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Coolest Carnival Birthday Party Games

Ping Pong Bouncer Game

by Russell Johnson
(Magnolia, Arkansas)

Get a large box about 3’ x 3’ square (width). Cut down three sides to about two feet high and the fourth side all the way off, which will be the opening, facing the player. Get a 3’ x 3’ square of egg crate foam rubber (the “spiky” kind), which will be placed in the box with the spikes facing up. Using spray paint or tape (it’s best w/spray paint, tape will be difficult to stay on) mark out a target or bull’s-eye with each radius being a different color and having different points. Let the player throw 3 – 5 ping-pong balls from a predetermined distance and add up the points for a total score. Decorate the inside and outside of the box, maybe displaying the rules on the inside back “wall” of the box. You may be surprised at how much the ping-pong balls bounce around, so that even “skilled” players are at the same playing level as everyone else.

Rubber Duck Race

Place some pieces of rain gutter (like the kind on your house) side by side on tables. Cap both ends of each piece, fill with water and put rubber ducks at one end.

The players all stand on the same end with squirt guns or spray bottles full of water and shoot at their ducks. The first one to get their duck to the other end wins the prize.

Pony and Horse Ride

by Samantha
(Ohio, USA)

You need a Miniature Horse or just a small horse for toddlers. For bigger children, you will need a normal sized horse. Have someone guide the horse or pony around your yard as the children sit on the horse or pony. The children have a blast!

Washer Toss Carnival Game

by Russell Johnson
(Magnolia, Arkansas)

Use large washers or poker chips (washers seem to be best) to toss onto a 2’ x 2’ carpet square that has been marked off with paint or tape in the shape of a Tic-Tac-Toe grid. Five tries to get three in a row, or five on any square without touching the lines. Use different distances for throwing for the different age groups.

Fetch The Marble Game

by Vivien

You will need a flat transparent bucket or rectangle shaped plastic tray and marbles.

Put the marbles in the bucket or tray, then fill it halfway with water. You can also put foaming soap in to make it harder to fetch.

The aim is to get as many marbles as you can in 30 seconds using chopsticks, a teaspoon, etc. Each marble is worth a point; add the points together and give them a prize.

Toy Toss Carnival Game

by Kristy L.
(Billerica, MA)

1. Go out to a store or even look around your house and buy cheap toys for kids to toss.
2. Give each child 3 toys to throw.
3. These children will try to throw these toys into a bucket of water.
4. If they make all three into the bucket, give them a better prize, if they make 1 or 2, give them the cheap toys they just threw.

Grocery Knock Down

Set empty food boxes on a shelf and try to knock them down with a tennis ball. You can put shelves for each player and whoever knocks theirs down first wins (or assign a number of boxes they need to knock down and whoever knocks down that number first wins).

Bazooka and Whipped Cream

by Zakiya
(Olympia Flds, IL)

The object of the game is to find the piece of Bazooka Bubble Gum on a plate while standing with your hands behind your back searching through the whipped cream. When found, whoever blows a bubble first is the winner. You may grant a prize if wished.

Candy Throwing Game

by Erin

The Candy Throwing Game isn’t just for little kids it is a game that can be played for ages 3 and up; even adults can play it!

You need:

Tin buckets or can and small bags of candy in little plastic bags.

Directions for playing:

Line up the tin cans or buckets away from the children and or adults/teens. Give each person a little bag of candy and let them try and aim for the bucket with the candy. Whatever candy lands in the bucket is theres to keep like a prize.

It’s rather a simple game.

Whats Inside The Box

by Peyton

Have a couple of small boxes. Fill them with different items. For example fill one with oatmeal, one with dry noodles, and one with grass. Cut holes big enough for a hand to fit in. Then have the kids put their hands inside without looking and guess whats inside of it.

Chop Sushi

First take a small box, rip pieces of paper and put the pieces of paper in the box until it’s full. Take one of the pieces and draw a line on it, then put it back and mix it into the box with the rest of the papers. The children use their index finger and a stick (or two chopsticks for older children) and have to take all the pieces of paper out in 30 seconds. The point of the game is to get the piece of paper with the line on it out of the box. The children may pick any level 1 through 10; as the level goes up, the shorter the time gets. Make prizes too.

Water Balloon Smash

by Stacy
(Federal Way)

1. Two teems are needed.
2. Put water balloons in a row and one team goes on one side and the other on the other side.
3. On the count of three each team needs to take as many water balloons as possible and throw at the other team (trying to get the other team as wet as possible).
4. At the end, the two teams pick one person who is the driest from each of their teams.
5. Then the judges judge who the driest is from both of the chosen ones, and the person that the judges pick – that team wins!

