Fun Fair-Themed Game Ideas

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Toss games and giveaway booths are the heart of a successful carnival, and besides that -- they're fun for parents and kids, alike. So, if you are planning a kids party and creating a carnival theme with games and giveaways, here are some ideas for you. Each giveaway item is either numbered or marked. Whoever pulls the marked item wins the grand prize; all others win the item pulled. Since toss games require a little more skill than giveaway games, the prize values should reflect the effort needed to win.

Pencil Pull and Lollipop Draw

Paint one end of one pencil red and allow it to dry before you fill a beach pail with sand. Stick the pencils into it, eraser end up. Kids pull one and keep the pencil if the end is not painted, or choose a prize if it is. For the lollipop draw, paint a tree scene on a sheet of plywood. Drill rows of holes in the leafy part of the tree, two inches apart for the lollipops. You can also poke holes all the way around a foam cone, an inch apart, if you want a tabletop tree.

Use wrapped candies, high-bounce balls, plastic army figures and jelly bracelets as first-level prizes. Second-level prizes include packs of crayons, eraser shapes, temporary tattoos, number slider puzzles, whistles and snap bracelets. Have small and medium-size stuffed animals, medium-size etched or painted mirrors, posters, blow-up toys or grab bags as third-level prizes. The grand prize should be a large stuffed animal, large etched or painted mirror, belt buckle or embellished hat. Game operators usually permit players to trade three smaller prizes for one larger prize.

Digging for Dinosaurs

Dinosaur digs require an inflatable pool or a sandbox. You can give each child a child-sized wheelbarrow is also a good choice. Hide a bag of plastic dinosaurs in the sand. Give each child one ticket per dollar. Kids can keep one dinosaur per ticket, and trade three dinosaurs for a higher level prize. Variations include burying plastic bones from a dinosaur puzzle, marked with different numbers. Have a dinosaur skeleton puzzle in view as the grand prize.

A Little Fish Pond

Fish pond games require fake fish and poles with plastic hooks, rings or magnets on the end of a string. You can make the fish from paper, cardboard, foam core, stuffed paper bags or discarded plastic paint can lids. Buy a child-sized fishing pole or use a dowel rod. Tie a circle magnet to the end of the rod for a ring. The booth operator can a fish from the pond and hooks it onto the end of the rod, out of sight of younger players.

Oh, Fun! A Toilet Paper Toss

Ask for toilet seat and lumber donations from home improvement companies or discount chain stores. The game target is a new toilet seat attached to the top of a five-gallon plastic bucket. You can construct the toilet tank from plywood. Use bags of taffy candies as prizes. Put tape around rolls of toilet paper so it will not unroll during play. Each player has three tries to toss his toilet paper rolls into the john.