This was my third year planning Staff Appreciation Week, and I wanted to do something new. Something BIG. While brainstorming space-y names in the shower one morning I came up with Supernova. A supernova is “a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass.” Hmmmm.
What could I do with balloons?
A Supernova Surprise. Teachers and staff could pop a balloon to discover their prize!
Thankfully, I came up with this idea in December, and our event was in March. If you are planning to duplicate this activity it will take time, my friend. I started out contact my favorite local businesses and Etsy shops. I explained what I was doing, and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of excitement and willingness to donate. Within the first week, I had a dozen donations, and I decided to try and procure a prize for all 45 staff members. I was able to procure over $8,000 worth of prizes from my favorite Etsy shops and local business. How amazing is that?! I have never had such an outpouring of support from the community. I was completely blown away by their generosity. All of the businesses were recognized in our weekly school newsletter and our PTSA website. I tried to get the local newspapers to feature our celebration as well, but that didn’t work out. Still, the businesses had significant exposure within our school community.
TIP: Contact businesses who have Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local deals. They clearly want to increase their customer base, and are willing to sell their products at a discount. Many of them will donate to your event.
TIP: I have tried to procure items for school auctions and it is BRUTAL. However, asking for a fundraising donation is entirely different than asking a business to donate a prize to a teacher. Teachers are beloved, and the vast majority of businesses I spoke with were eager to provide a gift.
TIP: Start following up with businesses one month before your event. Many businesses will happily agree to donate, but then forget to actually mail the item. It will take you time to organize your goodies for distribution.
1. Lay out all of your items and number them.
2. Create any gift certificates necessary. (Some businesses may simply provide donation information.)
3. Create a spreadsheet with the item numbers and the prizes associated with that number. Leave a space to write down the winner of the prize.
4. Package up the prizes in gift bags, gift boxes, baskets, etc. Be sure to number the back of the bags and boxes. (TIP: Don’t put the tissue paper in until the bags are set up at the school. They are easier to carry without.)
5. Print out a second copy of your spreadsheet, and cut out the strips showing the item number and the prize.
1. Buy balloons, silver star confetti, fishing line, and small funnel. (Be sure to ask your school janitor for permission to use confetti first. They are the ones who will be vacuuming it up for months to come.)
2. Blow up the balloon, insert the small funnel into the mouth of the balloon. Pour in a small amount of confetti. Insert one folded prize strip. Tie balloon and fasten a length of fishing line.
3. Tie a paperclip to the end of the fishing line or push pin. (It will depend on your ceiling. Our staff lounge has rectangular sections with metal supports. I inserted the paperclips above the metal supports.) Hang from the ceiling.
4. Arrange all the prizes on the table(s). Add tissue paper as necessary.
During lunch, every staff member (45 in all) made a BIG BANG in the staff lounge and discovered which prize they had won. It made my heart happy to watch them. Mr. Rick and Mr. Brian, if you are reading this, I apologize for the confetti you will inevitably be vacuuming up for years.
It is important that you track the prizes and notify the businesses of who won (if they wanted to know). It also helps you to keep track of who has and has not popped their balloon.
1. Bring your handy-dandy spreadsheet with you to the Supernova Surprise.
2. After the staff member pops their balloon, help them find their prize (it takes time at first!) then write their name down next to their prize. Everyone will want to know what others have won, what the prizes were, etc.
Pacific Northwest Float Trips, Bellevue Center for Health, Simply Clean, Myers Chiropractic, Linda Kahle Fine Art Imagery, Unique Dry Carpet Service, Bella Photography, Mantra Bands, Maid 2 Please, Flawless Beauty Bar, Clear Solutions, Snapshot Sandy, Cork & Click (Get Off Auto), Covington Cellars, Northwest Aesthetics, Redmond School of Glass, Murder Mystery Company, Jo Totes, Rivaage Salon, Cork & Canvases, Ambrosia Med Spa, eMeals, Erin Condren, Big Picture Classes, Laura Ashton Cellars, No More ‘To Go’, Brown Bear Car Wash, Pepper Bridge Winery, Entropy Trading Company, Expressions Bracelets, Staples, Costco, Better Life, Ben Franklin Crafts, Smug Mug, Vol25, Letter Girl, Nifty Swank, Home Studios, Swirling Scarves, Agave Restaurant, Eclisse Creazioni, Paper & Oats, Coho Cafe, Canyons Restaurant, Tasty Suite.
Our "Supernova Surprise" printables are available for purchase here.
This is just one event from our "Out of This World!" space-themed Appreciation Week. You can read about the other days and activities below.