Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After-Testing Fun-Night

Last year our school created an event that also worked as a fundraiser for our school.  We had a family tragedy in the school and as a whole we wanted a way to help the family and get the kids involved.
Like every other school in the country we have limited funds and extra curricular events are often tabled for lack of funding. Also like every other school, we have state mandated testing in the Spring. We decided to hold a After-testing Fun-Night, sort of like a fun fest or activity night. Our school is K-6 so we aren't allowed to have a lock-in but we compromised and they allowed us a late evening from 5:30 - 10:30pm. It is only available to testing aged students, which gives them something to look forward to.

This is the second year we've held the event it and once again, it was a huge success.  I want to tell you about it because it is truly a great fundraiser for limited effort for most of the volunteers.

We plan several activities through out the night. Some events are continuous and others are only available for a limited time.

We start the evening with an outdoor game of capture the flag. With many kids participating (most of the kids want to play) it takes a while for a team to win.  We also have Bingo in our library for students who would prefer to stay inside.

We have an arts and crafts table set up for the entire evening. Typically there are 4-5 crafts/ activities to make and do. This year we made wooden bead people, pom-pom animals (or pom-poms on a string for many kids this year), hanging stars, and a huge play dough table.

For most of the evening we also have a Wii room with two borrowed Wii's.  We use the smart boards for extra large viewing making it far more interactive.  This year we had a popcorn machine on the room  as well for kids to snack on while waiting their turn.

The crazy-hair nail salon is a HUGE hit and that's almost an understatement.  The colored hair spray is one of the few items we had to pay for this year. We always make sure to have plenty on hand as just about everyone gets their hair done.

 We also have a dress-up photo booth going for most of the evening. It amazes me how much the kids continue to love dressing up as they get older. The gals that run this activity for us capture great photos and the kids have so much fun!

For an hour and a half or so, we run a Fear Factor room. I've organized this event for both years and have a ridiculously fun time trying to figure just what to do to push the kids' limits with out going to far.  This year we started with dropping hard dog treats into a metal dog bowl. Depending on how many they missed determined how many bites of dog food they had to eat. I mashed up Spam and put it into cleaned dog food cans.

The second task was to reach into an aquarium of 6 dozen crickets while blindfolded and find one key and one lock and get it unlocked. Some kids had no problem with this while others just could not do it!

The last task was to reach down into a bucket of tripe mixed with V-8 juice and ramen noodles and untie a know in a rope while keeping both hands in the goop.

Last years tasks were slightly tougher but I had more gaggers.  I was trying to control that this year. They still loved doing it. After a child makes it through the eating challenge, taking as much time as they need, we move onto the timed challenges. At the end of the night, the student with the least combined times wins.

We also open up a dance-off for about an hour. It can get a little crazy so we limit the length of it but regardless, the kids make the most of the time they are given and thoroughly enjoy it.

This year we added a Minute to Win it tournament. Again, the volunteer who organized this did a great job and had great ideas. I was able to spend time watching this event and took fun pictures. Some of the event were flat out hysterical.

We also set aside two hours for a dodge ball tournament. We aren't usually allowed to play this at our school so it is a huge treat.  What makes it more fun it that we rotate through, students against adults, boys against girls (adults included) and so much more. We are incredibly fortunate to have one Dad (and his crazy wife- who happens to be my close friend)  who loves organizing this event. He's a military man (or was), has a booming voice that commands respect and the kids all love him. Even our teachers look forward to this event because they get to have fun with the kids and parents and they know the event in under control at all times. We take this event to the end of our evening since most of the kids join in. It enables us to clean up other things while most of the kids are contained.

We offer a movie about an hour and a half before the night ends for kids who need a quieter activity. We also have a board game table available at all times through out the evening.

About a half hour after our night begins we start serving dinner.  The gal (one of my closest friends) who takes care of the food room is nothing short of amazing when it comes to making a pleasing dining area, even for kids. She loves doing it and the kids always know in addition to pizza, fun delicious side items will be there for them, including yummy treats!

 If you were considering such an event, here are a couple details we've had success with.

*We charge $25.00 per student for the 5 hour event but accept any donation. That means even if a child can not pay, they can come. *There are no additional expenses at any time during the evening; dinner is included.
*Although the event is run by a it's own committee, we run this event through the PTA in order to have insurance coverage.  *We make this an event to that gives back to our community in some way. Last year we donated the money to a teacher who had a family tragedy, this year it went to a students family whose sister was diagnosed with cancer. It gives the students a chance to give back. Decide who or what organization the money will go to before your event to get the kids involved.  Before the evening is over we are sure to announce how much money they raised with their donations. *Focus on the talents and hobbies of your parents and volunteers to determine your activities.  People will come forward if they can share what they know and love!  *Have a donation can at the sign-in table for late donations. *Encourage your teachers to come and make sure they are there to interact with the kids, not to work the event. The kids will enjoy this and it will rejuvenate your teachers! *Have Fun!

