Cheap & Fun Carnival Game Ideas for Kids


Carnival games that are enjoyable for children don't have to be costly investments. Games can be created with household items, low-cost supplies and a little imagination. Once constructed, the games can be stored and used again.

Ball Games

  • Bank Shot is a game that uses an easel, circular laundry basket and plastic Wiffle-type ball. A smaller basket makes the game more challenging. Tape a picture or target on the easel to aim at. The players try to bounce three balls off the target and into the basket below. Give a prize if all three baskets are made.

    Bowling requires setting six to nine bowling pins--or two-liter bottles filled with sand--approximately 10 feet from a starting line. Each player rolls a soccer or rubber ball at the pins. A prize is awarded if all pins are knocked over in two rolls.

    Knock the Cans uses six empty vegetable or coffee cans stacked in a pyramid. Each child throws a tennis ball or bean bag at the cans to knock them over. Set several distance lines based on the age of the child. Add sand or weights to the cans for a more challenging game. Set a prize structure based on the number of cans knocked over.

Tossing Games

  • A penny toss requires small targets placed on the floors. Children stand behind a line and throw pennies, attempting to land one completely on the center of a target for a prize.

    The bean bag toss is a classic carnival game. Bean bags can be purchased or made with fabric squares and dry beans or rice. Cut circular holes in a piece of plywood that is approximately four feet high and two to three feet wide. Paint the board with a carnival-themed picture or decorate with balloons. Set a starting line based on the age of the participating children and have them attempt to toss three bean bags through the holes.

    A hula hoop toss requires four to five hula hoops and three bean bags. Hang hula hoops from the ceiling and have each child throw three bean bags through. For a more challenging game, make the hoops swing to create moving targets.


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