Rubber Ducky Carnival Game

by Emily
(United States)

Before you begin setting up for this game make sure you have enough prizes (you should have small, medium, and large prizes).

To set up for this game, you need one of those little circle pools for little kids. Put water in it and have about 10-30 rubber duckies floating in it (10 if not a lot of people are coming, around 30 if there are a lot of people coming). On the bottom of each of the rubber duckies, write either “try again”, “small”, “medium”, or “large”.

The players either choose a rubber ducky or throw a round ring to catch a rubber ducky. The rubber ducky they choose or catch is the one they get.

If “try again” is written on the ducky they got, they don’t win anything. If “small” is written on the ducky, they get a small prize and so on. You can choose if they get to keep the duck or not (depending on how many people and rubber duckies there are).

Pole Ring Toss

by Courtney
(United States)

This is a fun booth game for kids. Start by having a pole about 1-foot tall. Have 3 circle toss rings. Each person tries to get all three rings on the pole each time they throw. Make sure each person is at least 3 ft away from the pole.

Mop Water and Bucket Game

by Selena

Every team dips a mop in a bucket of water and on the count of 3 everyone runs to the finish line where there will be two empty buckets. There, they have to squeeze the water from the mop into the bucket. Whoever has the most water in there bucket at the end of a specified time, wins!

The winners spill the bucket of water on the losers ;-)

Rescue The Animal

by Jessica Aguirre
(El Paso, TX)

Place a few stuffed animals inside a cage and lock the cage. Set a few keys beside the cage and have kids try to open the cage by picking 3 keys and giving it a try. The kid who opens the lock gets one of the stuffed animals.

Fish For Prizes Party Game

by Taylor

You will need:
-Kiddie Pool
-Small prizes that can be hooked, such as rings, and toy motorcycles
-Small/Kid/Pretend Fishing Poles

Kids can take turns fishing for prizes, and if they catch a prize (they get a specific time limit), they get to keep it.

Peanut Race

by Sidney
(Minnesota, Grand Rapids)

You give a peanut to each contestant. Each contestant gets on there hands and knees (on easy flooring) and on the mark of “GO”, they each need to push the peanut with their nose to a finish line. Whoever gets to the finish line first is the winner and gets a prize.

Musical Cake Walk

by Kelli Snow
(Palm Harbor, FL USA)

Baked Goodies on a table.
Numbers written on paper and cut up; place in a bucket.
CD Player.
Music to play.

You have people bring lots of baked items – cookies/brownies/small cakes even store bought goodies are great!

Place them on a table to the side.

Draw numbers on the ground (pavement) with chalk in a circle (1,2,3,4,5,…) until it makes a complete circle; numbers facing inward, in stepping length.

Participants stand on a number and begin to walk around the circle; stepping on each number as the music plays (like musical chairs).

Music stops randomly and everyone stops – someone draws a number out of bucket – call the number out and the person standing on that number WINS – they go to the table and choose a baked item.

Bobbing for Apples (the sanitary way!)

by Jamie

Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. Print easy “things to do” on the apples, such as, “say the ABCs” or “do 5 jumping jacks.” Place a paper clip on each apple and put them on a blue blanket or in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string or create a fishing pole with a dowel rod, magnet & yarn.
Let the children take turns “bobbing” with their magnet & doing the thing written on their apple. Each child gets a prize for participating!

Wheel Of Winners Carnival Game

by Sabey

This carnival game is played when you set up a wheel with #s on it. Players take turns spinning the wheel to see how much money they win!!

It doesn’t have to be money it could be anything else. For example you can have each number correspond with a certain prize, and then when a person lands on a certain number, he/she gets the prize under that number (everyone is a winner :-)

Face Throwing Sponge Carnival Game

by Mo

Find a piece of cardboard and cut a hole big enough so that someone can stand behind and put their face in it (you can even make a few different face holes by height – so that people of different heights can put their face in the hole).

Give the contestant a big wet sponge and they have three chances to hit the person’s face. The contestants should stand at least a few feet away when they throw.

Golf Ball Holes Carnival Party Game

by Jake
(New York City)

You throw golf balls into the holes, the bigger the hole, the less points you get, but the smaller the hole, the more points you get.

You can also take a sort of small stage, make holes in the floor of the stage, and then the contestants need to take a golf club, and hit a golf ball so that it gets inside of the hole… (same thing as before – the smaller the hole the more points… the bigger the hole, the less points).

