Some Serious Carnival Game Ideas

The physical activity program at Haldimand-Norfolk Resource Centre (HNRC) is moving outside the box – and their building. HNRC program manager Susan Roach explains how they were inspired  by the television show Minute to Win It to play some new games, and then brought them outdoors to shake out a smile.

“We wanted to have some summer fun and found these 'minute to win it' games. We don't actually time them out, [participants] play until they are done, but members have found them very fun. There’s lots of laughter for all involved and it’s very physical. The bonus is that almost everything you need to play them are basic household items or items which are very inexpensive.

Photo of elephant marchWe have used the ‘elephant march,’ where participants wear a pair of panty hose over the head with a baseball in one leg. We line up a gauntlet of water bottles on two sides and they march through and knock the bottles down with their elephant trunk.



photo of woman jumping


‘Junk in the trunk’ involves a kleenex box filled with ping pong balls attached to the back of the individual and they need to shake and shimmy until they can cause all of the ping pong balls to fall out.



Photo of obstacle courseWe have done an obstacle course by holding a ball between the knees until you reach a target and then dropping the ball into the container at the end.




Photo of marshmallow catch‘Marshmallow toss’ requires that you position a paper plate on the edge of a table, drop a broom handle to cause the paper plate to flip causing the marshmallow on it to fly into the air, and then successfully catch the marshmallow in the bowl.






Photo of tic tac toe tossThe last one is the ‘tic tac toe.’ Paper cups are attached to a piece of bristol board in three rows of three and the member needs to toss orange and white ping pong balls and try to get one line of one colour.

There are many more games. When we did our end of summer bash we used ‘minute to win it’ games or versions of them as activities throughout the day. One game we used was having a blindfolded member try to get a lampshade hanging from a fishing pole set onto their head.

We have discovered that we can be successful getting people moving if it is fun and we can adapt it to meet a variety of needs and abilities.”