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Carnival Party Games

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Janet loves planning elaborate birthday parties for her kids and friends. She also enjoys baking and decorating cakes.

Carnival Party

Carnival birthday parties are very popular. They are so much fun and very easy to organize.

For this party theme, you can start off with the Carnival Party Pack and then coordinate your invitations and decorations around the design to pull it all together.

Carnival parties can have anywhere between 8-12 games depending on the age of the children and the number of guests at the party. Also, you should have one adult or older child that is not part of the party available to run each game. You can recruit an older sibling and their friends, family members or neighbors to help you out. Usually friends and family, especially kids, are more than happy to help!

To set the stage for your party you need to set up some kind of ticket booth. A ticket booth can be made or purchased. Once you have your ticket booth, you need to purchase admission tickets for the games.

As the kids arrive at the party, they come to the ticket booth and are given tickets for the games. Each game should have a sign on it stating how many tickets are required to play. Make the number of tickets needed for each game different. This makes the carnival more fun.

Purchase an assortment of small toys, stickers and candies for each game station. You don't have to go crazy. A bag of lollipops and large roll of stickers can go a long way. After a child plays the game, you can award them a prize. Give each child a small box or bag to take with them to each of the game stations so they have somewhere to keep their prizes. Children should receive a small prize at each station regardless of whether or not they did well.

Carnival Bean Bag Toss Game

Bean bag toss games are always lots of fun. There are many different bean bag toss games on the market to choose from. There are carnival and clown themed bean bag toss games available to coordinate with your carnival party theme.

If your child has a favorite character, you can incorporate that into your party instead. For example, there are bean bag toss games in the following designs: Disney Cars, Dora the Explorer, Pirates, Mickey Mouse, Monkeys, Jungle Animals, and many more.

You could also make a simple bean bag toss for your party. Gather any buckets, pails, baskets or small boxes you have around the house. Then, purchase bean bags. In addition to the basic square bean bags, they are also available in lots of fun shapes such as frogs, turtles, bunnies, pigs, etc. You can arrange the containers on the lawn and have the kids toss the bean bags into them. The smaller containers will be worth more points than the larger containers. A fun and inexpensive bean bag toss game for your carnival party.

How To Make a Bean Bag Toss Game

How Many Jelly Beans Are In This Jar?

Click the link below to find out how many jelly beans are in the jar! So, were you close?

Click the link below to find out how many jelly beans are in the jar! So, were you close?

Jelly Bean Guessing Game

The classic "Guess How Many Jelly Beans are in the Jar" game is a must at your Carnival Party. This traditional carnival game is fun for everyone and it is always exciting to see who the winner is going to be.

Not only is this guessing game fun, it is also inexpensive. All you need is a large clear jar or container and some candy. Typically, jelly beans are used in this game, but you can use any type of candy that you want such as M & M's or Skittles. The winner gets to take the jar of candy home with them as the Grand Prize.

The Trick to Solving the Jelly Bean Guessing Game

Carnival Duck Pond Game

Duck pond carnival games are easy to organize and the kids will love it! You can simply purchase a small wading pool or use one that you already have. Then, you need to purchase rubber ducks. I would get a minimum of five dozen ducks.

In order to work with your Duck Pond game, you will need to use specialty weighted rubber ducks. These ducks will not flip upside down while in the pool. If you cannot find weighted ducks, you can take regular rubber ducks, make a small hole in the bottom and fill them with water. This way they will float.

There are a two ways to play the Duck Pond Game.

Duck Pond Matching Game
Write numbers or put colors on the bottom of the ducks and the person has to pull two ducks out at a time to find a match.

Scroll to Continue

Duck Pond Prize Game
Write numbers or put colors on the bottom of the ducks. Each number or color represents a type of prize. For example, blue is for a sticker, red is for a lollipop, etc.

Carnival Penny Toss Game


Penny Pitch Carnival Game Ideas

  • Penny Pitch Game
    Materials Needed: Marker Poster board or sheet of paper at least two feet square Small treats and prizes Ten pennies per player One small container per player One small bag per player Paper hearts

Carnival Basketball Shoot Game

A Basketball shoot game would be great for your Carnival Party. If you have a basketball net already, then you are all set. Simply give each person a certain number of tries to get the ball in.

If you don't have a basketball net or if the net is too high for the age of the party guests, you could purchase an inexpensive hoop and ball set. This game is so much fun, I am sure you kids and their friends will get a lot use out of the it even after the party is over.