Mystery Box Carnival Party Game

by Mary

Have a cardboard box lined inside with tinfoil. Create a hole big enough to fit your hand in. Put in something gross or funny and make the guest feel it and guess what it is.

It was a success at my party and we still talk about it today.

Gold Rush Carnival Party Game

by Crystal H.
(Overland Park, KS USA)

Fill a small kiddie pool with sand. Bury gold coins throughout the sand. Kids take a small paper cup and scoop 2 piles of sand into a strainer. They then shake their strainers to see if they found a gold coin. Award small prizes for trying and larger prizes for finding coins.

Water Balloon Walk Carnival Party Game

by Aislinn
(Saginaw, MI, USA)

Give 2 players a spoon with a water balloon on it. Have them race a certain distance without dropping their balloon. If they do, have them start over with a new balloon. Whoever finishes successfully first wins.

Frog Throwing Carnival Party Game

by Charity

Throw a beanbag (frog) on a lily pad, each lily pad has a certain amount of designated points, the higher the points, the bigger the prize.

Use blue poster board – I taped two together, and paint about 10 lily pads on it. Designate 1-3 points per lily pad. I made six ‘frogs’ using 3 pieces of felt, googly eyes, pinto beans and lime green thread. Laminate your poster board to withstand rougher kids.

Basketball Shoot Carnival Party Game

by Sydney

Put two nets together and 2 backboards, then get two balls and whoever makes the most shots out of 10 shots wins a carnival prize.

Pyramid Cup Stack Carnival Game

The contestants are suppose to make a pyramid (stacking plastic or paper cups on top of eachother).

You can have a race between a few people, give them a small amount of time (from a minute to two minutes) and whoever can make the highest pyramid stack out of cups when the time is over, is the winner. The contestants are not allowed to drop the cups while playing.

It takes a lot of attentiveness for this game, but its really fun. Practice makes perfect, so you can practice this often.

Pie Eating Contest Carnival Game

by Sara

First you fill tin pie pans with whipped cream instead of pie (its cheaper and kids like to get dirty). Then have everyone or just the kids that want to do it, get in a circle around a table and when an adult says ‘Go’ you eat/lick the pan clean. Whoever wins can get a number of raffle tickets (more than one) and everyone else can get one raffle ticket.

Penny Board Carnival Booth Party Game

by Penelope

Items needed:
Board or Paper
A lot of Pennies
A Marker
And Tickets or Prizes

To make and play penny board you first take a board. This could be a piece of a card board box or the back of your monopoly game… it could even be a piece of paper. Then you take your pennies and align them in rows. Tape 1 edge of all the pennies to your board so that you can flap them up. Once they are all taped down and are able to flap up, flap them open! With the marker, write down numbers under the flapped pennies. once you put all the pennies back down, you should not be able to see the numbers.

If your’e using tickets, the number of which the board says is how many tickets they get. If you are using prizes make another sheet that interprets what each number is in prize form…
And there you go, a person picks a random penny, you open the flap, and they receive their ticket/s or prize.

Flying UFO Carnival Game

Rules: Throw 3 out of 5 child sized frisbees into 2 square (office type) garbage cans that are laying on their side. You can line them with garbage bags and paint a target with glow in the dark paint for a bulls-eye.

Small frisbees can be found at most “dollar spot” stores, etc.

You will need:
* 2 square garbage cans
* 5 child sized frisbees
* 2 garbage bags
* glow in the dark paint/tape (optional)

Musical Pie-In-The-Face Carnival Party Game

by Linda S.
(Turlock, CA USA)

This game is played like musical chairs but instead of trying to sit in a chair when the music stops, the person holding the plate of whipped cream has to slam it in his face.

Pile some whipped cream on a paper plate. The kids and/or adults stand in a circle. When the music starts, the players start passing the plate of whipped cream in a circle. Once the music stops, the person holding the plate of whipped cream must slam it in his face. This is soooo funny! And the fact that they smash it in their own face keeps the kids from getting hurt or upset.

Do this until one winner is left. I like to fill plates of whipped cream for the losers while the others are still playing and when one winner is left, they all go and “whip-cream” the winner.

LolliPop Stand Carnival Party Game

by Larissa

Get four square styrofoam (floral foam works well too) blocks (3″x 3″ or the size of your choice) or what ever shape you want, lots of suckers, and a sharpie marker. Stack the blocks in a fun pattern using hot glue, dowel rod, or chopstick to keep them together.

