School carnivals mean fun and family time as well as earning additional funds for the school. Simple, inexpensive games provide for the most profit and the lowest budget. This, in turn, allows the ticket charges to be lower so everyone can participate while still making a nice profit. Do not disregard a game just because it is a classic. Many children who attend the carnival are young and the games are new to them even though we have seen them a multitude of times.
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Bean Bag Toss
Using a large piece of cardboard as the base, find a volunteer to paint a popular character on the cardboard. An example would be a Ninja Turtle or a clown. Cut holes out for the eyes and mouth and prop it up by nailing furring strips to the back at an angle to complete the target. Give each student three beanbags to throw at the target; they must get one through the hole for a small prize, two for a medium prize and all three for a large prize. Adjust the distance they must stand away from the object according to height or age.
Using an outside area, if available, sets the stage for Duck-O-War. Placing two rubber ducks in a child-size swimming pool filled with water, two students compete against each other by using a water gun to propel their duck across the pool. The first one to the opposite side of the pool wins.
If you have access to a karaoke machine, a karaoke area provides another activity for all ages. Students pay one ticket for each person in their group to sing a song. Additionally they can use tickets to purchase instant pictures taken by a volunteer while they are singing. Having a few props off to the side adds to the fun. For example, cowboy hats, sparkly gloves, boas and funky sunglasses.
Access to an outside area and a little help from the local police department provides a game for the older students. Players throw a baseball as fast as they can into the backstop and the police officer uses the radar gun to measure the speed of the pitch. Post high speeds on a whiteboard nearby. Anyone who participates gets some bubble gum.
Using the lunchroom for a game of bingo provides a game that attendees of any age, including the parents, can play. If you do not have access to a bingo machine, make your own set of balls with ping-pong balls, a permanent marker and a plastic container.
Set out lines of soda bottles, and give students rings that they can toss to try to get the rings around the pop bottles. If they succeed, they win the soda pop. Another carnival classic is a fishing game for small children, in which they cast a fishing line with a clip clothespin on the end over a blanket, and a hidden volunteer attaches a prize to the clothespin on the other side. The participant then reels the line back and removes his prize. Face painting is another popular activity.