I need ideas for a church harvest festival, but it has to be really inexpensive, we have practically no money.
By Vallerie from ID
I do this each October for our church. This year we have 15 games planned. The most popular with the small children is the fish pond. They have a "fishing pole" ( a branch with a string on it and a clothes pin) that they throw over a curtain, and we pin a prize on it. We give it a little yank so they feel like they've caught a fish. Some children go through this 20 times! Then there's the maze we did one year. We blindfolded them and lead them by the hands through a maze, explaining all the while about the importance of following Jesus and trusting Him when you can't see where He is leading. For a prize we gave glow-in-the-dark necklace (Jesus is the Light).
There is always a cupcake walk, face painting and a crafts table. One lady always runs a dart board with balloons on it. A man painted a 4x6' stand-up board with a dragon and hung a small basketball hoop on it so they could take turns throwing the ball. This year we are adding a Spin and Win from Oriental Trading and a ring toss (rope rings over a cardboard saguaro cactus since our them is the Wild West). A fun game is to have two children sit facing each other on the floor armed with two spoons each. Put a ping pong ball between them and have them try to push the ball into the other's legs. If it touches you, you lose. We will probably do multiple teams at the same time. Everyone else can cheer for their hero of choice. We always have a meal with it, too. This year we'll probably do beef stew and biscuits so they can be cowboys, and we'll offer a prize for everyone who wears a western outfit. Hope this helps.
Here are several ideas:
-David, the Giant Killer's Target Practice - Shoot ping pall balls at giant's mouth with sling shot (giant made out of cardboard box).
-Daniel and the Lion's Den - Throw bean bags at stand-up lions, and try knocking them over.
-David and Jonathan Archery Field - Bow and arrow target booth.
-Loaves and Fish Left-Over Toss - Toss "plastic left-overs" into baskets from behind a line.
-Delilah's Full Service Salon - Hair and Face painting.
-Peter's Duck Pond - Plastic ducks have numbers on bottom.
-Smile! Jesus Loves You - Toss bean bags through happy face eyes and mouth.
-Pearl of Great Price Treasure Hunt- Sift in sand for hidden treasures.
-Follow the Footsteps of Jesus - Cupcake or cake walk
-Ruth and Boaz' Haystack full of candy - Give children 60 seconds to find all the candy they can out of a pile of hay.
-Good Samaritan M.A.S.H. Unit - Bandage arms or heads like the poor man beaten on the highway (children love fake blood).
-Manna Bites - Children try to take a bite out of hanging powdered donuts, without using hands.
I am planning to have a fall harvest party and here are some of the things I plan to do.
Pumpkin patch ring toss - Either use pumpkins and have kids throw rings at the stems and whoever gets the ring around the stem wins or you could cut out a bunch of pumpkin shapes from orange cardstock and put them on sticks that you put in the ground, then have the kids toss rings at them to hook over the pumpkins and get a prize.
You could even make the rings yourself, which is what I am doing. They can be made out of cardboard by just cutting out a large circle and a small circle in the middle of the large one, then you can just glue on decorative or construction paper for decoration.
Pumpkin been bag toss: Depending on the age of the kids you can either have a large box which you cut out 2 large pumpkins from cardstock or colored paper and glue to cardboard or a posterboard and cut out, then glue those to the front/back sides of the box. The kids throw bean bags into the box to get a prize. If there's older kids you can cut out a large pumpkin from heavy cardboard and cut several holes in it, then mark numbers on it and the kids throw the bean bags in the holes to get a prize that goes with that number.
You can even make bean bags yourself as I did with just some old fabric (I used an old shirt). Just cut it out whatever shape you want it (regular square ones or for the fall party you could make candy corn or pumpkins) and sew it together by hand and fill them with regular beans (just by a bag of cooking beans).
Duck pond: You can use a large plastic bowl (like you would put candy in for halloween), which I found one with regular pumpkins on it (not jack-o-lanterns) and use regular rubber ducks (got several together for $1 at Dollar General) and write numbers on each one, fill the bowl w/ water and you're all set.
You can have the bobbing for apples game. You would only need a large container (you can get small plastic ones at the Dollar General to put the apples in) and a bag or few bags of apples.
You can also have a face painting booth, which you would only need the face paint, and candy apples booth where you just get some apples, caramel, and some candy like chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. to put on them. They can be $.50 or $1.00 each and the money can go toward the church.
If you can get a large thick cardboard or piece of plywood you could trace a picture of a scarecrow and some pumpkins and/or corn stocks onto it and cut out the scare crow's face, then use a piece of board to hold it up and the kids can stand behind it with their face where the hole is for taking pictures.
