21 Fun Carnival Games And Activities For Kids

Kids love attending carnivals as they enjoy games like fun adventure rides and participating in activities to win fancy and exciting prizes. In this post, we give you some mind-blowing ideas for carnival and amusement activities for kids. These exciting activities will add more fun and attractions to the carnival and bring out your child’s most creative and exciting version. Read this post to learn more about the preparation material required to ace this carnival with joy for your kids.

In This Article

Fun Carnival Games And Activities For Kids

1. Duck pond

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A large tub or kid’s pool
  • Sharpie
  • Small, rubber ducks
  • Water
  • Numbered buckets
  • Small prizes like small toys or stickers

How To:

  1. Fill the tub with water.
  1. Write the numbers 1 to 4 under the ducks. The numbers depend on how many prize buckets you have.
  1. Now make each prize bucket with a number conforming to the one on the duck.
  1. Let each kid take turns at picking a duck and selecting a prize from the prize bucket.
  1. Return the duck to the tub for the next child’s turn.
protip_icon Do remember
You do not need a big budget and expensive equipment to organize a game at a carnival. Regular bottles, bucket, dishes, and softballs are enough to make a fun game.

2. Panko

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Round disks
  • Number buckets with prizes
  • Panko game board

How To:

  1. Give each child a disc.
  1. Ask them to take turns in dropping the disc from the top. The number slot the disk lands in will be the bucket the kid can select the prize from.

Tip:

If you are inviting young children for the carnival, make a small planko board and use the coasters to play the game.

3. Cola ring toss

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Cola bottles (we suggest that you buy plastic cola bottles to avoid the risk of wastage)
  • Cane Rack Rings for tossing
  • 2-liter bottles of soda and colas
  • A table

How To:

  1. Set a 2 to 4 dozen of cola bottles on the booth or table.
  1. Give each player five rings to try their hands tossing on one of the soda bottles.
  1. If the player successfully tosses a bottle, they will get a 2-liter soda bottle as the prize.
  1. If they ring more than one, then they have to choose between the two bottles.
  1. You can also offer consolation prizes like snacks and treats if the players are unable to ring a bottle.

Free Worksheets and Printables for Kids

4. Little squirts shooting gallery

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Ping-pong balls or plastic golf balls
  • Crowns of different sized drinking bottles
  • Rope
  • Water guns
  • Buckets of water

How To:

  1. Line ping-pong balls on the crowns of the bottles.
  1. Fill the water guns with water and keep a hose or a bucket of water handy for re-filling them.
  1. On the playing area, mark a line with a rope for the kids to stand behind. Mark the line farther back for the older kids.
  1. Now let each kid take turns at shooting the balls.
  1. Reward the child who shoots down the balls off the bottle crown. This game is fun, especially with a large group.

5. Cold potato

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Ice cubes
  • Balloons

How To:

  1. Take a bunch of ice cubes and place it inside the balloon.
  1. Put the balloon back in the freezer. Leave it for a few days.
  1. Burst the balloon and peel it away from the ice. The ice will take the shape of a potato.
  1. Now divide the kids into teams of five.
  1. Give each team an ice cube. The players have to rub the ice cube on their palms and then pass to another teammate.
  1. The team that manages to melt the ice cube first will be the winner.

6. Polka dot game

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A large sheet of paper or twister board
  • Marker or watercolors
  • Coins
  • Table

How To:

  1. Take a large sheet and draw some polka dots on it. Cover the table with the sheet.
  1. Now tell the kids to throw the coins on the sheet. They have to get the coin completely on the dot.

Variation:

  1. This popular party game can also be played on a twister board.
  1. Put candies in the dots on the twister board and tell the kids to throw the coins and slide the candy off the circle and place the coin instead.

7. Dart throw

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A thick board or a piece of wood
  • Tape or thumbtacks
  • Balloons

How To:

  1. Attach the balloons to the cardboard or wood and affix on a playing area.
  1. Give each player three darts to throw at the balloons. You can use large balloons to make the game easier and small balloons if you want to make the game challenging.
  1. Reward the child who manages to burst 2 or more balloons with the dart.

