Both School Carnival Guides + Oh, Snap! Only $20 FOR ALL THREE eBOOKS!
Great News! For the months of September and October, I have decided to bundle all three of my e-books together for the very low combination price of $20!
I know many schools are planning fall festivals and carnivals, so this is the PERFECT time for you to get everything you need for only $20! Plus, there is a 60 day money back guarantee, so you can’t go wrong!
All you have to do is go to our sales page, and click on the “COMBINATION PACKAGE” which is the orange button at the bottom of the page.
By clicking that orange button, you will get:
- The School Carnival Money Making Guide
- The School Carnival Planning & Marketing Guide
- Oh, Snap! I’m in Charge of Fundraising. What Do I Do Now?
All this for only $20. Normally, all three would cost $40, so you’re getting a HUGE savings by buying now!
34 School Carnival Game Ideas
My son’s school ran a kissing booth for their carnival. The students didn’t get actual kisses, but the people running the booth did give them a Hershey’s Kiss instead. They also had a stamp in the shape of big lips, and they stamped the kids’ faces with red ink! There were TONS of kids running around the carnival with several “kisses” all over their faces!
The Fortune Teller Booth
We had our school principal dress up as a fortune tellers with bright flowing clothing, a turban, several bandannas, scarves, and lots of jingling jewelry on him. We decorated his office to look like a real fortune teller’s tent. There was a small table with bright table cloth on it and a couple of chairs. We placed a small lamp with a scarf over it to set the mood, and there was a CD player playing eerie music. On the table was a crystal ball, some playing cards, and a cup and sauce with tea leaves.
The principal read palms, gazed into the crystal ball, and turned playing cards. We had prepared a list of “fortunes” ahead of time so he had some things ready that he could tell his customers. We made sure that all the fortunes were “good news”.
The principal and the kids really enjoyed the “game.” We gave (donated) fortune cookies as a treat, and the cookies had messages specially designed for kids. You can order cookies made with your own message(s) if you plan ahead.
We made a box maze and filled an entire classroom with it at our carnival. We collected refrigerator and stove boxes for months ahead of time. We opened several of the ends and then taped the boxes together to form “tunnels.” However, we did create a number of dead ends with boxes that only had one end open.
Keep in mind that very small children may become disturbed if they can’t find the end of the maze very quickly, but older children will love crawling through several tunnels within the maze.
A great carnival idea is to offer a Dino Dig! Take a baby swimming pool and fill it with sand. Then bury several small plastic dinosaurs (from the Oriental Trading Company- they have them cheap) and give the kids a small shovel to dig for their dinosaur. As a variation, we also do digging for “diamonds” in a separate pool of sand! Girls love finding little rings and such.
If you like this article, you will also like 22 Commandments of Running a Profitable School Carnival Concession Stand! Check it out!
Bubble-gum Blowing Contest
Advanced Spelling Bee
We wanted to add something a little different to our carnival, so we ran a fun spelling bee. Kids would stand in a line to wait for their spelling word. If they got it right, they got to take a step toward the prize basket. It took five right answers (and five steps marked with tape on the ground) to reach the basket. If the student missed the word, he or she would just go to the end of the line. We made sure we had lists of grade/age appropriate spelling lists for the different kids in line.
In the past, we have asked people to bring in decorated jars full of whatever they like (lollipops, M&M’s, individually wrapped candies, or pretzels, for example) and have them count the number of items in the jar. Then we ask them to write the correct number of pieces on a folded piece of paper which they stick to the underside of the jar’s lid, so we know what the exact amount of pieces is for that jar. (Any size jar will work – jelly jars, gallon jars, miracle whip jars, etc.) We only award one prize per winner, and of course, family members can’t win their own jar.
Karaoke was also very popular this year! Try getting the principal to sing a few songs and really liven up the crowd!
The Mechanical Bull
(This is from an article written by Nate Jaehnig. Nate is the owner of AZ Bounce Pro in Arizona, which rents inflatables for school carnivals in his local area.)
Ever since we have purchased our mechanical bull we have received many different and unique rental requests for this item. We purchased the bull in order to cater to events such as graduation parties, corporate events, and other more adult-oriented events. There has been a surprising trend lately that has surprised us. More and more schools are opting for a mechanical bull rental for their school carnival.
Traditionally when you think of a mechanical bull you think of a bar or perhaps another type of adult-oriented party. This just simply is not the case anymore. Many of the traditional bull styles were violent, causing the riders to be violently thrown from the bull. Upon being thrown from the bull, many of the participants would be tossed onto foam or even the ground.
As detailed in a previous blog post about mechanical bulls for little kids, the major bull manufacturers have realized that bulls are not just for little kids any more. This is a great advancement in the mindset of the amusement industry. Not only are bulls a huge attention getter at events, but they are also extremely safe!
