Putting on a carnival is one way to raise money for educational and religious groups as well as offer a special event for school-age children and their parents. Choosing the right theme for a carnival (including specifically themed games) will help in attracting more visitors. Consider themes that are popular with children, or well-known from current movies or television shows.
Swashbuckling Pirate "Partay"
Movies from "Peter Pan" to "Veggie Tales" to "Scooby Doo" all portray at least one scenario containing pirates. A "Swashbuckling Pirate Partay" is an appropriate carnival theme for children and adults. Game attendants should be dressed as their favorite pirate, wench, or crew member to enhance the theme. "Toss the Trader Overboard" is a themed dunking booth in which guests can attempt to hit the bull's eye with softballs, bean bags, or tomatoes in order to dunk the pirate. Children will enjoy "Treasure Hunt at 30 Paces" where they search through a kid-size swimming pool filled with sand for buried treasure. Award prizes based on what treasure is found for this game.
School House Rock
Start a dance party-themed carnival that will add a musical spin to the event. Since most children enjoy moving to music, this carnival theme is ideal for school-age children in a classroom setting, perhaps for an end-of-the-quarter or end-of-the-year type party. Some ideas for games include Musical Chairs which can be made more enjoyable by having children dance around the row of chairs versus just walking or running. Use popular children's songs or rhymes to offer a "Singing Bee" where children attempt to sing the lyrics to a song that is played. Prizes offered could include children's music books, musical instruments such as harmonicas and recorders or kids' music CDs.
Thunder Down Under
Take carnival guests to the Australian world with a "Thunder Down Under" themed carnival. Game attendants should dress in flight shirts and cargo shorts with safari hats to help enhance the theme for the guests. "Feed The Lion" is a tossing game where contestants attempt to toss a bean bag through the mouth of a cardboard cut-out lion. See who can reach the top of the rope bridge the quickest with "Alice Springs Adventure Mountain." To set up this game, attach a rope ladder between the ground and a sturdy pole. Be sure there are place mats, sand or hay below for protection when children fall. This type of carnival could also include a "Birds of Prey" show or domesticated monkey to interact with guests. Food "on the Barbie" (open flame grill) can also be served as part of the Australian theme.