In our hometown, August always kicks off with the annual county fair and carnival! After taking our little nugget last summer, she was more than excited when she noticed the rides being erected at the fairgrounds this year. All she could talk about for at least a week, was how she was going to ride the carousel and the ferris wheel (the two rides she was big enough to go on last summer). This year we were able to add two additional rides to the lineup, we nibbled on some bright pink and blue cotton candy, and we tried our hand at a few carnival games. Our little nugget had the best time trying her luck at a ball toss game (and winning a couple of small emoji pillows), so I figured why not create a few simple DIY Carnival Games that we can do at home. These do-it-yourself carnival games became the perfect boredom buster for a rainy afternoon!
I wanted to keep things fairly simple, and just use items I already had around the house, so I decided to create the following games: Ring Toss, Ping Pong Ball Drop, Knock Em’ Down Ball Toss, and Ring-A-Bottle.
I actually came across this brilliant Ring Toss idea over at From ABCs to ACTs (http://fromabcstoacts.com/ring-toss-circus-game). I chose to make a few adjustments to Amber’s idea. My daughter has been super into coloring lately, so instead of painting our rings, we decided to color them with crayons instead. I also chose to forgo gluing the empty paper towel tube to the paper plate. Instead, I cut a small circle (the size of the tube) in the center of the plate, inserted the tube and then cut small slits in the tube, bent them back and taped them to the bottom of the plate (as seen in the photo above). I don’t know about you, but my toddler is a little rough with toys, so I wanted to make sure our ring toss tube lasted at least a few minutes. 🙂 I also taped a piece of construction paper around the outside of the tube to make it a little bit prettier. Once we were done constructing, it was time to play!
It took a little while for my little nugget to get the hang of the ole’ ring toss game, but she became a pro in no time!
Ping Pong Ball Drop
This Ping Pong Ball Drop game was the most similar to our little nugget’s favorite game at the fair this year (although, they used wiffle balls). She had the best time trying to drop the balls into the cups, and also enjoyed how the balls bounced all over the tile floor when they missed the cups. Of course my husband happened upon us while we were playing this game, and asked if I was preparing her for the beer pong championships she would certainly come face-to-face with in college. It never hurts to prepare! 🙂 And no…no alcohol was involved in our carnival games.
It was awesome to watch my daughter gain confidence in her ball drop skills. She started out so close to the cups (literally just towering right over them), but them slowly scooted back farther and farther, until she was tossing them from the kitchen. Not only did she enjoy tossing all of the ping pong balls, she also loved the challenge of dumping them all back into one cup, to start the game over again!
Knock Em’ Down Ball Toss
Yet another use for our stash of plastic cups! The Knock Em’ Down Ball Toss was absolutely my daughter’s favorite carnival game, and our version was much easier than the weighted-down milk bottles at the fair. I simply took a dining room chair and stacked a pyramid of plastic cups on top. I added two of our little nugget’s T-ball baseballs and TA-DA! I think you could use just about any ball that you happened to have on hand.
Before we began, I explained the goal of the game, and then handed both balls to my daughter (thinking she would throw one, after the other), but why not throw both at the same time? Clever girl. 🙂
What I loved most about this game was that she could play it all be herself. Once she knocked over all of the cups, she could then put some of her motor skills into action, by stacking all of the cups back up again. It took a little practice (and a little patience) but she happily accepted the challenge. She was always so proud of herself each time her cup pyramid was complete…not that it lasted long.
This Ring-A-Bottle game was definitely the most challenging of our DIY carnival games…but carnival games are meant to be a little bit tricky, right? For this game I utilized several mini water bottles (you could also use standard-sized water bottles). The water bottles were full, so that they were weighted down. For the rings, I used some small wooden rings that I had leftover from making dancing ribbon wands. If you don’t have such a thing on hand…look around…get creative…or you can make a quick (and inexpensive) trip to your nearest craft store.
Anyways, the game is as simple as tossing the wooden rings onto the water bottles…but be warned…it’s not as easy as it looks. My little nugget ran through one cup of rings before declaring the game “too tricky,” and heading back over to the ball toss. My husband and I both gave it our best shot too, but very few rings made their way around the tops of the bottles. 🙂
We had the best afternoon playing our DIY Carnival Games. It was a nice break from our usual routine, and it worked out perfectly on a rainy afternoon. To make it even more carnival-like, you could also purchase a few small (cheap) toys/prizes to give out to the winners. These games would also be a lot of fun at a birthday party, or get-together! If you give them a try, I would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.