Boosting Revenue and Student Retention: Parent Night Out Events

Boosting Revenue and Student Retention: Parent Night Out Events

In the competitive world of keeping kids entertained, it's crucial to think outside the box to not only attract new students to your dojo but also keep your current ones engaged and excited. Hosting community events at your dojo can be a fantastic way to achieve both goals simultaneously. In this blog post, we'll explore the power of themed Parents Night Outs and how they can contribute to driving revenue and enhancing student retention.

The Power of Parents Night Outs

Parents Night Outs are not just about giving parents a break; they're an opportunity to showcase your dojo's unique personality and build a sense of community among your students and their families. By organizing themed events, you can create memorable experiences that not only resonate with your existing students but also attract new ones.

Types of Parents Night Outs

1. Dodgeball Night:

Dodgeball Night is a high-energy event that appeals to the competitive spirit. Create teams, set up the dojo with safe obstacles (like your crash pads, throwing dummies or consider buying some), and let the dodgeball games begin. This event fosters teamwork and is a great way for students to bond outside regular classes.

2. Nerf Gun Night:

Transform your dojo into a battleground with Nerf Gun Night. Provide safety goggles and even consider purchasing your own nerf guns for an action-packed evening of strategy and fun. This event encourages strategic thinking and enhances hand-eye coordination.

3. Lego/Minecraft Night:

Unleash creativity with Lego / Minecraft Night. Set up stations with various Lego challenges, encouraging teamwork and problem-solving skills. This event is not only entertaining but also helps develop cognitive abilities in a playful environment. Consider buying empty boxes so students can build bases or cover areas. 

4. Ninja Obstacle Course Night:

Tap into the ninja spirit with an obstacle course night. Design challenging courses within your dojo, incorporating martial arts elements. This event not only reinforces judo skills but also boosts physical fitness.

5. Jedi Knight/Superhero Training Course:

Bring fantasy to life with a Jedi Knight or Superhero Training Course. Incorporate Judo techniques with imaginative scenarios to make your students feel like true heroes. This event is perfect for enhancing creativity and confidence. Feel free to even make another obstacle course like above as the "training course". 

Other items you should consider investing in is a TV or a relatively inexpensive projector for watching a movie. If watching a movie or that isn't possible, then consider bringing in a TV from your home for a fun night. 

Order of Events

Now, let's dive into the specifics of planning these events. These events should be roughly 3 hours long and start around 6:00pm, so parents are out of work with enough time to get their kids to the dojo. 

  • Welcome & Free Time (15 Minutes)
  • Regular Dojo Games as a Warm Up (15 Minutes) - include water breaks as needed
  • Themed Games/Activities (30-60 Minutes) - include water breaks as needed
  • Pizza / Food & A Movie - (90 Minutes)


By hosting diverse and exciting Parents Night Outs, you not only create a revenue stream but also foster a sense of community that enhances student retention. Experiment with different themes, solicit feedback, and tailor your events to the interests of your dojo community. In doing so, you'll build a stronger and more vibrant martial arts community that keeps students coming back for more.

About The Author:

Sensei Riley McIlwain is the current General Manager at Jimmy Pedro's Judo Center and Co-Owner of FUJI Martial Arts Academies both located in Massachusetts. Riley is a third degree black belt under Jimmy Pedro and along with working at dojos and teaching classes, he serves as Team Manager for Team FORCE (Jimmy's National Competition Program) and is the Event Coordinator for American Judo System.

Have a question? Just email him at! Follow Sensei Riley on instagram at @SenseiRiley

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