Saturday, September 14, 2013

School Carnival

Last week was Rachel's school carnival. Her class was in charge of the duck pond and since I'm one of the grade parents for her class that meant that I was in charge of the duck pond, a responsibility that was rather easy, truthfully. I had to coordinate volunteers to help set up and take down as well as solicit donations of prizes from other parents in the class. I used SignUp Genius and within 24 hours every slot had been filled. I was amazed.

Other than that we had to make a poster, and Miriam decorated a shoe box to collect tickets.

The day of the actual fair was pretty low-key for parent volunteers. The PTA had arranged for middle/high school students to run all the booths so parents were free to wander the carnival with their children, which was nice.

The girls wanted to go to the duck pond first since we had been collecting prizes for that at home—Rachel was my little packhorse from school; some days she'd come home with her backpack so heavy she could hardly carry it—the girls knew what they might win and already had their hearts set on collecting certain items.

Miriam went first, selected a duck, looked at the number on the bottom, and in her rush to choose a prize fell into the pool. That was pretty funny.

They had various bounce houses set up. Rachel went through the obstacle course but Miriam didn't want to.

They both, however, really enjoyed the castle together.

Poor Benjamin was too young for most (all) of the games but he watched from his stroller with interest.

This was a balloon popping game. I wasn't really sure it would work but the broken balloons on the ground should've told me otherwise. You just throw beanbags at the balloons and however many balloons you manage to pop is the number of prizes you get. Rachel popped two balloon with three bean bags and got two prizes. Miriam popped zero balloons with three bean bags but she still got to choose a prize. They were pretty liberal when it came to handing out prizes, which made happy children all around.

This game was a ring toss with beverages. You got three rings to throw at a drink of your choice. Rachel didn't understand the concept at first and when she was handed the rings she threw all of them at the same time...and missed. They let her try again.

So she threw three rings one at a time...and missed every time. But they still gave her the water bottle.

We thought this toilet paper toss game was pretty funny. We'll have to remember this for our 50th wedding anniversary party. It would be fitting. (You all should come. It's going to be epic.)

Unfortunately our girls weren't very good at tossing toilet paper. I think Rachel got a couple of the rolls in but Miriam didn't get any in.

Our girls did, however, excel at throwing footballs, so at least they played one game successfully.

While the girls were standing in line to get their faces painted, Benjamin and I found a bench to sit down for a little nursing break. And then I let Benjamin play at the playground since he'd just been strapped in his stroller all day watching his sisters have fun. He's getting to be quite the little climber and I just love watching him work hard—he either pouts out his bottom lip or sticks out his tongue.

Here we are back at the bouncy castle. The girls probably would have stayed in there all day if they'd have been allowed!

This time Benjamin had fun bouncing against the outside of the bouncy house. He thought it was awesome.

I had signed up to clean up the duck pond when the fair was over, so while I did that Andrew and the kids swung on the swings. It was a big day for Rachel who finally tweaked her pumping rhythm enough to actually swing by herself. She was really excited about it.

When I got back Andrew assumed that Benjamin would want to come to me so he set him down and Benjamin just sat by his feet.

Miriam wanted me to take pictures of her doing tricks on the rings, so here are those:

And here's Rachel showing off her "face" painting:

Her teacher happened to come up to our family while we were in line for face painting (and before I left with Benjamin) and chatted with us for a moment.

"Are you going to get your face painted?" he asked.

Rachel nodded.

"Miriam, are you going to get your face painted, too?" he asked.

"Maybe," Rachel said, her tone smacking of superiority. "She totally freaked out last time so she might not."

That made anyone within earshot crack up. As things turned out, however, it was Rachel who ended up refusing to get her face painted—she got a flower on her arm instead. Miriam got a princess on her cheek.

"My face just gets itchy a lot and I like to scratch it but I don't like to scratch paint," Rachel explained to me.

All in all the carnival was pretty fun, and relatively inexpensive. Rachel was able to earn 10 tickets by reading 20 minutes every day in the month of August (and let's be honest, she never read 20 minutes per day...she always read way beyond 20 minutes). That's the equivalent of $2.50, since each ticket was "worth" 25 cents. She was so proud of her tickets.

We also bought $10 worth of tickets to supplement our carnival experience. Since we bought them early we got 50 tickets for $10 so we ended up with 60 tickets total.

The girls had fun deciding which games to play. They only split up a couple of times (Rachel did the obstacle course by herself and Miriam did the duck pond a second time while Rachel and Andrew wandered around the book fair). They spent most of the fair running around together like a couple of little buddies, lining up to play games together and proudly handing over the correct number of tickets. It was sweet to watch them being so kind to each other.

Last year I remember always feeling pressured by all the fund raising we were asked to do. It felt like there was always something we were supposed to be selling. Sell this wrapping paper! Sell this cookie dough! Sell these magazines!

It was dreadful.

This year it's possible we're doing even more fundraising but it's fundraising I can actually enjoy: buy one of these $25 coupon books (with $25 worth of coupons at the local grocery store, among other really useful coupons) and sell it to your neighbours if you want, but no pressure! Come to the well-organized, well-stocked carnival with decently priced games (Andrew took the girls to the carnival at Rachel's old school last year and he said it was a bit of a joke) and enjoy a fun afternoon with your kids!

Alright, so that's all we've done this year. But there are other fundraisers planned and they all look like low-pressure, family-fun fundraisers rather than the wander-around-your-neighbourhood-and-beg-people-to-buy-junk fundraisers we were asked to do last year. I'm a fan.

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