You can make little scarecrow favor bags out of brown sandwhich bags. These are the ones I made last year: http://www.orientaltrading.com/foam ... r-gift-bag-craft-kit-a2-48_4595.fltr I just saved the picture onto my computer, opened it and enlarged it, then traced the pices for the hat, scarf, etc. I cut those out of foam that I got at Dollar General that was already sticky on that back and just stuck them onto the paper bag. I filled the bags with a few pieces of candy (I got the dollar 6 packs of little candy bars at Dollar General) and a little toy (for $1-2 from the Dollar General). You could even make them and sell them at a booth.
For game prizes:
I went to the Dollar General and got $1-2 items from the toy section and also went to Party City and got some game prizes (they have lots of things like cazoos, slinkys, stuffed animals, coloring banners and markers, yoyos, etc. for $.50-2.00).
Decorations: I made most of the decorations myself. I just Google searched scarecrow pictures, pumpkin pictures, leave pictures, and other fall pictures and traced them and colored them in (if there are a lot of kids at the church they could color the pictures and you could hang them up for decoration around the church or wherever the festival is held). I even used fall and harvest coloring pages I found online. I printed some, colored them with markers, and got $1 frames from the Dollar General and hung them up as decoration. I traced and cut out leaves from construction paper and will hang them around the rooms for decoration as well, and I am making a sign that says "Happy fall y'all" (either with cut out leaves on the sides of the 'banner' or by putting one letter on a seperate leaf). I just use Word on the computer and type out the words "Happy fall y'all" and print it. I then trace the letters onto the leaves so it looks neater than my handwriting.
I just google searched harvest party invitations, found one with a scarecrow I liked, saved it to the computer, printed it in the size I wanted, and then traced it and added my own information for the party. If you needs lots of them, just make one then scan it and print as many as you need. You can either leave them on just the paper or print them onto cardstock so they are thicker.
For food: I just have hot dogs, smores, and some candy (which is usually a bag of the hollween candy mix you can get, again, at the Dollar General)... and the candy apples this year as well. We usually have a bonfire, so we roast hot dogs and marshmellows for the smores.
I always make everything by hand myself when I have a party because I can't afford to buy everything already made. I also enjoy making things and it adds more of a personal touch to the party and shows everyone you took the time to make the things for the party you are having for them.
Do a cakewalk. Find some cheap things to make online and have craft tables to do them at from donated items. Everyone has something they don't want or don't use. Ask also for things to give as gifts for door prizes. Get the congregation in the mood and sweep them up into a sharing mood.
White Elephant Sale, Baked Goods Sales, some simple games for both children and adults. Games like the 3 Legged Race for instance really livens up a any type of get-togther. If you have room , set up Horseshoes, and teach the youngsters. Pinatas can be made both for adults and children.
Appoint several committees so that just a few people don't have to take on all the work.
Sell Donuts and coffee or hot chocolate, hot dogs, hamburgers and pop corn.
Get donations from merchants, things to raffle off and make the ticket prices something like 3/$1. You'll sell
lots more tickets than if you charge $1 a ticket. Have at least one really good prize like a TV or a computer, and if possible, ask the dealer for discount towards a good cause. Be sure to list every contributing business who helps you and post their names prominently, and also in your church bulletin.
Short treasure hunts and Spin-the-Bottle for kids to win little prizes instead of kissing games. A hayride, even
if it's just a big red wagon with some hay in it. Let the larger children pull the little ones around certain areas.
Think 1890 instead of 2010, and come up with things from long ago to teach the children how much fun the old pioneer people may have had fun with.
Enjoy every minute and take lots of pictures. And don't forget to gather up all the news about the event, and print out a "newspaper" to go into the church bulletin.
Plastic water bottles are good for ball toss or duck pin bowling, add a little something in the bottom. Matchbox car races. Card board painted like a football field for bean bag throw. Have a miniature hole in one. There is always draw a hand turkey, or decorate sugar cookies. Make a scarecrow with old clothes and stuff them with newspaper cut old sheets into squares stuff for the head tie it all together. I get old sheets from second hand stores for about two dollars. Have fun.
If there is a furniture store nearby, you could get the cardboard boxes that the furniture comes in and build a huge maze. This will just require the cardboard and duct tape! This is very inexpensive aand the kids will have a blast!
I see an older post here about a gypsy fortune tent which is actually a witnessing tent. Could somebody elaborate on this project?
Daniel in the Lion's Den- This is a relay game.
1. Empty room
2. Objects: Orange parking lot cones, chairs, table
any thing that would slow a contestant down.
3. Boom Box Recorder
4. Taped CD of a Lion Roaring- Check your library
5. Male Doll
6. Can Meat
7. Timer or Stop Watch
Object is to rescue Daniel (the doll) in less than 60 seconds, replacing doll with can meat to feed the make believe Lion, hurry or the Lion will eat you too, enlist a zealous teen or volunteer to test the game then adjust the time. Give small bag of candy when you have a winner.
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