Who doesn’t love a fun spring event? Between carnivals, picnics, and field days, families create some of their best school memories. So it’s important to make sure these events run as smoothly as possible, and a key factor for any outdoor event is safety. 

We’ve collected safety tips that we think will come in handy as you plan your event. Assuming most of you will skip daredevil stunts like flying dogs (see above photo☺), we’ll keep our tips focused on the basics!

Also, a good first step is to make sure your group is up to date with insurance coverage. It’s helpful to check our Insurance FAQs page to see whether your activities and games are covered. For more general information on insurance, go to our main insurance page. You can also call our leader support team at 800-644-3561 with questions. 

1. Designate “go-to” people for your event. These are the folks who can answer volunteer questions (especially from newbies) while the event is under way and respond to any emergencies. Give their phone numbers to all your volunteers.  You may even want to try  walkie-talkies for communication. Your school administration may have these devices and allow you to borrow them.

2. Have name badges on all volunteers so families know who to ask for help. 

3. Add a volunteer or two at the entrance and exits of busy events like carnivals to prevent children from wandering off. 

4. Do a check of all  games and activities, especially if they’re donated games. Look for choking hazards and broken pieces. 

5. Inspect the larger carnival booths and activities to make sure they are sturdy and in good working condition. If you’re uncertain, ask a building maintenance person to give them a look. 

6. Keep equipment and large structures away from buildings. They can become climbing devices for kids. (Picture them up on the school roof!)

7. Have a hand-washing station set up with wipes and hand sanitizer gel so kids and parents can clean up. 

8. Keep extra bug spray and sunscreen on hand just in case parents ask for it. 

9. Tape down extension cords. 

10. Make sure you have an adult volunteer at each of the game or activity stations.

11. Keep any cooking equipment—grills, warmers, electric pots—away from the main event area. 

12. Have an on-site medical emergency kit and make sure all volunteers know where it is. 

13. Have a planned evacuation spot, like the school gym. This sounds ominous, we know. But in the event of heavy rain or a thunderstorm, it’s good to have a plan. Get the word out to all volunteers and even practice getting to the gym with them. 

14. Set up a shaded area for families. This is especially helpful for parents with babies or young children who may need a short break. 

15. Have extra water and freeze pops on hand if a hot day is forecast. 

16. Have a plan to keep signs and other items tacked down just in case you have a windy day. Extra duct tape, clothespins, and small weights will do it. 

17. If an activity requires water, like a fishing game, set it up away from any electrical cords or outlets.