Variation:

  1. Fill the balloons with beans along with small slips of folded pieces of paper inside it. The slip will contain the prize name.
  1. Let the kids throw darts at the balloon. They will receive the prize written on their slips of paper.
protip_icon Do remember
Ensure that the kids know how to handle the darts with care and do not fool around with it since its point is sharp and can hurt someone. Also attach the dart board against a wall to avoid the dart accidentally hitting anybody.

8. Bean game

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Straws
  • Paper plates
  • Beans

How To:

  1. Gather the kids in the play area.
  1. Give each player one straw and two paper plates, one empty and one filled with beans.
  1. Set the timer for one minute.
  1. As you call out go, the players have to start sucking a bean through the beans and put on another plate.
  1. The kid who has the most beans will be the winner.

Note:

Make sure you use beans that are bigger than the hole of the straw for this game. The small sized beans can stick inside the straw.

9. Penny toss

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Board
  • Wrapping paper in different colors
  • Metal cans
  • Masking take
  • Table

How To:

  1. Take a board and cover with a wrapping paper.
  1. Take metal cans and cover with a different colored wrapping paper.
  1. Put masking tape at the bottom of each can and arrange on the cardboard.
  1. Now put the board on the table. Place a line of masking tape on the floor as a starting line.
  1. Give each child a few coins and let them try throwing into the cans.
  1. Give prizes to kids who manage to toss the coins into the cans.

10. At the races

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A chalk, marker, or paint
  • A toy horse or a toy vehicle
  • A large piece of wood or a bulletin board
  • Dice

How To:

  1. Make a racetrack on the wooden piece with six lanes. You can use the bulletin board for the race track and make the lines with a marking pen.
  1. Divide the lane of the racetrack into 10 to 12 spaces.
  1. Assign each player a number from one to six.
  1. Now tell the player to place their horse or vehicle in their lane.
  1. Throw a dice on the board and the player whose lane number comes up will move forward one space.
  1. The player who finishes their line first will be the winner.

11. Mystery fishing

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Small gifts for the winners. It will act as the ‘fish’.
  • An appliance box or large furniture for the water
  • String
  • Clothespin
  • Stick

How To:

  1. Make a kid sit in the box or furniture along with the ‘fish’.
  1. Tie a string to the stick and a clothespin at the other end of the string. It will be your fishing line.
  1. Let the players take turns at casting the liner into the water.
  1. The kid in the ‘water’ has to put small gifts, candies or favor and then tug the string to signal to the player that the fish is on the line.
  1. The player can pull up the line and retrieve the prize.

12. Super tic tac toe

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • A cardboard
  • Marker or duct tape
  • Small bean bags

How To:

  1. Create a large tic tac toe sheet using the cardboard. Use the marker or duct tape for making the lines.
  1. Give each player three bean bags.
  1. The player has to make a tic tac toe diagonally, down or in a row across to win the game.

13. Guess how many

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Colorful candies like jelly beans, M&Ms, rings, beaded necklace and such
  • A clear plastic jar
  • Colorful paper
  • Pen
  • A decorated container

How To:

  1. Fill the container with the candies, rings, jelly beans and beaded necklace. Count the content while filling the jar and write down the number.
  1. Give each player slips of colored paper and pen to write down their guesses. Tell them to write their names on the side of the slip.
  1. Now tell the players to guess how many items are there in the jar.
  1. Tell the kids to fold and place their slips of paper in the bowl.
  1. When all the kids have submitted their guesses, check the answers and announce the guesses.
  1. The player who answers correctly will be the winner. Let the winner take home the contents of the jar.

14. Cupcake walk

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Three sheets of poster board
  • Black marker
  • Paper
  • Hat
  • Music player

How To:

  1. Cut the sheets of poster board into four sheets. You will get 12 sheets.
  1. Mark each poster board from one to 12.
  1. On slips of paper, write the numbers 1 to 12 along with the prizes and put in the hat.
  1. Ask the kids to walk around in the circle as the music plays.
  1. The kids have to stop on a board when the music stops. Call out the number.
  1. The winning player will get a candy or cupcake, whatever you have written on the slip of paper.

15. Stilt race

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Large coffee cans
  • Stopwatch
  • String or twine

How To:

  1. Take some large coffee cans and poke two holes — one on each side.
  1. Thread a twine, string to the holes, and tie the ends together to create a handle. The handle should be long enough for the child to stand and crab without hunching.
  1. Mark a start and finish line on the playing area.
  1. You can make a group of kids race at a time or individually if you do not want the game to be competitive.
  1. The child who reaches the end line fastest will be the winner.

