Winter carnivals are fun for students, teachers and parents, and they can be profitable PTA fund-raisers. Learn which activities have been successful in many schools, according to Proteacher.com, an interactive site where teachers and parents can discuss educational and extracurricular activities.
Add a seasonal twist to the old-fashioned games often played at school carnivals. Gluing white and silver glitter to softballs turns an ordinary ball toss game into a Snowball Throw, where participants throw balls through holes cut into wood or foam supported by an easel. The same materials can be used for a bean bag toss, but replace traditional bean bags with mittens stuffed with beans and stitched shut.
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Ring Frosty is a wintry version of ring toss played by tossing plastic rings over bowling pins painted to resemble snowmen. Ice Fishing is played by dangling string (tied to a stick) through holes in a shower curtain suspended from a clothing rack. Someone on the other side of the curtain attaches a "catch" to the string. If a gymnasium is available, hockey matches using plastic hockey sticks and pucks make for action-packed fun. To keep costs reasonable, prizes are usually candy, stickers or toy trinkets.
Arts and Crafts
Snow globes are simple, theme-related and made with baby food jars. Students glue moss, trinkets and small plastic animals to the inside of the lid, and then fill the jar with two-thirds water. Glitter and a pinch of glycerin, available at pharmacies, are added before the lid is screwed back on.
Snow sculptures are another easy craft, inviting students to mold white clay into Arctic animals or snow angels. Other colors of clay are needed to accent the sculptures. Face painting is usually popular with kids and will go over at a winter carnival, especially if the artist can paint polar bear noses, penguin markings and snowflakes.
Winter Wonderland Tour
Educational and enjoyable, each grade chooses a country and researches its winter customs, including foods, clothing, holidays, music and festivals. They set up a designated area to represent their country, offering taste-tests, dance demonstrations and other samplings of their chosen country's winter traditions as parents and other students tour each country.
An alternative to the cake walk, participants walk around numbered chairs while music plays, then grab a chair when the music stops. The person whose number matches the one drawn by the game's instructor gets to choose a book. Books are about or set in winter and can be donated by parents.
Snow cones keep a winter theme and require crushed ice scooped into cone shaped cups followed by a few squirts of fruit-flavored syrup, all available in grocery stores. Cider and cocoa topped with marshmallows are warm wintry treats. Pizza, popcorn and baked goods are popular foods served at school events. The carnival atmosphere is enhanced when a popcorn machine resembling an old-time push cart is featured, and the winter theme is played up when cupcakes and sugar cookies are decorated with white icing and small candies to make a snowman's face.
If a winter carnival is intended to be a major fund-raiser, an auction can boost profits. People bid on items donated by businesses and might include computer equipment, sporting goods or meals, depending on the type of establishment the contributor is. Teachers and administrators can also offer items for auction, like homework passes or the opportunity to spend a day working as a library or office assistant.
An inflatable moonwalk or bouncy house will be a star attraction at any winter carnival depending on the budget and space available. A themed entrance can be created with sparkling cotton batting for a snow-like appearance, while artificial trees, plastic snowmen and sleds will add to the wintry scene.