So what about safety? We’ve all heard horror stories about how bulls have caused injuries and even deaths in extreme situations. Most of these incidents happened in situations where there was heavy alcohol consumption involved or improper supervision and staffing. Many of these incidents also happen on older bulls that are not designed for casual bull riders. With the recent advancements in bull safety, incidents have decreased significantly and mechanical bulls can now be enjoyed by all.
School carnivals are a great atmosphere for a mechanical bull rental. Whenever we bring a bull to a school it is always the most popular ride for the kids, teens, and adults. Our trained staff provides each and every rider with a memorable riding experience that they will remember for many years to come. They typically don’t buck off every rider, as they are trained to give everyone a good riding experience, not a falling experience.
The next time you are planning a school carnival, perhaps you should consider a mechanical bull rental. It really is the latest and greatest craze amongst kids, teens, and schools.
“Loonie ” Jars
A few years back we had a carnival, and one of the biggest sellers was the “Loonie ” Jars (here in Canada, we call our dollar a Loonie. ) Before the carnival, we asked families to donate clear glass jars filled with items worth one Loonie each, such as packs of gum, small toys, marbles, pencils, – you name it, people filled them. We had over 400 donated! Each jar was assigned a number. Then people drew a number from a basket, and that was the jar they got.
We have done Super Twister with colored dots painted on a large piece of tarp that got taped to the floor with everyone trying to touch the correct color with the correct body part. Ours is big enough that 30+ kids can play at a time.
Bingo for Books
We played “Bingo for Books” in the media center. We asked parents to donate used books from home for the prizes.
Janitor-, Principal- and Librarian- for-a-Day
We auctioned off Janitor-, Principal- and Librarian- for-a-day. Those were very popular. (Janitor brought in the most!)
This is exactly like a cake walk but the prizes were more of the junk-food variety. Kids got to chose from bags of chips, a box of Little Debbies, bags of cookies, 2 liter bottles of soda, etc. Maybe put in some broccoli for a booby prize! Some parents may be concerned about the sugar rush, but this is a school carnival, after all!
We just had our carnival on Thursday and Friday, and I teach third grade. This year we did the toy walk (played just like the cake walk). We used small inexpensive toys ($1.00 limit) that the kids brought in, and we also got some Happy Meal toys donated from McDonald’s. Another one we did was a Wii game. The kids loved it!
Musical Chairs with Stuffed Animals
Before the carnival, we collected stuffed animals (kids can donate these by the arm loads). We put them in a pile in the center of a classroom. Then we placed chairs in a circle around the stuffed animals and taped a numbered piece of paper onto each chair.
We played music for a minute while the kids walked around the back of the chairs. Then, we shut the music off. The kids scrambled to sit. There was a chair for each child- no one was left standing. Once everyone was sitting, we drew a number from a hat, which corresponded to one of the numbers on the chairs. The child who was sitting in the chair with the matching number from the hat won and got to pick a stuffed animal from the pile. We repeated this until all the stuffed animals had been picked.
Last year at our fall festival, we had a duck race. We set up one of those small swimming pools and bought a few small rubber ducks. We also bought a matching number of squirt guns. The object was for the students to “race” their ducks across the swimming pool by using the spray from the squirt guns to make them go. The first duck to reach the other side won. It was really fun!
Arts & Crafts
What about sand art? The kids love it! You can get supplies online, such as small plastic bottles and bracelets. Use salt dyed with food coloring for the sand.
Dress up the Teacher
This was a very popular and hilarious event at our last carnival. First, we hit several garage sales and the Good Will to find outrageous clothing items. We bought some very ugly things. The uglier, the better, we thought. We got shirts, pants, hats, scarves, boots- you name it!
Then we asked a few teachers to volunteer to run this activity. They, the teachers, would ask a student a trivia question. If the student got it right, they got to pick out an ugly clothing item and the teacher would have to put it on. Then the student got another turn. He could keep going until he got a trivia question wrong.
Of course, we had a digital camera on hand to snap photos of the teachers all dressed up in their ugliest attire!
The Beauty Salon
This was a popular booth at our Fall Carnival. The boys and girls loved getting their hair colored, blue, green, pink! Combine this with fake-tattoo applications and face-painting, and you’ve got a real destination!
We had a carnival and the booth that was the biggest hit was the engraving booth. We ordered dog tag necklaces from Oriental Trading and had one of those hand held engraving machines and wrote the kid’s names or a message on them. It was quick and easy. Here’s a link to Oriental Trading Co.
