Whether you’re looking to keep your kids busy for the summer or planning a carnival for a community event, the dollar store is a great place to visit for ideas. My four kids birthdays are in a row (July, August, September and October!) so I need party game ideas that are economical and entertaining.  Here are some carnival games I have used at our parties.  (See more party game ideas here.)
(This post first appeared at Dollar Store Crafts, where you can find my new tutorial every Tuesday!)


  • Balls
  • Cups
  • Water squirter
  • Fishing game
  • Carnival tickets
  • Plastic Tablecloth
  • Wood board
  • Tables

Purchase several brightly colored plastic table clothes from the party section at Dollar Tree to make your carnival back drop.  Set up a clothesline and hang each cloth from the rope.  If it’s windy you will need to weigh down the ends of the cloth.

Knock ‘Em Down:

Open the pack of glasses and attach the base to the stem of the cup.  Arrange the cups to form a pyramid.  The point of the game is to knock all the cups off the table by throwing a ball.

Splash Down:
Open the pack of glasses and just use the base of the cups.  Glue them on to a wood board as pictured.  Set the balls on top of each stand.  The objective of the game is to use a water squirter to knock all the balls off the table.

Ball Toss:
Arrange several different sized glass bowls and cups on a table.  Participants try to throw the balls into the containers.

Gone Fishing:
Use an old aquarium and a magnetic fishing game from the dollar store.  Participants try to “hook” a fish.

Ring Toss:
Using a bottle and plastic bracelets, each participant attempts to throw a bracelet onto the neck of the bottle.

Carnival tickets are available in the party section at Dollar Tree.  Children can earn a ticket after playing each game and redeem them for prizes later.  I set up a prize booth at my party, but, honestly, the kids had so much fun with these games that they just kept playing for the joy of it!