I'm linking to Ramblings of a Crazy Woman's  We Made it! Friday Showcase

Wordless Wednesday 04-28

Cali was playing school by herself.  I find it quite funny- the grades she gave everyone. Of course hers is the "A".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Outdoor Challenge # 9

I am so behind posting our Outdoor Challenge experiences but because we did it as often as time allowed in our ridiculously busy schedule I want to document the fun things the girls were able to do as a result of it.

On the day Cassi, Cali and I made our first trek of the season to Capt. Cook Park, Cori went shooting with her (very proud) Daddy!

I don't think she enjoyed his large (I don't know the caliber) rifle. She said she was a bit afraid of it. But she thoroughly enjoyed shooting the 22 handgun. I think, in an attempt to torture me, she insists she will be hunting an Autumn season soon!  :(

Monday, April 26, 2010

Better Late- Than Ever Easter Egg Hunt

Every year it gets better and better although this year we had to wait for it. It just wouldn't work on Easter weekend. We had so many scheduling conflicts for all the players and we were trying desperately hard not to sacrifice anyone. In the end, Scott ended up being out of town and we missed him and his egg hiding skills. Aside from that, we had the best time ever!

We always try to mix it up and think of new ways to keep the kids coming back. This year we offered the Senior edition. There were 6 graduating Seniors this year. Plus Amber and Anastasia who've already graduated, and the many younger players. (Thank goodness for them, we still have an excuse to egg hunt!)

I am going to guess we hid between 400 and 500 eggs and oodles of silver eggs, eggs with tickets for special prizes AND we even hid two-liter bottles of pop. Who has ever done that? GiGi found a a great deal on them and decided she would bring them for the kids. I figured we may as well hide them. :) You should have seen the faces of the first kids to find them. It was pretty funny.

Grandpa, Rocky, GiGi, Greta and I hid the eggs. Grandpa and Rocky took on the task of hiding the special eggs. And it took a l-o-n-g time. I think that means these kids are spoiled! There were lots of prizes and money to be found!

I made Grandpa keep a list of where he hid the eggs however he didn't notate which ones were the big money eggs and which weren't. It turned out pretty funny though and I think he confused himself even more by trying to decipher his own clues.

After the eggs were found, and our bellies were full the kids started looking at their loot. Holly came up with really fun tasks for the Senior kids to to do in order to get their prizes. She chose great things that would help them at college and even made them a filing system-box to start the next stage of their lives. The funniest task was making them find an adult and jump up and down in front of that person until the adult noticed and granted them their prize; a jump drive.

I always have those moments in which I get a little sad at how fast time is passing by but I must say I know how blessed we are that these kids love us enough to humor us year after year. I have an Aunt Karen whom I swear misses Easter Egg Hunts as much as I love having them. Every year I tell her to host an Adult egg hunt and I figure the day will come that I could be hosting my own but in the mean time I'll be praying to the Lord above that the kids will keep coming! And as a back up plan, I'll keep searching for ridiculous ways to keep it obnoxiously fun so can't stop joining in. Here's hoping it works!

Happy late Easter to you by the way and if you are ever up for an Easter Egg hunt, I know a place where there's one every year and it just gets better and better!

amongst friends #25

The Letter V

 There were lots of entries this week. I am a little behind in posting due to a lot of illness floating around our house. :(
I was fascinated by the entries this week and how people decided to express "V".  I never thought of using angles in any way. I am surprised two people did. While Cori and Cassi didn't technically take their photos they both thought of old pictures of themselves to use with no prompting from us. Oh and Kelly get the prize for the ickiest photo this week. :)  There are few letters to go, jump in and get your feet wet. After we finish the alphabet we are moving to themes for a while! I hope you join in soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Outdoor Challenge #11

First bear sighting of the season-Wayyyy to early.
This happened back on April 25th. That is amazingly early.  I was driving down our road looking at the trail and talking to my Dad on the phone.  I told him I thought I saw a moose but as I kept driving I realized it looked a lot hairier than a moose would be.

As I got closer, they galloped off down the trail. I jerked into my driveway, ran into the house and grabbed my camera, then ran back outside.  As I walked towards the trail, they were slowly grazing their way down the trail.

All I could get in my lens was Bear-butt. :) and I thought you might enjoy seeing it too!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a Sad Day but a Joyous Occasion

Weird huh?  Both of the older girls had the most wonderful kindergarten teacher. She truly made Kindergarten a fabulous experience. I couldn't have wanted for anything more than what she made it for each of them.

This year she is retiring.  Just one year shy of being able to teach all of my girls. Cali is devastated. She remembers many of the wonderful activities her big sisters did and the amazing experiences they had. I am grateful she was able to be a part of those.

Our school held a retirement celebration for Mrs. Bryson at her last Kindergarten class performance.  It was an especially moving ceremony and my heart still aches with longing for her, for Cali's first year.

I am certain Kindergarten will be fabulous for Cali and we have high hopes for the teacher she will get but we will miss Mrs. Bryson.  She will always hold a very special place in our hearts.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Outdoor Challenge #10

There are no limits to how my girls will spend their time outside. If anything stops them, it would likely be the cold. Rain however is no problem for us!

In early Spring we had some regular afternoon showers going on. (I am still catching up on posts.) Cassi took the opportunity to do some wet-chalk drawings. Then we snapped a few fun photos. :)