You can also paint them in fun colors. Mark the bottom of half of the suckers and stick as many lollipops in the blocks as you can and let the kids choose a sucker. If it has a mark they get a prize and the sucker, if not they just get the sucker.

Party Popper Carnival Party Game

by Baeley-rose

This game is played by sticking some party poppers on the roof and tying long strings to them. Also tie strings that don’t lead to any party poppers. Then someone puts on a blind fold and they have three chances to pull three strings to try and get party poppers.

Mystery Cup Carnival Party Game

by Candy Cane

Take 3 colored plastic cups and a small object like: a ball, clip, etc. Put the cups with the hole facing down on a flat surface.
Show the contestant in which cup is the object and then put it down. Slide the cups forward a backward to change the position of the object cup. After this, the contestant will guess where the object is and if they are right they win a prize.

Tic Tac Toss Carnival Party Game

by Joshua

Lay colored tape on the floor resembling a tic tic toe square. Ask the kids to throw bean bags to get three in a row.

Gum Boot Throw Carnival Party Game

by Fiona
(Melbourne, Australia)

Items Needed:
4 Pairs of Gum boots:

* 1 Large Mens
* 1 Medium Ladies
* 1 Small Childs
* 1 Tiny Toddlers

Decorate boots how ever you wish.

On an open patch of grass/area – mark a standing line and then at designated distances mark 3 other lines for people to throw the boots past, closer for small children, further back for older children, and really far for adults.

Person stands at the throw line and is given two appropriate boots for $1 and if the throw past their line they get a prize (or have lines marked 1 ticket, 2 tickets 3 tickets, etc.).

Its not as easy as you would expect to throw a gum boot in a straight line and kids love to watch dad have a go.

At our Fair when this was first introduced, we had 4 men stand and constantly compete with each other, 1 boot even ended up in the street! So funny… had to give them all prizes just for the entertainment value.

Lots of money for no expense.

Flying Frogs Carnival Party Game

by Traci G.
(Hammond, LA)

Draw or paint a circular target onto a piece of cardboard. Several feet away, place a launcher for the frog (rubber of course). The launcher is a lever that can be made out of wood (to resembles a see-saw). Place the frog on the end of the lever farthest from the target and must be in the down position. The player uses a small rubber mallet to launch the frog by striking the end of the lever that is in the air, sending the frog flyin’ towards the target. Prizes are awarded according to how closely the frog lands to the bulls eye of the target.

Bobbing for Caramel Apples Carnival Party Game

by Sara
(Gonzales, Ca)

Kids bob for apples in a bucket of water. After they retrieve an apple. Cut it up and cover it with caramel, whipped cream and sprinkles. Easy, fun and tasty!

For bigger kids blindfold them and make them keep their hands behind their back when bobbing.

Balloon Popping Contest

You Need:
Feet (You can play this inside and outside).

Set Up: Blow up all the balloons. Put them on the floor/ground.

How to play:

Get all the kids to try to stomp all of the balloons on the floor/ground. There can be prize boxes if, for example, you pop one balloon you go to the prize box that says number 1. If you pop 2 balloons,you get to get a prize out of prize box number 2. If you pop three or more balloons, you get to get something out of prize box number 3.

Ping Pong Fish Game

Use fish bowls with live fish in each fish bowl. Give each child 2-4 ping pong balls. Let each child get 2-4 turns to make the ping pong ball into the fish bowl. If child makes into fish bowl they win the fish.

Duckie Shootdown Carnival Party Game

1. Paint a water-gun brown (optional)
2. Collect rubber ducks
3. Set up ducks so some are closer than others
4. Set down masking tape to label the number of points
5. Players shoot ducks down with the water-gun and get points as they go
6. Once over, player with the most points gets a prize

Candy Number Carnival Party Game

You fill a pretty full jar with the birthday girl/boys’ favorite candy. Count how many pieces are in there. Then leave a clipboard next to it and tell the guests to write down their name and their guess on how many candies there are (could be gum-balls, gummy worms, jelly beans… but nothing like Reeses or Twix). Then, at the end of the party, find the person closest to the actual number, and give the happy contestant a prize (possibly the whole jar of candy!) :)

Closest To the Line Carnival Party Game

Make a line across the ground with tape. The kids each receive a object that can be thrown without rolling (like a beany-bag). The object of the game is whoever gets the closest to the line without going over the line, wins a prize.

