Often children's organization such as 4-H clubs, church groups and youth sports teams are asked to build floats for participation in parades. Coming up with ideas that excite the kids while offering the opportunity for safe participation does not have to present a challenge. A creative and well-organized float building project can provide many happy memories for the kids who participate.
The float theme might highlight the organization that is being represented. For example, a youth baseball team could create a float with a sports theme or a 4-H club could design a float that highlights the values of the organization. Church groups could present a story from the Bible. Children love animals and incorporating themes such as "Barnyard Animals" or "A Day at the Zoo" might meet with enthusiasm. Cartoon characters, fantasy, children in history,or favorite stories of childhood are a few more possibilities. Jungle safari or wild west themes can also get children interested.
Part of the fun of a parade is working as a group to decorate the float. Allowing the kids to participate is a good idea. Floats that are decorated with items and artwork that the kids themselves have made can be very charming. In the days leading up to assembling the float the children can meet to work on projects such as tissue paper flowers or murals painted on canvas that can be displayed or used to cover the sides of the float. If large props are planned an adult can create a frame for the item from wood and chicken wire and the kids can be drafted to fill each opening with a tissue paper square.
Safety is always important and all the more so when children are involved. If the children are to ride on the float it is important to make sure that they are secure and not in danger of falling off. For a large group of children, a flat bed truck with safety railings is a good idea. These floats may require more simple decorations, but the safety of the kids is more important than elaborate display. If only a few children will ride on the float, select children who are mature enough to remain in an assigned place. Secure seating is important and at least one adult should remain on the float with the children. It is also important that any props or features are securely attached to the float and that each child riding on the float has something solid to hang on to.