Carnival Balloons

Carnival Balloon Dart Game

The balloon dart game is another traditional carnival game. Here is what you will need for your balloon dart game:

  • Large poster board or plywood
  • Balloon Pump
  • Water Balloons
  • Darts

Fill the balloons with air using a balloon pump ahead of time and place in a closed container. Have additional balloons available. Attach the balloons to the board with scotch tape or staples. Place numbers or colors behind the balloons on pieces of paper. Each number or color will represent a prize. If the person pops a balloon, they win the prize behind that balloon.

Carnival Tin Can Alley ~ Milk Bottle Toss Games

Tin Can Alley Games and Milk Bottle Toss Games are also classic carnival games. These games can be purchased or you can make your own game.

To make your Tin Can Alley game, simply use empty tin cans. You can use old juice cans or large vegetable cans. Remove the labels on the cans before you use them to give them that classic carnival game look. Purchase bean bags. Stack the cans in a pyramid and have the kids try to knock the cans over with the bean bags.

Carnival Toss Across Game

Toss Across Tick-Tack-Toe games are always fun at a carnival. Again, this game can be purchased or you can make your own version of the game to cut down on the party expenses.

To make your own Toss Across game, get a large piece of paper or cloth and make a grid. Generally, five grids by five grids works well. The grid should include an even amount of X's and O's. The party guests have to throw three bean bags and try to get three X's or three O's.

Carnival Party Fun

You can also incorporate competition games into your Carnival party. Some great games include the potato sack race, egg and spoon race, water balloon toss and an obstacle course.

Another great carnival party activity is a bounce house. A bounce house can be purchased or rented. Bounce house rentals range from about $100-$250 depending on what type of house you get.

Other carnival activities include face painting and balloon animal making. If it is in the party budget, you could even hire paid entertainers and/or offer the pony rides.

Carnival Circus Cake and Cupcake Supplies

Some of the fun carnival cake and cupcake supplies available for your celebration include cute popcorn cupcake wrappers. Other supplies include:

  • Edible Cake and Cupcake Toppers
  • Cupcake Rings and Cupcake Picks
  • Wilton Clown Cake Pans
  • Cupcake Wrappers and Baking Liners
  • Popcorn Cupcake Ideas
  • Cupcake Holders and Stands

Carnival Party Games

Carnival Party Chat

SUSIE405 from Delray Beach, Florida on June 16, 2011:

Good tips. I have a 7 year old grand child and will use these ideas.

Janet21 (author) from New York on June 06, 2011:

@partymomma: I am not sure if plastic darts will pop the balloons. The darts I have listed here are plastic with a metal tip. However, you need to be careful using these darts with small children. Hope this helps. Have a great party! :)

partymomma on June 06, 2011:

hi, im doing a carnival party this weekend,i really want to do a balloon dart game, but im worried about it plastic darts really pop balloons?

Nancy on June 03, 2011:

Some fun ideas for a house party is also a no hands jello eating contest, waterballoon toss, and eating a donut off of a string without hands.

Lauren on December 11, 2010:

More ideas for the jelly bean game would be nice

Funtastici on November 19, 2010:

Most carnival games can be built using plywood and some scrap lumber.

The biggest challenge is finding games that provide enough variety for your guests.

I've learned how to build my own carnival games. Here's a great resource:

Janet21 (author) from New York on November 10, 2010:

@Shelley: Glad to hear my page gave you some ideas for your party! Have fun!

Shelley on November 10, 2010:

I am planning a carnival party for my Daughters 5th Birthday i have just got some great ideas from your site thanks :)

Janet21 (author) from New York on August 04, 2009:

@mulberry1: I've always wanted to work in a preschool, too! I love being around young kids. :)

Christine Mulberry on August 04, 2009:

These sound like fun party games. Long, long ago I ran a preschool class, and we had to come up with fun/creative ways of teaching and engaging the kids. You would obviously have excelled at this!

Janet21 (author) from New York on July 31, 2009:

Nelle & Judy: Thanks for stopping by! I am glad my Carnival Party hub has provided you with some fun ideas. :)

judydianne from Palm Harbor, FL on July 31, 2009:

What a creative and inspirational idea! Thank you.

Nelle Hoxie on July 31, 2009:

In the Sixties, my husband's family owned a roller coaster business that traveled with a carnival that followed the county fairs in places like Tennesse and Georgia. He might just love a carnival party! It does seem like it would be very easy to organize. Thanks for the ideas Janet.

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