These Carnival games and ideas are easy to set up and inexpensive to put together and most use recycled materials.
All of the
games listed have been tested and at birthday parties and are the kids
See our Carnival Theme Birthday Party Ideas for more fun ideas.
Carnival GamesMoonwalk or Bounce House
A great way to entertain children of all ages at a carnival.
Set up a station under a tent for face painting. You will need a face paints, paper towels, paint brushes, cosmetic sponges, face glitter, small table, a few chairs and several hand held mirrors. Make sure to designate a space for the line to form. For extra fun have the face painter dress up as a clown or character.
Create balloon animals for the party guests to take home.
Mystery Fishing Carnival Game
Kids fish for prizes in this fun game!
For the "water" use a very large furniture or appliance box, hang a sheet across a doorway, or cover a table so that the "fish" (and the person in the water) are hidden from view.
Tie a string to a stick and attach a clothespin on the end of the string.
Birthday party guests take turns "casting" the line into the "water". The person in the "water" puts small gifts, favors or candy on the clothespin and then tugs the string to signal that there is a "fish" on the line.
Then kids pull up the line and retrieve their prize. This is a simple but fantastic birthday party game that kids adore! Have lots of prizes because kids will want to do this carnival game again and again.
For this carnival game you will need a table, three cups and a ping pong ball for this fun carnival game. Have the booth operator set out the three cups face down and show the player that they are putting the ping pong ball under one of them. Then shuffle the cups around without lifting them from the table. Ask the player to guess which cup the ball is under.
Kids love trying to figure out which one the ball is under! Give prizes for correct guesses.
Use empty cans (paint them bright colors) and stack them in a pyramid shape on a table. Have guests throw bean bags at the pyramid and try to knock them over.
Fill 2 liter bottles with water and set them in a triangle shape about 4 feet from where the children will be throwing the rings.
We made this ring toss game by recycling water bottles. We hot glued them down to a large box top and then decorated around them. The white tops were worth 1 point and the blue tops were worth 3 points.
Duck Pond Grab
Carnival guests pick rubber ducks out of a wading pool - they win a prize according to the number on the bottom of the duck.
Carnival guests pick up a duck to see what number is on the bottom then win the prize that corresponds to the number of the prize basket. If the carnival guest picks up a duck with the number 4 on the bottom, they get a prize form the number 4 basket. It’s a simple game, but children love it! The more ducks the better in the pool … give them away for party favors after the carnival. On these ducks (see picture) we simply put a "W" on the bottom of some of the ducks for "winner" - then the child got to pick a prize.
*If you want your duck pond inside use foam peanuts or rice in place of water.
Ping Pong Ball Toss
Set out fish bowls or use large plastic cups for this fun game.
Give players 3 ping pong balls and tell them to try and get the balls into the cups. This is harder then it looks because the ping pong balls bounce around! You can also choose several random cups and color them a different color and if a ball lands in the special cups the player gets a bigger prize. Tip: Make sure and contain this game with at least 3 walls as the balls tend to bounce everywhere.
For this Ping Pong ball game we used large and small cups - the larger cups were double points since there were fewer of them.
Buy or make a large circular target with different point values (like a dart board). Use small circles of Velcro with adhesive on the back and attach them to ping pong balls. Kids throw the ping pong balls at the target for tickets.
Lucky Lollipops Carnival Game
Buy a very large Styrofoam cone from the craft store and paint it a bright color. Take lots of lollipops and color the end of about ¼ of them using a permanent marker. Stick the lollipops into the cone - make sure the mark can not be seen. The children choose a lollipop and keep it - if they choose a lollipop that has a mark on the end they get to keep that lollipop and choose a prize, or they can have another turn.
Super Tic Tac Toe
Create a super Tick Tac Toe board (at least 4' x 4' ... if you have the room make it as large as possible!) with butcher paper or a large sheet and duct tape for the lines ... or if you have a large flat area of concrete you can put the duct tape down directly on the ground.
Create a large playing board with a sheet or butcher paper (at least 4' x 4').
Give each player 5 - 10 pennies (or recycle water bottle lids) and ask them to try and get their markers to land completely in the circle - they can't hang over the circle onto the playing board.
Tip: If you don't have time to make a board for the circle toss game lay out a large mat from the game of Twister and have players throw pennies onto the mat.
Bozo Style Bucket Toss
Line up 6 buckets in a straight line about 8" apart. Players stand in front of the buckets about 4' away at the starting line and try and throw ping pong balls into the buckets starting at the closest and progressing to the furthest away. Give prizes away depending on how many buckets they can complete. To make the game easier for smaller children use bean bags.
Fill a large rectangle container with water and place a floating plastic duck in the center. Two players line up at opposite ends of the container and use squirt guns to try and make the duck touch the other players side of the container (or set up a line 6 - 8" from the sides that the duck has to cross). Provide large tubs of water at each side for the players to re-load their water guns.
Guess How Many
Fill a large clear plastic jar with colorful candies, M & M's, jellybeans, rings, carnival mardi gras type necklaces etc. and ask carnival guests to guess how many items the jar contains. Set out slips of colorful paper and pencils for them so they can write down their name and guess. Provide a decorated container to hold their guesses. At the end of the carnival announce the winner and let them take home the contents of the jar. Tip: Count the items while filling the jar - write down the number! :)
Color Me Wild
Use colored hairspray and glitter hair spray to color streaks or give all over color to carnival guests. You'll need a table, chairs, drop cloths, sheets or garbage bags to put over the guests clothes and hand held mirrors.
Guests pay the sheriff
a ticket to put someone they name in jail for 3 minutes. Give the
sheriff a whistle and handcuffs to go and arrest the person the player
has named. The person is then brought back and placed inside the
jail. They can either wait the 3 minutes or pay a ticket to get
out right away.
Party games just for girls - Girls birthday party games
Party games for boys only - Boys birthday party games
Party Games for all ages - Birthday Party Games
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Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids