Homemade Carnival Game Ideas

A carnival theme makes for memorable birthday parties. Entertaining for children and adults alike, carnivals also provide opportunities for neighbors to get to know one another. You do not need to have a large budget to establish an authentic carnival atmosphere. With items that you can find around the house, you can host your very own event right in the comfort of your own backyard.

Three-legged Race

Establish the race route and create pairs among those attending your party. Have partners stand next to each other and tie a short rope comfortably around two adjacent legs – one from each partner. The first pair to reach the finish line wins.

Pin the Tail

Create your own pinning board with an image of your child's favorite farm animal mounted on cork board. Affix your own tails to pushpins. At game time, provide each child with a tail and place a blindfold over the eyes. Lead the child in the direction of the pinning board. After the child has added their tail to the board they may remove the blindfold to see where they pinned their tail. The person who pins a tail closest to the target wins.

Guess How Many

Fill a jar with jellybeans, Tootsie rolls or gumdrops. Count and make note of the number of pieces inside the container before guests arrive. Display the jar and have each person guess how many pieces are inside the jar. The person who comes closest to the number of pieces inside the jar wins.

Talent Show

A talent show promotes appreciation for the performing arts and provides a platform for children to share their own unique talents among friends. You may have to coordinate with parents a day or two before the party to ensure their child brings all required materials for their talent showcase to the party. To prevent disrupting neighbors, you may opt to bring this event indoors. Spread a rug on the floor to create a stage. Shine a lamp onto the rug to provide a spotlight.


If you are going to run a carnival, you will need to have prizes available to award for each game. Think of the prizes as earned party favors. Coloring books and crayons, sticker sheets, stuffed animals and snack pouches are all prizes that you can pick out at your local dollar store.

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