Carnival Games

Bottle Ring Toss Carnival Game
Photo by Brian T. Evans / Getty Images

Throwing a carnival party or school festival? These carnival games are easy enough for elementary kids to play, yet still fun for all ages. 

Cake Walk 

Cut 20 shapes out of paper, number them and tape them to the floor in a large circle. The shapes can fit the carnival's theme, such as pumpkins for Halloween or hearts for Valentine's Day. Have each participant stand on a number. Play songs that fit your theme, such as "The Monster Mash" on Halloween or "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" on Valentine's Day. When the music stops, each participant stands on a numbered shape. The leader draws a number, and the participant standing on that number wins a cake, cupcake or cookie.

Fishing For Treats

Create a partition either using a large cardboard box or a portable wall. Decorate one side of the partition with an under-the-sea theme. Make fishing poles by attaching a string to long wooden dowels and attaching clothespins to the ends of the string. One at a time, kids fish for treats by hoisting the clothespin end of the fishing line over the partition. A volunteer hiding on the other side attaches a candy to the clothespin, gives the line a little tug (indicating that a "fish" was caught) and the child pulls the line back over.

Bean Bag Toss

Paint a picture on a large piece of plywood, then cut out holes. The picture can fit the carnival's theme, such as a pumpkin with holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth for Halloween or an apple tree with holes where the apples should go for a harvest festival. Lean the plywood against a wall or attach supports to it and stand it upright. Hand each participant three bean bags and award them small candies for throwing the bags through the holes (or just trying).


Set up a bingo booth at your carnival party. Or, for a school festival, use a classroom as a bingo hall. Make or buy bingo cards. Ask a teacher or parent to be the bingo caller for the evening. Play several rounds of bingo, giving the winner of each round a candy bar or other prize.

You can make your bingo game match the carnival theme, like this candy heart bingo game for Valentine's Day or scarecrow bingo for Halloween. 

Soda Bottle Ring Toss

This classic carnival game will have kids tossing rings over rows of bottles to try and win a prize. Easy to set up and fun to play, ring toss is a great game for any kids' carnival-themed event. 

Human Tic Tac Toe

Play a life-sized version of this traditional pencil and paper game. Human players will serve as the Xs and Os on an extra large tic-tac-toe board. 

Blow the Duck Down the River

To set up this carnival game, all you need is a large basin (or baby pool), rubber ducks and straws. Kids take turns (or race each other) blowing the duck across the water. 

Halloween Carnival: Trick-or-Treat Village

Before the event, have volunteers decorate large cardboard boxes to look like houses (haunted or otherwise). At the carnival, line the houses up, so they look like a neighborhood and have one volunteer sit inside each house with a stash of candy. The children then trick-or-treat at the houses. This activity is great practice for very young children learning how to knock on a door, say trick-or-treat and use good manners by saying thank you before moving to the next house.