Summer sports may be winding down, but there’s still time to stock up on fresh air and sunshine before you change gear and shop for back-to-school supplies.
End-of-season league team celebrations are a perfect way to wrap up the season. Players of all ages, from toddler and youth sports to adult leagues will enjoy one last time together as a team.
If you’re hosting one, here are 10 tips for an affordable team party that won’t break the bank.
1. Decorate strategically in team colors
A lot of decorations and Pinterest-inspired DIYs might look amazing, but they can really add up in terms of cost and time.
So here’s a great end-of-season team party tip: buy some streamers, balloons, and disposable table cloths in the team’s colors. These supplies are relatively inexpensive, easy to hang up, and disposable when you’re done.
Whether you’re celebrating little kids, big kids, or an adult league, these decorations will make a fun first impression and help to get guests in a celebratory mood.
2. Create a slideshow of the season’s best moments
Memories add a lot to a team party. Players of all ages, parents, and coaches enjoy looking at the season’s funny moments and highlights.
An easy way to collect these moments is with a slideshow or video. You can collect everyone’s favorite photos from the season and assemble them digitally at no cost.
During the end-of-season get-together, use a tablet or laptop at a central table to play the slideshow where everyone can see it.
3. Book a park or pavilion for an easy outside team party
Sports teams can be pretty large. This makes it hard to find a good place to celebrate together. You can offer up your home or yard, but this can be a big commitment.
Instead, take full advantage of the summer weather and book a park or pavilion where the whole team, parents, and coaches can gather. There’s a good chance you can find one for little to no cost.
If the party has to be inside, try a bowling alley or laser tag arena where everyone can pay their own way.
4. Organize a potluck and a variety of foods
When you’re the one hosting a team party, you’ll find that everyone else is generous and willing to help out, especially with food.
As host, you can provide the main food if you want, like burgers or hotdogs. But if you arrange for a potluck, there’s a good chance there will be plenty of food in a wide variety for even the pickiest of eaters.
You can also consider asking some families to bring paper products like plates, cups, napkins, and utensils.
5. Collect donations for a coach gift
The team’s coach puts a lot of time and energy into the season, and a thoughtful way to recognize this effort is with a combined gift. Include any assistant coaches, too.
A few weeks before the end of the season and team party, ask for players to donate money for a coach gift from the team.
Great gift ideas include a gift card for the coach’s favorite restaurant, a framed jersey or picture signed by each member of the team, or a gift basket.
6. Sign team photos or jerseys
If the league arranged for professional photographs of the team and players, the end-of-season team party is a smart place to distribute them. Teammates can sign each other’s pictures, like a sort of yearbook, for sentiment, fun memories, and inside jokes.
Some players might even offer up the season’s jersey for signatures.
Dedicate a table to this fun activity. Just provide a tablecloth, markers, and supervision if necessary.
7. Plan games and activities
If you’re hosting an end-of-season team party for a younger league, a park with a playground can provide endless entertainment. For older kids, use outdoor areas for water games like balloons or super soakers, go for a hike, or bring some frisbees.
The goal is just to keep everyone entertained and offer some fun ways for the team to bond one last time.
8. Arrange a gift exchange between the players
Teammates see each other frequently throughout the season and can become close friends. It’s natural for many of these players to want to get little gifts for each other as the season comes to an end.
For an inclusive and cost-saving way to allow for gift-giving, consider arranging an exchange at the team party, like a sports team Secret Santa.
Giftster is a fun wish list maker that can help you create a group, draw names for an online gift exchange, and organize gift ideas for others and yourself.
9. Enjoy a delicious themed cake or dessert
Cakes add a little something extra to the end of every team party. They tend to signal the end of the season and the celebration but in a delicious way.
If you don’t plan on collecting donations for a cake, this might be an expense you’ll take on. But the cake doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy to be fun and themed. Most grocery chains can create a tasty sports cake with a fun message for the team.
10. Play one last competitive game
The end-of-season team party provides a great opportunity to play one last sports game. And you can really mix it up, with players against parents, or putting coaches on opposite teams.
Everyone can relax and have fun, and make a few more fun memories to close out the season. As an added bonus, it will work off some of the food and treats.
Throwing an end-of-season league get-together doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. With a little creativity and collaboration, teammates can celebrate and enjoy each other’s company one last time.
When everyone finally leaves the team party, they can say their last goodbyes and look forward to next summer.