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Creative And Unique
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DIY School Carnival Fundraisers - The Essentials

How do DIY school carnivals work?

DIY school carnivals function the same way as any other fundraising carnival or festival. You set up plenty of games and activities, then sell tickets up front as guests arrive. Parents buy different amounts of tickets for their kids to use to play each game. You can set requirements individually so that some games cost more tickets to play than others, or you can make every game cost only one ticket. 

The only difference between traditional carnivals and DIY school carnivals is that this fundraiser is much more budget-friendly. Instead of spending money on large inflatables and games, you’ll create all of the games yourself.

What do you need to host a DIY school carnival?

Along with a large number of tickets to give out, you’ll need a variety of different craft supplies, like markers, paint, poster boards, string, balloons, and other decorations. Luckily, you can easily get all of these supplies donated!

Use these tips to help you gather as many craft supplies as possible at no cost to your school:

  • Go to teachers and parents first. Teachers and parents alike will have plenty of old craft supplies they haven’t found a use for yet. Provide a wish list for any supplies you especially need when asking for donations, but accept anything.
  • Reach out to previous PTA members. PTA parents whose kids have aged out of elementary school often have tons of leftover craft supplies lying around that they’d love to give away.
  • Ask for prizes, too. When you ask for donations, don’t stick to craft supplies alone. You’ll need some small prizes to give out to game winners, like candy or toys. 

Don’t forget that you also need plenty of volunteers. Each game should have at least one volunteer present to run it and make sure guests understand the rules. Recruit volunteers from your school’s staff, PTA, and the wider community if necessary.

Who makes the carnival games?

Who exactly is “yourself” in a “do-it-yourself” carnival? That’s up to you! You can delegate carnival game creation to volunteers, fundraiser organizers, PTA members, or even students.

To increase student involvement in the fundraiser, consider having each class create their own carnival game during school hours. You even make it a contest, with prizes like pizza parties for the classes that make the best games. This will get students excited for the carnival well in advance, and it’ll take pressure off of your organizers!

How do you raise money at a DIY school carnival?

The main fundraising potential comes from selling carnival tickets in exchange for donations. 

However, you can also include other small fundraisers during your carnival to generate extra funds. Some options that fit in well with a DIY school carnival include:

These smaller fundraisers can function as their own “games” or stations within your carnival. 

Popular DIY Carnival Games for Schools

Need inspiration for the types of games you can create yourself? Start with these popular carnival game and activity ideas:

  • Photo booths: Choose a theme, recruit a photographer, and start decorating! You can create a traditional photo booth with curtains and DIY props, or you can cut holes into a large cardboard stand for a photo opportunity. 
  • Small obstacle courses: This is an opportunity to get really creative with any supplies you have available. Choose an open space, create obstacles, then set rules guests must follow to make it out successfully and win a prize.
  • Face painting: Gather any volunteers that can paint or draw well, then let them use their creativity at a face painting station. They can take requests or stick to a set list of designs for the event.
  • Magnetic fishing: For this game, you’ll need small prizes, magnets, a blanket, and anything that can serve as fishing rods. Attach magnets to the prizes and hide them behind the blanket, then let students see what they can catch!
  • Flower making: Have you ever made a flower out of pipe cleaners and tissue paper? That’s all you need for this activity. Kids will love learning to make flowers and walking away with their own creation.

Remember to ensure that all of your games appeal to your audience. Include plenty of old and new favorites, plus some activities that are fun for parents.