Learn
Over lunch you can run a training and information sessions for staff members. Provide information and advice about training courses available or have an actual training session. Sessions can be facilitated by an external trainer or a staff member and can cover such areas as
- Health & Safety
- Financial Awareness
- Personal Development
- Staff Welfare
- Personal Health
Why not encourage staff to facilitate a workshop on a skill or talent they would like to share? Examples include:
Learning Needs Notice Board
This initiative allows those members of staff with specific areas of expertise to help others with day to day tasks. It involves putting up a notice board and call it the 'Learning Needs Notice Board'. For more information click here
Organise a short lunchtime performance in your school/college/centre. You can get a group to perform a short comedy sketch, have singers and musicians perform and have an exhibiton of participants' work.
Launch a publication/website/exhibition
Why not hold your launch during the Adult Learners' Festival week. You can recognise all the hard work that went into organising it and celebrate with all the people who helped bring it together.
Make the Most of your Community Facility
Promote your community facility and show people why they should come and make use of it with an open day, taster classes or even a tour.
Movie Trivia Quiz
Think you know your movies? Match the actor/actress with the movie, match the quote with the movie, or combine.
Make a Learning Plan
Encourage employees to make an individual learning plan on Learning for Work Day. The plan is a way for employees to set personal targets and record achievements. To get started with your plan, think about some of the things that you have already learned and enjoyed. Write those experiences down and remind yourself why it was important to you and how has it helped you. For instructions on how to make the plan click here
Notes from Learners
Invite learners in your organisation to write a note to their local politician regarding their vision for adult and community education. This could be incorporated into a computer class - it's learning and lobbying all in one!
National Parks and Wildlife
Why not visit one of our six national parks or bring a group of learners and go on a nature trail. Visiting one of our national parks can be inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational all at the same time. Visit www.npws.ie for more information.
Learn about the Oireachtas and the world of parliamentary politics in a fun way with the three online games.
- Beat the Bell
Answer each question before your time runs out - if you hear the Ceann Comhairle's bell you've been too slow. Play the Game
- Parliament Pairs
Find pairs of images of famous politicians before the time runs out. If you are quick enough you may get on the leader board. Play the Game
- Word Scramble
Unscramble as many words as you can, and try to get on the high score table. Play the Game
Hold an Open Mic session where people can share poems, short stories or even songs.
On Your Bike!
Ten bikes can be parked in the space of one car and 2kg of carbon are saved for every short journey that is made using a bike instead of a car. As part of Green Learning Day, why not encourage cycling by offering a range of hands-on activities e.g. puncture repair, fitting a bell, fitting lights, putting chain back on. Host an information session for staff to take up the bike to work initiative www.biketowork.ie
Hold a 'Learn to E-mail' session. Participants can set up an e-mail address and learn how to use it. On Lobby for Learning Day why not encourage participants to e-mail local politicians with their ideas and concerns about the adult and community education sector?
This activity can be used as an afternoon event, a game, or even a lesson of sorts, if you choose. Regardless, at the end of the project, you will have a really wonderful memento of your group. Here's what you do.
Tell the participant in your group that they are going to do an "old school" project today. Explain that before MySpace and Facebook hit the web, people shared their pictures and personal info in scrapbooks, journals, and/or photo albums. Over the course of the next half hour, participants get a chance to make an old school Facebook...on real paper...in a real book.
What You'll Need
Make a two-page information sheet for each learner to fill out. Include their basic contact information (e-mail, mobile number, local area), childrens names, and work and education info. Also include a just-for-fun section that includes favorite pizza toppings, books, movies, music, book, color, TV show, etc. (Make sure you give a blank set of sheets to every new learner who shows up, and make sure they fill it out completely before they leave.)
Have each learner bring a school picture or snapshot of themselves that they like. Paste it onto an area of the front page reserved for a picture, with rubber cement or glue. Then print out silly pictures from your group as you take them, and include them in the book in whatever fashion you desire. Don't forget to let some of the more artistically talented participants decorate the random pages of the book with their personal artwork. Also, toss in some group photos to round out the book.
