How to Plan a Fun School Carnival + 10 Booth Ideas

Arizona State Fair

School carnivals are more than just a day of fun and games—they’re a cherished tradition that brings together the entire school community, fosters a sense of camaraderie, and serves as a vital fundraising opportunity. Whether you’re a parent on the PTA, a teacher eager to see your students smile, or a volunteer looking to contribute, planning an engaging and memorable school carnival is a rewarding endeavor. This blog post will provide you with creative booth ideas, practical tips for organizing a successful event, and emphasize the importance of community involvement.

Why School Carnivals Matter

School carnivals play a crucial role in building a sense of community among students, parents, and staff. They are opportunities for families to connect, for students to showcase their talents, and for schools to raise much-needed funds for programs, projects, and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, these events offer a break from the routine, allowing everyone to relax, have fun, and create lasting memories.

10 Engaging and Affordable Booth Ideas

For Younger Children (Ages 5-8)

  1. Duck Pond: A classic game where children pick rubber ducks from a small pool to win prizes based on the number written underneath.
  2. Face Painting: Always a hit with younger kids, face painting lets children transform into their favorite characters or animals.
  3. Ring Toss: Simple but fun, the ring toss game involves trying to throw rings around bottles or pegs to win prizes.
  4. Balloon Pop: Fill balloons with small prizes for students. Allow kids pop them with a dart to discover their reward.

For Older Children (Ages 9-12)

  1. Football Toss: Set up targets at different distances and let kids test their throwing skills. Prizes can be awarded based on points scored.
  2. Mini Golf: Create a mini-golf course with various obstacles. Kids can try their hand at making a hole-in-one.
  3. Sponge Throw: Use a large cutout board with a hole for a volunteer’s face and let kids throw wet sponges to hit the target.

For Teens (Ages 13+)

  1. Escape Room: Set up a small area with puzzles and clues for teens to solve within a time limit. This can be a thrilling and intellectually stimulating experience.
  2. Photo Booth: With fun props and backdrops, a photo booth allows teens to capture memories with friends.
  3. Karaoke: Set up a karaoke machine and let teens show off their singing talents. This booth can provide hours of entertainment and laughter.

Tips for Planning and Organizing a Successful School Carnival


  • Set Clear Goals: Determine how much money you aim to raise and allocate funds accordingly.
  • Seek Sponsorships: Local businesses may be willing to sponsor booths or donate prizes in exchange for advertising.
  • Keep Costs Low: Use DIY decorations and ask for donations of materials and supplies from the community.

Volunteer Recruitment

  • Early Engagement: Start recruiting volunteers well in advance. Parents, teachers, and even older students can contribute.
  • Clear Roles: Assign specific roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone knows what they need to do.
  • Appreciation: Show gratitude for your volunteers with thank-you notes or a small appreciation event after the carnival.

Safety Considerations

  • First Aid: Have a first-aid station manned by qualified personnel.
  • Supervision: Ensure there are enough adult supervisors for each booth, especially those involving physical activities.
  • Emergency Plan: Develop an emergency response plan and communicate it clearly to all volunteers and staff.


School carnivals are a testament to the power of creativity and community involvement. With engaging booth ideas, careful planning, and enthusiastic participation, your school carnival can be an unforgettable event that not only raises funds but also strengthens the bonds within your school community. Let’s make this year’s carnival the best one yet!

By infusing your event with these fun and affordable booth ideas, you’ll ensure a day filled with joy and excitement. So gather your team, start planning, and watch as your school carnival becomes a cherished memory for everyone involved.

Melissa Thompson

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