5 Ways Your School Can Benefit From Hosting a Carnival

Have Lots of Carnival Fun When You know What You Want to Do. Doug Menuez via Getty Images

 To plan a truly fun school carnival you need to be clear on what you hope your school community will get out of hosting a carnival. Being clear on your motivation and your underlying goals will help you organize your event into a cohesive and targeted event rather than one that is just mediocre and disorganized.

Once you have clearly defined goals, you can plan each piece of your event to enhance and accomplish your goals — giving your event the needed focus.

School Carnival to Raise Money

Carnivals can be good fundraising events to provide money for a number of goals for schools. Reasons can range from specific goals like achieving a defined goal, such as the purchase of new playground equipment, or longer term, annually repeating goals like providing funds for extracurricular groups and field trips. 

How to Make a Successful Fundraising Carnival: If fundraising is your reason for hosting a carnival, be sure that the goal the money will go to support is well publicized. Include the reasoning in the advertising for the carnival. You can also hang posters during the event thanking people for supporting your financial goals. 

If your goal is fundraising, be sure to have a variety of activities at your carnival that are in numerous price ranges. This will help you to draw a larger crowd where some people can play an inexpensive game or raffle while those who are able to give more money can do so, such as in a silent auction.

To Involve the Local Community

Schools are neighborhood centerpieces of their community. In addition to being popular venues for community meetings in some areas, a local school is also a place that binds neighboring families together - since all of the neighborhood children do or will attend a school together.

Schools benefit from having local community and business support. While this certainly includes parents, it also includes partnerships with local businesses and other community agencies, colleges and universities. 

How to Get the Community Involved in Your Carnival

Carnivals can be a welcoming gesture that can bring everyone of all ages to the school to see the building and perhaps meet teachers and students. Carnivals with this goal should be sure to include displays of students artwork and projects, a few open classrooms so the community can see what the school offers, student music and drama performances, and information about where successful alumni have gone since attending the school. The idea is to provide a fun evening while highlighting the value the school provides to the community.

Your school can also publicly thank existing community partners during the carnival.

  • A brief award style presentation can be held to thank supporters
  • Supporters can be thanked in event handouts or posters
  • new and current supporters can be thanked in school newsletters, school or PTA?PTO websites, or local media outlets.

So Kids Have a Safe Place to Have Fun

Different holiday and themed school carnivals are often held to give the school students a fun and safe place for certain events.

  • Christmas and winter carnivals can provide safe indoor fun in regions of the country where bitter cold temperatures can make outdoor play dangerous.
  • Halloween and harvest carnivals can provide age-appropriate fun for kids. If there is a time of year that children or teens in your community love to celebrate but they lack a venue is to celebrate, you have the perfect idea and theme for a carnival. 

School carnivals can be held to welcome any age group of children - it doesn't' need to be limited to the age group of the school students. For example, a community only has activities for older children on Halloween can host an event for younger children. Rather than having small children going to a scary haunted house that is meant for adults, an elementary school can host a Halloween carnival with a costume contest, cake walk, and fun carnival games. 

Likewise, if there is not a fun place for teens to go during Halloween, hosting a carnival that has a dance floor in one room and a scary haunted house in another school room will give teens a fun place to go. This is a positive alternative to leaving teens to boredom and possible trouble making.

For Students To Provide Community Service

If the missing celebration activity in your community doesn't match up with the age of the children at the school that would host a carnival, you have a great opportunity for the school to host a carnival centered around providing for others. No place for small children to safely celebrate spring of Christmas? Then have the local high school put on a carnival for them. Either the high school or a local elementary school could be chosen for the local venue. 

Your school doesn't have to find the perfect match for children wanting to celebrate and lacking a place to do it. General carnivals around other themes can be created to provide a fun outing for other children, hosted by a different age of school children.

School Carnivals Can Be Held For More Than One Reason

Often school carnivals are held for a combination of the reasons above. The middle school that I worked at held a Halloween carnival to fundraise money to buy equipment and materials for the school garden. The carnival that was well attended by preschool age children who didn't have another place to go the weekend that carnival was held. While there were certainly activities available for middle school age students, I think the middle schoolers really got the most from helping the preschoolers have so much fun. 

The success of the event came from considering both the initial purpose of the event (fundraising) and then tailoring in a clear community need. 

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