Assemble all of the finished pages in plastic page protectors and put them in a decorated 3-ring binder. Make sure to date the info for later use.
This will not only come in handy for you when you need to call somebody, but it will also help everybody to get to know each other better as they flip through it.
Petition - Lobby for Learning
Have there been funding cut backs in your organisation? Are you trying to do more with fewer resources? Let politicians and decision makers know! Decide on three key changes that need to be made to ensure that the adult and community sector in your area continues to grow and develop. Ask learners and members of the public to sign your petition. Why not hold an event and present the petition to your local politicians.
Why not mark Lobby for Learning day by organizing a visit to Leinster house. You could gain a historical and educational knowledge of both the building itself and the workings of the two Houses. Visit www.oireachtas.ie for more information.
Past and Present
Mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising by inviting learners to explore their family tree together. There are lots of online Irish Genealogy tools on www.irishgenealogy.ie, www.rootsireland.ie, www.nationalarchives.ie.
- Hold a workshop on job seeking skills in partnership with local organisations
- 'Meet the Tutors' Set up an information stand in your local shopping centre or canteen to attract potential adult learners
- Include a crossword, sudoku or information on learning opportunities with staff newsletters.
- Organise a taster class or demonstration for potential learners
- Behind the scenes....at the museum / at the university / at the library / at the art gallery
- Launch adult learning research or statistics
- E-mail your local and national politicians about your concerns for the adult learning sector
Questions & Answers
Hold an Information session to answer any questions people might have about your classes, your centre or your service.
Ready, Steady, Cook!
We need to eat a range of different foods to keep our brains and bodies in tip top condition. A fun way of making sure we get the good bits we need in our diet is to be creative. Why not hold a creative cooking demonstration followed by a cooking class. Perhaps you could provide information about learning opportunities in your area while participants are tucking into their culinary delights!
The Reading Room includes extensive materials on historical, geographical, scientific and environmental topics of particular relevance to Ireland. Articles from public library authorities throughout the country are provided on a wide range of Irish cultural topics for each county in Ireland. A new feature for the site in 2010 will involve an interactive element so that public users can also submit photos and information about their locality to the website.
Silver Surfers / Click Start!
Why not open your doors to learners with little or no IT experience. The focus of this activity is to create small groups in communities within which learners can become engaged with technology.
- Run a free session on e-mail. Learners can use their own e-mail to contact politicians about learning issues!
- Buying a computer - the jargon explained.
- Open your library doors to research your family tree on the internet
- Open your bank's door with free sessions on on-line banking
Swap a Book in Business
Whether your business is office-based, manual or service-providing, it provides enormous potential for promoting reading and book-swapping. Use it as a way to get people talking, build relationships, gain a higher profile for your business or as an integral part of your staff development agenda. You can either create an activity that compliments your aims as an organisation or use swapping as a relaxing and refreshing activity to increase creativity and productivity. For some starting points click here.
Put a twist on the old school scavenger hunts and organise one in your local area. Take a topic such as Our Town and make a list according to this. Get people to find a picture of any historical landmark in the area, a program or flyer from a local arts event, a book from their local library or the front page of the local newspaper and that's just for starters. You can add as many items to the list as you want. It's all about learning more about your town.
Smarter than a Ten year old?!
Are you smarter than a ten year old? Recreate your own version of this TV show. This is a wonderful intergenerational game which tests the knowledge of the grown-ups against those of the kids!! You can play by your own rules or follow those of the show. In that case each contestant has three cheats to help them along the way. They can peek at a classmates answer and copy their answer. If a contestant gets a question incorrect they can ask a classmate to save them, but only if they have answered correctly.
As a means of communication Skype is getting more popular by the day. Hold a workshop on how to use it so that people can stay in contact at anytime anywhere.
