Friday, March 9, 2012
Last night our school had it's first Chuck E. Cheese night. If, by some chance, you're not familiar with Chuck E. Cheese, let me get you up to speed. Chuck E. Cheese is like a casino for kids. The food isn't very good, it's loud, and there are a lot of blinking lights and things to make kids and adults feel very overstimulated. Patrons purchase tokens that kids can use to play a huge variety of electronic games (that generate more noise and more blinking lights). Last night was a fundraiser: a lot of families from our school went to C-E-C, and C-E-C donated 15 percent of the proceeds to our PTA.
So, I expected to sit down this morning to write a groaning "I hate Chuck E. Cheese" post. But guess what? I didn't hate it at all.
In general, I love "restaurant nights" as school fundraisers. While they don't bring in a huge sum, they're not a lot of work. All you have to do is promote the event--hand out flyers, post it on Facebook, etc. Then you simply show up and eat dinner, with the added bonus of getting to visit with friends from school while you dine. At their best, it's like having a party without having to cook or clean.
Chuck E. Cheese turned out to be a blast. Yeah, the food was nothing to write home about, but it didn't matter. My kids were so excited to play that we all just gobbled down a few slices of pizza and hit the games. I didn't overeat, as is too often the case at restaurants.
Our local C-E-C has a wide of variety of games that require you to move your body, so in addition to not overeating, we were able to work off our dinner! The space was clean, the staff was friendly, and provides a good set of marketing tools, including a visit to the school from Chuck himself on the day of the event.
While Chuck E. Cheese's tag line is "where a kid can be a kid", there are plenty of games that are fun for adults. Move out of the way, kids--mommy's hitting the Skeetball!
In 2012, very often school isn't just the place where you drop off your kids for six hours--it is a community. A large and diverse cross-section of our community showed up last night. Classmates ran around with huge smiles on their faces while their parents took a moment to chat. I will happily endure loud music and blinking lights (but thankfully no cigarette smoke like a real casino!) to make our community even stronger.