As parent associations at schools across the country work on finding ways to raise funds that aren’t covered by taxes, they should consider something that will also help bring a sense of community to the students, teachers, and parents. A school carnival is something everyone can enjoy, from the planning process to the final event. It enables students to see how something they enjoy requires hard work, and that ultimately gives students a sense of accomplishment, school spirit, and enjoyment from teamwork. Each booth at the carnival should be fun and generate revenue.

Fishing Game

Each player chooses a fishing pole, which is a stick with a rope tied to it and a clothespin on the end. The player drops the rope over a barrier, where someone working the booth pins a prize then gives the rope a tug. Most prizes can be cheap trinkets like rubber bangles and plastic dinosaurs. Every few prizes should be something nicer to give players incentive to continue. The better prizes may be stuffed animals or donated gift cards to local businesses. To keep this game fair, line up the prizes in advance where the players can’t see them.

Hula Hoop Booth

The hula hoop booth needs to be large enough for at least five players to hula hoop without bumping into each other. At a set time, all the players should start spinning the hula hoop around their waists. The person who keeps the hoop in action the longest wins the prize.

Ping Pong Ball Toss

Tossing games are always popular at carnivals. Make it more difficult and fun by using ping pong balls and empty coffee cans. By nature, ping pong balls bounce, so it’s difficult to keep them from bouncing out of the cans. Line up five cans and give each player seven balls. If they are able to get all seven balls to stay in the cans, they win the grand prize. Have smaller prizes for four, five, and six balls.

Balloon Stomp

Put small prize slips inside balloons, then inflate them. Most of the prizes will be small, inexpensive items, but some of them will be nicer and bigger. Have each player choose a balloon and give him a designated amount of time to stomp on the balloon. If he pops it, he wins the prize. This may be played with music or a timer.

Beanbag Toss

Paint a picture of a clown, cartoon animal, or other character on a piece of plywood. Cut out a hole for the mouth, making sure it is big enough for a beanbag to fit through. Each player stands behind a line and is given a designated number of beanbags to toss. Top prize goes to anyone who gets all the beanbags into the character’s mouth. Smaller prizes are given for fewer beanbags hitting the target.