How One School Collected 905 Soda Bottles...
Without begging and pleading (and you can too!) An elementary school in Texas had a genius idea to encourage their students to donate free sodas for their 2 Liter Ring Toss Game.
Elementary school carnivals are generally used as a fundraiser, so keeping costs down is imperative. Asking your school's students to donate some items can be incredibly helpful for your carnival-planning budget - but most PTA and PTO leaders will tell you its hard to get parents to help out. Not because they don't want to but because parents can feel busy and sometimes miss a donation deadline even if they intended on helping.
So, how do you get astounding participation from your students when asking them to donate inexpensive items to the school carnival? Continue reading to find out!
(Last updated by the Carnival Savers Team on July 25, 2021.)
Have a Grade Level or Classroom Contest
Nope, not as in a contest for A's, B's and C's! This Texas elementary school encouraged their students to donate soft drink bottles by running a contest between the grade levels.
It's a school-wide contest where every student and grade level participates.
The school above decided the winning grade level received a prize equally as genius as this entire donation idea, which we'll explain more below.
However, the students at this school were so enthusiastic about winning the contest for their grade level that they ended up donating 905 Two Liter Soda Bottles -- which, of course, were FREE for the school!
Students Received a Prize (that cost the PTA almost nothing)
The students of the winning grade received a prize that was essentially free for the school PTA. "How could a school both get, and give out, free prizes?" You might ask. "Doesn't everything require money?!"
Fortunately, the answer is NO! This elementary school gave out 10 free raffle tickets to all individuals in the winning grade level. Technically, raffle tickets didn't cost the school any extra money, because the tickets themselves are pennies each and the relatively pricey raffle supplies are donated as well.
Of course, as adults, we know that giving raffle tickets slightly dilutes the chance that everyone else will have to win... but to kids, raffle ticket prizes are very exciting, and the joy is within the chance to win!
The 2 Liter Ring Toss Was Soooo Popular...
The 2 Liter Ring Toss at this school became so incredibly popular that they had to have TWO games going at once! Kids were dying to play and win the sodas that they, and their friends, brought for the contest!
There are so many flavors and colors that they can toss a ring onto a win -- perhaps they wanted to win them all! These students were EXCITED to donate soft drinks, participate in the grade-level contest, possibly win raffle tickets, and then finally get to play the infamous soda ring toss game! The amount of excited generated might not have been as high if the students didn't participate in creating the game themselves by donating sodas.
So... Why Did This Work?
Winning a soda sound kind-of boring to adults, but to kids this has traditionally been one of the most popular booths at any school carnival we have visited!
Kids love to participate and help out for community causes -- and rounding up a bunch of soft drinks by grade level is certainly a fantastic way to do so!
The grade level soda contest was extremely popular amongst all the students, because the entire school was able to participate. They knew that their sodas would be featured in the much-loved cola ring toss that they'd get to play later in the year during the school carnival. Plus, they knew that they could be the one to help their grade level win the soda contest! Kids love more chances to win a classroom raffle basket and the students at this school were happy that their grade level could possibly win.
Plus, soft drinks are an exciting "junk food" that many kids likely don't have unrestricted access to at home! It's a sweet treat that kids can win and share with their family.
School carnivals are a safe way for parents to allow their kids to indulge their sweet tooth because once it's gone, it's gone -- and they know their child will be primarily eating healthy foods from school and home afterwards.
Easy Ways To Implement This Idea For Your Carnival:
1. Add the 2 Liter Ring Toss to your carnival game list if you are not already including it. Sodas are heavy, so this school had the fantastic idea to get their students to take them to school, one-by-one. Make sure you'll need hundreds of this product!
2. Make a grade level contest out of the supply chosen. If you are really organized, you can even make this a classroom contest and see how that goes and increase the number of tickets given to the winning classroom. Tell your students that whichever grade level/classroom brings the most supplies will win "10 raffle tickets" or whatever you choose!
3. Request help from your student leaders to help with the collection, counting and poster-board display of of the soda bottles. Student leaders can arrive early to school during the "collection week". Give all students in the winning grade level raffle tickets (which are really almost a "free" gift)!
4. If your lines are too long at the 2 Liter Ring Toss Game, allow room to set up two games to run at the same time! Watch as the kids love playing the game that they, and their friends, have donated supplies to; this makes the game even more fun!
Thank you for reading our carnival hints & tips blog. Until next time, folks!
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