16. Bean bag toss

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Bean bags
  • Game board
  • Tape to mark the start line

How To:

  1. You can either purchase the bean bag toss board or make one yourself.
  1. Give each child 4 to 5 bean bags to toss into the board.
  1. The kid who can throw the maximum bags will be the winner.

17. Toy swap

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Toys
  • A large appliance box

How To:

  1. Ask the kids to get a toy for the carnival. Tell them to drop it at the entrance.
  1. Give the kids one swap ticket for each toy they brought.
  1. Collect all the toys and place in a large appliance box.
  1. At the designated time, open the appliance box for every kid who has brought something.
  1. The kids are free to swap their toys with any other toy they like.

18. Milk bottle pyramid

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Milk bottles
  • Softballs

How To:

  1. Fill the bottles with milk, so that each bottle is at least a few pounds heavier. Do not use glass bottles.
  1. Give a kid three chances to toss the softball at the bottles.
  1. The kid who manages to knock down all the bottles will be the winner.

19. Basketball

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Hoop
  • Basketball

How To:

  1. Set up a hoop and round up the basketballs. If older kids are playing, then place the hoop further back.
  1. Give each kid three chances to toss the ball into the basket.
  1. Reward the child who manages to make at least one goal.

20. Penny drop

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • A small glass jar
  • Aquarium
  • Coins

How To:

  1. Fill the tank with water. Now place the jar in the tank
  1. Have the kids drop the coins into the aquarium.
  1. If the coins fall into the jar, then that player will be the winner.

21. Sack race

Sack race

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Large sacks, one per player
  • Cones or flags to demarcate racing area

How To:

  1. Choose a grassy area away from hard surfaces or obstacles.
  2. Kids should be made to wear a big sac up to their waists and be ready at a starting line.
  3. Each kid is instructed to jump down the track line to the point demarcated with flags/cones and return to the starting line (now serving as the finish line).
  4. The child crossing the finish line first is the winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the easiest carnival game?

One of the simplest and easiest games to win in the fair is the Goldfish game. Each player throws ping pong balls three times into a fish bowl placed around two to three feet away. The player wins if the ball is aimed correctly and lands in a bowl containing a fish or toy; otherwise, they lose.

2. What are the most rigged carnival games?

Some of the most rigged games include basketball, balloon dart, milk-bottle game, bucket toss, and high striker. Despite their widespread perception of being rigged, carnival games are undoubtedly massively enjoyable entertainment.

3. Are there any educational benefits to playing carnival games for children?

Carnival games involve numerical elements, such as counting points or measuring distances, which lets children practice basic mathematical concepts. These games often pose challenges that require children to assess the situation, analyze options, and find a solution using their analytical skills.

4. Are there any physical activities involved in carnival games for children?

Carnival games may involve various physical activities such as tossing, throwing a ball, running, jumping, and balancing, which can help keep a child active and support their overall fitness while having fun.

5. What are some popular strategies for winning carnival games?

Thoroughly understand the rules. Reflect on your failures to determine the techniques that can help you win. If needed, develop your own technique and aim for the easier target first to build your confidence. Most importantly, do not lose patience and composure while playing the game. If you lose a few times, try to stay focused on the goal and apply your learning from the previous mistakes.

6. Are there any age restrictions for certain carnival games?

Certain carnival games may have age restrictions, which are put in place to ensure their age appropriateness and safety for children. Age restrictions can vary based on the specific carnival or country’s regulations.

Panko, little squirts shooting gallery, cold potato, bean game, guess how many, toy swap, basketball, and other carnival games booths for kids mentioned above are all affordable and simple to set up. While some of these games are do-it-yourself and need a little imagination and effort on your part, others are as simple as selecting and clicking to buy. So, the next time you arrange a backyard carnival or festival celebration, look through this list and do not forget to include fancy and interesting prizes for each game to keep the excitement high among kids.

Infographic: Carnival Games And Activities For Children

A children’s carnival is exciting for both the child and parents. Games and activities can make the event even more interesting. Check out this infographic and explore various carnival games and activities for children.

best carnival games ideas for children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Learn how to make your own carnival games for your carnival-themed or circus-themed party. These fun and easy DIY decorations will make your party a hit!

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