The mystery boxes at our last carnival were very popular. First, we collected several boxes and lined them with plastic so there wouldn’t be any leakage. Then we decorated the boxes and cut holes in the side of them, only big enough for a child to stick his or her arm into the box through the hole. Then we filled the boxes with really gross-feeling things like peeled grapes, cold spaghetti, jello with fruit. We gave each one a scary name.
Ping-Pong Ball Toss
We purchased ten of those plastic pumpkin shaped trick-or-treat containers and had them placed on a table as the targets. You could also use goldfish bowls, coffee cans, or Tupperware containers- it really doesn’t matter. I also bought a half-dozen or so ping-pong balls.
Each player is allowed to throw three ping-pong balls. You can color-code the bowls to have different prize levels or you can give prizes based on the number of balls (1-3) that the child actually lands in the bowls. It’s helpful to have at least two sets of balls on hand so one helper can chase balls while the other helper works with the next person in line.
A popular game at our school’s carnival was the football toss. We hung four various sized hoola-hoops from the ceiling. The first hoops were larger, but then got progressively smaller. The smaller the ring, the higher the points and the greater the prize.
We would give a prize to any student who made it through the first, big hoop. But if he wanted to try again for a smaller hoop, he had to “risk” his prize. If he missed on the second ring, he would lose his prize. But, the prize for the second hoop was better than the first prize. We had four different sized hoops, so the smallest hoop had the best prize.
Hit the Teacher With a Wet Sponge
This event was hugely popular at our carnival, even with the parents. Be sure to give the teachers goggles or a scuba mask!
A volunteer stands behind a board with only their face showing through a hole. (If you have an artistic volunteer, he or she can paint a funny scene on the front of the board.) The player gets three tries to hit them in the face with a wet sponge. Put a plastic tarp in front of the backboard to keep the sponges clean.
Provide goggles and maybe a poncho to your brave volunteer target. You can even have two lines, one to throw sponges and one to be the target!
This is a common game at carnival midways. Players try to bounce a ball off of a target on a easel-type stand and get the ball to land in a basket. You could use an art easel as the target and a plastic laundry basket set at the easel’s base as your basket.
Tin Pan Alley
This is a very common carnival midway type of game, and it is also very popular. The child rolls three balls (one at a time) down a ramp. At the bottom of the ramp, there is a box which contains two muffin tins, with each hole painted with one of three different colors (red, yellow, and green for instance). If two of the child’s three balls land in the same colored holes, he or she wins.
A parent built a Plinko board that travels from grade to grade with his son – it’s the most popular item at the fair. We have a stage in our gym so kids stand on the stage to drop in the Plinko disks.
The player lays each a chip flat against the top of the board and releases it. As the chip falls, it bounces throughout a matrix of pegs until it lands at the bottom of the board. The player wins the prize that corresponds with the slot in which the chip lands.
One of my favorite carnival games ever is “Chicken Chucking”. First we bought a few rubber chickens. We also bought two “chicken coops”, which were simply RubberMaid bins.
We found an area where we wouldn’t run into and disturb other activities. A gym with high ceilings works best.
I marked off a “throwing line” and then placed one pen at 30 feet away and the other at 40 feet away. Each contestant got three throws. I gave a small prize if the person landed the chicken in the first coop, and I found some cool rubber chicken key chains that I awarded to those people who hit the 40 foot coop. It was hilarious watching everyone throwing their rubber chickens!
Halloween or Harvest Themed
Plastic Gloves Filled with Popcorn
We sold clear plastic gloves filled with popcorn. Each “hand” had a spider ring on the finger.
Guess The Weight of a Big Pumpkin
Closest guess wins a prize.
Great Pumpkin Obstacle Race
We do a “Great Pumpkin Obstacle Race” where the student dresses up like a great pumpkin (we use my orange hunting coat, hat, and gloves) then they go through tires, over hay bales, and weave through pumpkins. The kids love it!
Pumpkin Ring Toss
We get donations from the local nurseries for pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, gourds, etc. We take about ten of the larger stemed pumpkins and use them as the targets for the ring toss. I found wooden hoops at the local fabric store.
This provided a lot of laughs. First, I purchased a set of those plastic blowing pins and made up a nice alley. Then, I found some gourds that would roll, but that weren’t perfectly round. When the kids would roll their gourd, trying to hit the pins, they would roll funny so it made it much more difficult to hit the pins.
A Really Good Idea!
If you’d like to read additional in-depth school carnival ideas on how to make more money at your event, please check out my 186 page e-book, “The School Carnival Money Making Guide.” It’s full of ideas on everything from how to structure your game and activity fees to what the best strategy to use for your prizes is. Also covered are chapters on marketing, planning, and volunteerism. Check it out!
Tagged as: school carnival