5 Ways Your School Can Benefit From Hosting a Carnival

Children in a ticket line at a school carnival

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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.

How to Create a Successful Fundraising School Carnival

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 activities and field trips. 

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 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.

How to Get the Community Involved

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. 

Carnivals can be a welcoming gesture that can bring all ages to the school to see the building and perhaps meet teachers and students. The idea is to provide a fun evening while highlighting the value the school provides to the community.

If this is your goal, 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. 

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.

Holiday and Themed School Carnivals Give Kids 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, if your community only has activities for older children on Halloween, your school can host an event for younger children. Instead of having small children going to a scary haunted house that is meant for adults, an elementary school can host a Halloween carnival with age-appropriate activities like 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.

Planning a Community Service-Focused Carnival

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 or 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 these reasons. For example, a Halloween carnival can be held to fundraise money to buy equipment and materials for the school garden, as well as be a way to reach out to welcome the community.

The success of any school event comes from considering both the initial purpose of the event—be it fundraising or getting to know neighborhood families—and then tailoring it to meet a clear community need. 

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