It's A Summer Fair and Your Kid is the Star!
Blow Away the Boredom
When summer strolls in it brings the state and county fairs. What better fun, and hours of entertainment, than to have your own neighborhood fair. If you live in the suburbs and are lucky enough to be part of a community with lots of kids then the deal is even sweeter.
With some organization and assistance from adults your children can easily throw together a neighborhood ‘children’s fair’ in a matter of a week or two-depending on a few logistics, such as location, (a large backyard or common area will work nicely), and preparation of games and activities. In the spirit of teaching your child lessons in giving to others all proceeds, above the cost of supplies, can be donated to a cause or charity that the group collectively decides on.
Here are easy steps to follow in the planning and orchestrating what could be an annual activity.
1. Talk with your neighbors and make a list of participants
2. Have a preliminary plan that offers a general direction, such as the location and size, activities, etc., while maintaining flexibility for any input from the group.
3. Designate one or two people to facilitate the organization and time schedule to keep things on track.
4. Remember that this is your child’s activity-don’t take over and lose the focus of this ‘kid’ activity.
Common Fair Activities
Lemonade or Kool-Aid stands are easy to manage for kids. A large camping jug, paper cups, and a table with a sign should be sufficient to set up a stand.
Cookies, cupcakes or brownies are easy treats for kids to help mom or dad bake and bag for sale.
There are two approaches kids can take when setting up games: scatter the game activities throughout the selected yard, or section off a ‘game’ area and place all the games there. It will depend on how much space you have. Of course, one can scale the plans down to fit the accommodations.
Moving activities include: Potato sack race, egg on a spoon race, two legged race, egg toss, etc.
Solo activities include: pin the tail on the donkey, fishing for a prize, ring toss, finding buried treasure, face painting, and making a simple craft.
Things to do continued...
How about a pet show contest? Instead of just one category, such as dogs, which not every child owns, make it possible for any pet to get into the act-even the goldfish! Again, keep in mind the size of space you have and how long the fair is supposed to be open for.
You can easily get around the problem of having to pet sit all day by designating a set time when members of the audience can vote on the contestants. Some of the categories for prizes can be:
Biggest, smallest, longest or / and shortest tail, most scales, most feathers, loudest, quietest, most active, least active, scariest, cutest, most similar to its owner…
Have plenty of ribbons to go around.
Neighbor’s got talent: have a talent contest for any child who wants to participate. Again, take a tally of the number of participants and the time to do their act and schedule a block of time for the audience to view and vote.
Talent does not have to be limited to a musical genre. Magicians, cheerleaders, or even artists can be encouraged to join in. Remember Sandra Bullock in ‘Miss Congeniality’? Well, her ‘talent’, so to speak, was playing a set of glasses filled with different levels of water. Remember to smile and applaud loudly for those whose talent is bewildering.
Inexpensive trophies would be an added bonus for the winners.
A watermelon eating contest is always an adventure-and plenty messy. This can be especially attractive to older kids who want to prove something, (or very hungry kids)!
Blowing the biggest bubble gum bubble contest-not what parents usually want their child to engage in, but it is a possibility.
Fun Fair Activities
Things to see
Every fair has them and what you can help your child exhibit is his collection. Unless this is an expensive collectable, have him carry his collection of marbles, or action figures, etc and display it in an attractive box. Again, keeping in mind its value this part of the fair may need to be set aside for things of little real value.
What’s a fair without the guy on the soap box hawking his wares? In the children’s fair tables of yard sale items from their toy box, book shelves, basements and garages-all kid oriented, can be set up and sold. These are the items that they are willing to part with and ‘clean out their closets’. Remember: all proceeds go to charity, so in the event the item does not sell DO NOT PUT IT BACK WHERE IT CAME FROM. Bag it and donate it to a drop box for charity.
Some additional suggestions for success
If your plan is to bring in people from the surrounding neighborhoods to participate as fair goers, then don’t forget to post an ad in the local paper. Usually, if it is for a charity cause, it is free. Also, have the group create some clever fliers on the computer and hang those in favorite meeting places around town at least one week ahead of the proposed Fair Day.
I’m sure that between planning, set up, and running the Fair, you will keep your child busy and free from boredom for many hours. “Happy Fair Day”.