If you're planning a carnival for your elementary school's fundraiser, or want to organise a carnival theme for a fun and educational class project, there are a number of enjoyable activities you can include. You can use food, toys and colourful decor to create a carnival that is both entertaining and academic in nature without spending a fortune.
The "fortune teller" feature is popular at carnivals, as people want to know what their futures hold. If you're holding the carnival as a fundraiser, you can ask one of the parents of a child in the classroom to play the fortune teller. Use a fish bowl as the crystal ball, and set up a tent decorated with brightly coloured fabrics for this section of the carnival. Have the fortune teller give positive fortunes to each of the children, such as "you'll get great grades this school year," or "the fundraiser will bring in enough money to pay for your team's uniforms." Send each of the children out of the fortune teller's tent with a favour, like a picture of the child touching the crystal ball, or a homemade fortune cookie with an encouraging saying inside.
Wall of Mirrors
The wall of "fun mirrors" at the carnival allows everyone to see themselves in a silly and distorted way. When children look in the mirrors, they'll see their faces elongated and their bodies wide and round in a quirky way. This is a perfect time to reinforce a lesson about shapes by purchasing mirrors in circle, triangle and square shapes, or placing cutout shapes on certain spots on the mirror to showcase the shapes that children will see when they look into the mirrors. You can include this carnival activity in your classroom by lining a wall with the mirrors and placing a multicoloured sign a few feet in front of the mirror welcoming children to the activity.
A ball toss carnival activity can help to teach children colours and counting. If you're using this at a fundraiser, provide attractive prizes for kids who hit the target with the ball, like plush toys, candies or items with the school's logo, like T-shirts or hats. The ball toss is also ideal for the classroom, since you can give students balls in varying colours and have them identify the colours as they throw the balls. Give each student a specific number of tries to hit each target, and provide a gift bag of prizes like stickers, cookies and mini colouring books for the student who hits the target the most.
A food booth that features famous carnival treats like candied apples, popcorn and funnel cakes makes for a memorable lesson in the classroom. You can supply each student with a bunch of tickets in varying colours, and have them use the tickets as currency for "purchasing" the food at the booth. For instance, you can include a sign that says, "candied apples cost one red ticket and one blue ticket"--this will prompt children to read thoroughly, recognise the right colours that are needed and count the right amount of tickets. You may want to serve as the vendor for the carnival booth, or give students turns "selling" the treats for added practice with counting and colours.