Hershey’s Kissing Booth Carnival Party Game Idea

This booth works well for children especially. To set up you need to take a number of Hershey Kisses, and put them in a jar, then set the jar out on the table next to a bag and paper and pen, then have each person guess how many kisses are in the jar, whoever get closest wins the jar!

Homemade Target and Darts Carnival Game

by Yash J.
(Gurgaon, Haryana, India)

Make a circle-shaped cardboard. Put it on the wall. Make four circles on the cardboard. Color the outer-most ring with Yellow, second outer-most with Green, second inner-most with Blue, and color the inner-most ring with Red.

Attach balloons of red, blue, green and yellow color according to color on the cardboard.

The player must pop the balloons with dart to earn points.


The player will get 5 chances.

Fish For a Prize Carnival Party Game

by Ginger

Cover a table with a blanket (preferably a blue one to resemble water). Have someone hide under the table with different prizes. Then take a fishing pole and let the child hook a worm on it (gummy worms work perfect) the child must fish over the table while the adult switches the gummy worm for a prize.

If you don’t have a table, stack boxes up around you and cover with an old sheet then cut a small hole in the middle big enough for the prize to go back through. Remember to decorate the old sheet like water.

This is a great game for any age because every kid gets a prize!!

Penguin Escape Party Game

by John C.
(Palm Bay, FL, USA)

The game is similar to musical chairs. The Idea is to have only one child left at the end standing on an iceberg.

You will need one iceberg for each child. I have thin 1 foot square pieces or particleboard. You can use cardboard or a plain piece of notebook paper.

Place the icebergs randomly about the yard (or room if indoors). Keep the icebergs separated as much as possible for the most fun.

I tell the kids a story about the zoo keepers coming to catch penguins for the zoo. The kids are the penguins and must waddle about like penguins. No running is allowed.

I have each child stand on an iceberg to make sure they are all safe to start. I use a whistle to signal the start and end of the safe time. When I blow the whistle the first time they must leave the iceberg and waddle around the water. While they are meandering about I randomly remove one iceberg. When they hear the whistle next they must return to an iceberg to escape because the zoo keepers are coming. One penguin won’t have an iceberg to return to and is “captured” by the zoo keepers. Continue until only one penguin is on the last iceberg.

The final escaped penguin is the winner of the game.

Duckies Swimming in a Pond Carnival Game

by Danielle D.
(Independence, MO)

Get several bath-time rubber duckies and using a permanent marker number them. Get a larger bucket or rubber tub and fill it with water. Place the ducks in the water.

Let the kiddos choose a duck until they are all chosen and then draw out a number out of a hat. The winner gets the prize.

Target Toss

by Tina Brantly
(Indian Trail, NC, USA)

Take hula hoops and use zip ties to attach together to form Olympic style rings. Use rope to hang to a tree or playground monkey bars.

Then take balls (nerf footballs, baseballs, etc) and toss through the center of each ring. You can assign a point value to each ring or make the rule that you win if you get one ball through each ring. Have fun making your own rules and adapting them for each age level.

*If you do not want to hang them up or just do not have an area that allows for it, just lay the hula hoops on the ground and use the same rules for lawn darts.

Egg Race

by June H.
(New Hampshire)

You have as many players as u want but their must be at least 2.

You need plenty of space because it is a race wich does need a starting and finish line. Each player has a spoon and an egg. Each player must put the spoon in their mouth and the egg on the spoon.

When the anouncer says go each player must keep the egg on the sppon with the spoon in your mouth at all times. If it falls off and breaks your done the race if it doesn’t break u may put the egg back on the sppon and finish.

The first racer to the finish line wins as long as the played fairly and followed the rules above. That person is rewarded with a prize.

Egg Toss

by Renee
(California, USA)

Kids will need to pair up. They stand across from each other, all pairs will need to stand the same distance. Then, one partner gets an egg and tosses it to the other. After tossed, you take one step back. If the egg breaks, you lose. The team who doesn’t break the egg wins! This can also be done with water balloons.

Lucky Guess

by Kanishk S C
(Jaipur, Rajasthan, India)

Place 13 playing cards upside down on a table consisting one of each of its characters. now ask the player to bet on any of the character of the cards (eg.- let the player bet on card number 4 or the king or queen etc.).

Now the player will pick a random card. If it turns out to be the card he bet on, he/she shall be awarded with a prize.

Take a look at our complete Circus and Carnival Kids Birthday Party Ideas section for more of the coolest party-planning ideas.

Kid Birthday Parties › Kid Activities › Carnival Birthday Party Games