If you have ever been to a carnival, then you are familiar with the seemingly simple, but notoriously challenging, games in the midway. The clarion call of the carnival worker, "Step right up! Win a prize!" has enticed carnival goers for decades. You can easily recreate some of the most popular carnival games for your next birthday party or family reunion.
Balloon Dart Board
You need a large sheet of plywood, tempera paint, 20 multicolored balloons, tape, darts and prizes such as toys and gadgets. Randomly paint the numbers 1 through 20 in various places on the plywood. Each of those numbers represents a prize. Next, inflate 20 balloons to a size large enough to cover the numbers. Tape one balloon over each number. Players get two chances each to pop a balloon and reveal a number. If you pop a balloon, you win the prize for that number.
Bottle Ring Toss
You need a large, rectangular table, 50 or more empty glass bottles, several 3-inch diameter plastic rings (available at party supply stores) and prizes. Arrange the bottles on top of the table in five rows of 10. The bottles should all be the same size or roughly the same size. The rows should be as close together as possible with no space in between. Contestants each get three rings to toss. For every ring that goes around the top of a bottle, the player wins a prize.
Ball Basket Toss
You need a table; three, wide-mouthed baskets or buckets; three wooden wedges; three nails; a hammer; 20 or more bouncy rubber balls and prizes. Nail one basket or bucket to each wooden wedge, with the open end of the bucket on the top of the wedge. This places the buckets at an angle and makes the games more challenging. Place the buckets on a table with about a foot of space between each. Players get three chances to land a ball in the bucket. The players get a prize for each ball that stays in the bucket.
Bottle Ball Toss
You need a table, nine glass or plastic bottles, 20 or more baseballs and prizes. Arrange the bottles on the table in the following order: six bottles arranged in a triangle, three bottles in a triangle on top of the first six and the last bottle on the top to form a pyramid shape. The contestants get two chances to knock all of the bottles down. Successful contestants receive a prize.