For Family Learning Day why not hold a Storytelling session. This session could be held in a local library, a family resource centre or your local community centre. Why not get adults to tell a story and then get children to do the same. Or play the storytelling game where a person starts off with a line such as 'Once upon a time...' and then each person adds their own line to it. You never know where you will end up with that game!
Invite new participants in for a taster classe in whatever you teach - yoga, printmaking, orienteering - the choice is yours!! Or why not offer to teach a class for free in your local community centre or library.
Tell a Story
Telling your story is a great intergenerational activity - perfect for grandparents, parents and children to get involved together.
The Big Draw
Everybody is an artist and there are lots of ways to encourage learners to get involved in art! You can hold a sample art or drawing class, an exhibition of learners' work or a guided tour of an art gallery. Why not encourage learners' to draw their experience of adult learning and display them in the organisations premises?
The Irish Times Digital Archive
The Irish Times Digital Archive contains exact reproductions of all articles published by the Irish Times from 1859 onwards. The archive can be accessed at your local library.
Under the Tree of Learning
Invite learners in your organisation to share their stories and document them on paper leaves. Hang the stories on the tree of learning and ask to display it in your local centre, supermarket or library. People passing are invited to come under the tree to discover the learning journeys of others.
Contact your local community radio station and ask them to interview a member of your organisation, tutor and a learner, so others can learn from your experiences.
Ask people to volunteer and help you organize an activity for the festival! For more information about volunteering have a look at www.volunteeringireland.ie
Visit Your Local Library
Why not go and check out your local library. You may be surprised at the range of services they now offer. The library is much more than just borrowing books these days!!
Who Am I?
Be a Diva for a day....or a famous actor....or a legendary sportsperson. Pre-make tags with each tag having one famous person on it, mainly divas that everyone would know. These tags will be placed on the back of each guest as they arrive. This is done without them knowing who they are. They can then go about their days work but always asking questions as to who they might be. Questions like "am I a singer?" They can only ask one question and make only one guess as to Who they are with each person that they talk to, then they have to ask another person. You could also award a small prize for the person who guessed their "identity" the quickest. This is fun and does not have to intrude on the work or the day
How green is your organisation? Hold a waste audit to calculate your waste and water output. You can start by separating your paper and cardboard for recycling, buying in bulk and encouraging electronic circulation of documents. Visit www.greenbusiness.ie to identify the amount of waste you produce and water you consume.
Waste Not Want Not
Hold this event on Green Learning Day and help learners to find out where rubbish goes once it goes in the bin. Learn how to make the most of household refuse by composting and other ways of recycling.
On Green learning day, why not plant lettuce seeds and have fresh crispy lettuce all summer long. Contact www.giyireland.com for information about the meetings in your area
Working Out Your Pay Slip
This activity shows employees how to work out the different aspects of their pay slip and how to work out their net pay (after tax). Although it's quite obviously mathematical, it's something that is interesting and relevant to most employees. This activity can be completed by the employee without a leader although it is important that someone is on hand to offer support if required. Why not invite your finance team to get involved? The activity will hopefully cut down on the amount of queries they get from staff about their pay slips.
What's in your local library'?
As a library you could showcase the facilities and resources that libraries offer to the general public. Could you provide groups with their own librarian to help them with their information needs? Family history, referencing, email, databases, the library catalogue, even a library tour behind the scenes.
The X-Factor is a popular programme for younger and older learners alike- why not find out about hidden talents in your group or organisation by hosting your very own X-Factor Night.
Yarn a tale
A great way of getting a group to share memories with others and to enhance socialization skills. Also a great intergenerational game where older and younger can share or create stories. All you need is some different coloured yarn and some scissors. Click here for how to play
Yoga at your desk
Get fit and flexible with this yoga workout at your desk. Click here for instructions
Host a biodiversity session or wildlife walking trail to find out more about the animals which live in your locality. Invite a local expert to give a talk in your organisation or venue. You could even visit the Natural History Museum, Fota Wildlife Park, Dublin Zoo or a local farm.