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


M. Kasch said...

I was totally rejuvenated (as a teacher.) What a great event! I loved my purply hair and had a blast!
Thanks for putting it on, for the kids, though I had just as much fun! :-)

Jocelyn said...

Chris...this is awsome...looks like tons of fun...I hope when my kids are this age I still know you so you can give me ideas...I look up to you, you are an awsome mom!!!

Christie said...

Jocelyn,whatever, by then, my kids will be grown and I can come help! :)

And Marianne, I can not imagine you needing rejuvenating. You are absolutely one of my most favorite teachers, EVER! And by the way, purple hair is such a great color for you! ;)

KJ said...

Wow, that looks like a really fun night!!