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Carnival Fun

Page history last edited by Jane McManus 2 years, 8 months ago

Libraries are more than books. Some kids need a little direction to get the creative juices flowing. I gleaned the following from PUBYAC contributors. If you're a member, check out the archives for 5-1 and 5-6-2010. Please add YOUR comments. Your colleagues would appreciate hearing what works, and what didn't!

See also: Have Rolling Bag, Will Travel; KidsFairs; Parties and Celebrations

Whatever activity you do, it needs to be short. People want to stop for a very short time at a booth and then move on to the next.



  • KidsFair

  • Carnival



  • Simple fare—not too messy

  • Have some treats, like cheap lollipops to give away when people take a library quiz.



  • Balloons

  • Banners

  • It's better to have the table you use draped in cloth, like a long table cloth; makes it more attractive and you can hang or pin items onto the cloth.



  • Sound system if it’s a large event



  • Simple Crafts (e.g. bookmarks, paperbag puppets, paper masks)

  • Thumbprint Drawings (see Ed Emberley)

  • Have some small prize to give away when people can show you their Library Card. 

  • If you have library card application forms right there, that would be good. If there's any way to be able to give out a library card right there, even better.


GAMES: (Choose as many as you have supervision for; if taking off-site, one, no more than two, or you'll go crazy!)

  • Balloon or Egg Toss (Be mindful of latex allergies.)

  • "Bean Bag" Toss (e.g. plastic food in picnic basket or animal's mouth, bears in basket, bean bags/shoulder pads/coins on colors, sponge at target, cotton balls in bucket, bugs in alien's mouth, spiders in pumpkin, paratrooper on target, football through target)

  • Bank-A-Shot


  • Bowling (using a plastic bowling set or 2L plastic bottles)

  • "Chalk" Walk (using books or other prizes)

  • Brain Teasers

  • Claw Game (using an extended reacher or grabber)

  • Clothespin Drop

  • Cookie Decorating

  • Croquet

  • Cup-Catch

  • Darts (using Velcro dart board)

  • Draw A Card (each suit corresponds to a different prize)

  • Duck Pond

  • Duck Race (using rubber ducks, a kiddie pool and squirt guns)

  • Face Painting

  • Find The. (e.g. thimble, pennies/chocolate coins/treasure in the sand/rice, toys in packing peanuts, eggs around the room)

  • Fishing Pond

  • Fortune Teller/Crystal Ball

  • Frisbee Throw

  • Frog Jump/Leap

  • Guess How Many (e.g. jellybeans, coins, buttons)

  • Haunted House

  • Hopscotch

  • Horse or Car Race (using the spinner from a Twister game or dice to determine which horse or car moves)

  • Horse Shoes

  • Hot Potato

  • Jump Rope

  • Knockdown (e.g. cans, bottles, cereal boxes, toys, stuffed animals, ping pong balls off golf tees [using squirt guns])

  • Magician

  • Mini Golf (using an electric putt return)

  • Obstacle Course

  • Paper Airplane Race

  • Pencil Shuffleboard

  • Pillowcase/Sack Hop

  • Pin The...(e.g. patch-on-pirate, collar-on-Scooby Doo, tail-on-donkey, batteries-on-robot, flowers-on-hat, feathers-on-parrot/turkey, nose-on-pumpkin/snowman/reindeer, ornament-on-tree)

  • Pinata

  • Plinko

  • Poster Contest (identify children's book characters on a poster)

  • Punch Cards or Passports (get punches or stamps for completing activities, turn in the cards for prizes)

  • Puppet Show

  • Relay Races

  • Rescue The Animal (find the right key to rescue a stuffed animal from a locked cage)

  • Ring Toss

  • Roll The Dice

  • Scavenger Hunt

  • Science Activities (e.g. play with tornado tubes)

  • Shell Game

  • Spin The Wheel

  • Stacking (e.g. LEGO, cookies, cups)

  • Sucker Pull

  • Temporary Tattoos

  • Three-Legged Race

  • Tic-Tac-Toe

  • Twister

  • Walk The Plank/Tightrope



  • Have various stations for crafts & games before ending with raffle OR

  • Hold a free raffle for a book every hour or half-hour. Have people collect their prize book at the library

  • If giving out give-away books, take a collection to appeal to the expected age group. Have vouchers available for children who don't find one they like in the available display. They can redeem the voucher when they visit the library.

  • Read a book or poems, depending on the theme (If you have a large enough area that could be set up so participants can take a breather.)

  • Give out bags if the event is large enough for people to accumulate stuff

  • If giving out goodie bags, fill them in advance 

  • If using pens or pencils, tie them to the table with string



  • Library pamphlets that have general information about libraries

  • Copies of monthly calendar of events

  • Fliers/programs, (which may vary depending on the audience)



  • Have a volunteer wear a book character costume

  • Get adult help at each station



  • Most supplies can be purchased in bargain bins at craft stores or Dollar Stores. 



  • Will have to be adjusted to accommodate location and event. (If an all day event, try to break your time into 4 hour shifts.)


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