Planning a large school event can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Astro Jump’s event planners are here to make this job easy for you. Since 1996 we have helped plan and throw over 45,000 events in the DC Metro area. In this time we have learned that while all events have unique elements to them, all successful events pretty much follow the same basic formula. We will explain this formula below to give you a head start on planning.
Step 1: Identify your audience
Some events are for a specific age group of children, like a 5th grade class party for example, but most school events have a wide age range of kids that sometimes include extended families. The first step in planning your event is to identify which age groups you want to provide entertainment for. Begin with the number of grades in your school and decide based on budget if you want to entertain older or younger siblings and even adults.
Step 2: Separating your audience
Large events are all about being together and having fun as a community and family! Even so, that doesn’t mean all of your guests should be using all of the activities together. Once you have identified who your audience is, determine how to break the activites up so that each age group has their own entertainment options.
For example, your elementary school event is for grades K – 5th grade. Since this includes an age range of between 4 and 11 years old it is important for everyone’s safety that all of the kids are not using the same amusements at once. If your budget allows for multiple units the best approach is choose items designated for the various age groups. If your budget is small the event can still operate safely, but you will need to have multiple lines for each unit so that kids of the same size are using it at once. If you have flexibility on items, we suggest breaking the grades into three age groups: Kindergarten, 1st – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades. As the youngest children are the most vulnerable, we like to separate their activities from the others much like the “kiddie pool” at public pools. If your event is for older kids or even includes adults we would suggest a similar approach but as everyone is bigger there can be more overlap.
Step 3: Which items to choose for your groups!
As we have identified and broken down the audience into three groups, it is time to choose activities for each group. The number one factor to think about for large events when choosing items is “event flow.” No one likes lines! While lines are inevitable, your goal should be to keep lines moving. This can be accomplished by choosing the right amusement or even a combination of amusements, budget permitting.
Slides and obstacle courses are the best high flow rentals. Two people at a time enter and within a minute or so they are gone and two more are entering. The end result is that the line keeps moving! Moonbounces are great, but when they are at an event alone without other activities, the lines take longer to move. 8 kids enter and jump for a while and then after a few minutes 8 more kids get on. With the transition time between groups and inevitable trouble maker not wanting to get out, lines for moonbounces just tend to move slower. They are great when combined with an obstacle course or other high flow items at an event, but are not great alone. So what do we choose?!?!
Kindergarten – Toddler moonbounce combo. These units are adorable and have large jumping areas with obstacles, little slides, and other activities inside. Furthermore, with only 5 foot walls on the sides and no roof the kids can all be easily watched while inside. We love these inflatables for the youngest kids.
3rd – 5th grades – These kids are getting older and they want more challenging and engaging activities. To once again keep event flow as our focus, we would recommend at least one larger obstacle course or inflatable slide rental. To keep things new, exciting, and to leave the younger kids dreaming of more someday when they’re finally older, you can add one of our many interactive inflatables as well. These games offer a wide range of novelty activities involving competition and teamwork depending on the one you choose.
Step 4: Activities for Everyone
Now that you have successfully identified your groups and provided activities for each one, it’s time to do some things together! These items help add cohesion to the event and let families enjoy activities together. Depending on your budget, you can go big or small here. Dunk tanks are popular items during warmer months, carnivals games are fun for everyone, and even many sports inflatables can be used by all.
In this category of communal fun you should also consider an entertainer if your budget permits. These professional artists provide exciting talents ranging from face painting, to balloon art, to juggling. Take a look at Astro Jump’s entertainer options and choose the ones you like the most.
Step 5: Raising money!
point we have discussed a lot of fun amusements for your guests to enjoy. Now the fun part, how do we pay for it? Fortunately, Astro Jump’s inventory is so large that we have a wide range of items that will work for any school’s budget. Together with an Astro Jump event planner, you can work out the combination of items that stays within your budget and accomplishes the tasks we discussed above.
At many school events, the PTA or volunteers charge guests for the activities provided. All inflatables are great money makers. Add inexpensive concessions like cotton candy, popcorn, or other event food options to increase the carnival feel to the event and to raise money. Cotton candy specifically above all is loved by every child, so expect a never ending line at the cotton candy machine.
Step 6: Don’t get overwhelmed!
Money and budget are critical factors when planning any event. Once you have identified your group, divided them into categories, and discussed entertainment options for each category, Astro Jump can help you stay within your budget. As you can see from above, there are endless numbers of activities you can have at your event; however, regardless of your budget, the main objectives to planning a successful event can be accomplished with any size budget. If you follow these simple steps your event will be a success. Plan it yourself, or better yet, call us, and our event planners will help you plan it for free. We are here to brainstorm ideas with you and assist throughout the process. We don’t charge anything for event planning and only charge once your rentals have been decided. Our process is 100% transparent and we are here to help you plan an excellent event within your budget.
Your children’s safety is our # 1 priority and Astro Jump® has always taken extra steps to provide the cleanest equipment for your celebrations. In addition to our usual warehouse equipment scrubbing, we are disinfecting upon delivery and again at pick-up to protect your family and our wonderful employees.