In New Orleans, the indoctrination of children into the rituals of Carnival begins practically at infancy. People from all ages and walks of life cherish photos and memories of being dressed up in carnival child clothes lovingly sewn by their mothers. And something about the archetypical sounds and sights of the parades - the rhythmic excitement of marching bands, the vividly colored storybook floats, funny carnival games and the mysterious riders showering beads and baubles into the outstretched arms of cheering throng - sinks deep into the children psyche. So much so that even in one's advancing years, long after the childhood thrill of Christmas morning has faded, the mere sound a drum roll heralding the approach of a parade can bring tingles of anticipation and, if only for a fleeting moment, summon the lost innocence of youth.
Costume closets, king cake parties, watching parades from atop festively festooned ladders and wielding butterfly nets to snag airborne trinkets - all are part of a carnival experience.
A carnival game is an essential part of any carnival. It is nearly impossible to go from one end of a carnival or amusement park to the other without encountering the midway games. Bellow you can find some tips how to organize the carnival games on your own - for example on your kid's birthday party or any other celebration.
Clothes pin toss game: Get some old fashioned clothes pins and have the kids paint them bright carnival colors. Then get a large coffee can and decorate it with construction paper, markers, stickers or whatever. To start this carnival child game the kids stand over the coffee can and see how many clothes pins they can drop in. Have them take a step backward every time they make it in and see how far they can go backward before they can't get one thrown in. Another variation is to have them kneel then stand on a chair to see how high they can get before it doesn't go in the can. Cheap and easy fun. Good for hand eye coordination too!
This is another good carnival child game: make several cotton candy holders (a simple rectangle), then make several "cotton candies" for the top in colors that match the holders. Laminate both the holder and the cotton candy. The children then can match up the color of the cotton candy to the holder. This can also be used to match numbers, letters, etc. Ice cream cones work good, too.
For this game have a parent cut a hole in a 4x8 piece of plywood large enough for a face to show. Paint a clown body around and under the hole. This makes a great wet sponge throwing booth. (Use regular paint, not tempera!) Create a maze for the children to crawl through.
Roller Ball carnival child game: tape a piece of cardboard to one end of a muffin tin to form a ramp. Fill each cup in the muffin tin with candies or small prizes. Each guest gets three tries to roll a Ping-Pong or other small ball up the ramp and into the muffin tin.
Bean Bag Toss carnival child game: draw a large clown face on cardboard or poster board. Cut a hole for the clown's mouth (large enough for a bean bag to be thrown through). Prop it up on a chair. Each player gets three tries to throw a bean bag into the clown's mouth.
Go Fish! Create a fishing pole using a stick and a piece of string or yarn with a large plastic hook on the end. Guests cast the fishing pole into the booth, and a helper on the other side attaches a prize for them to reel in.
Use your puppet stand or coat rack for a ring toss. Tape feelings faces, animal faces, or silly made-up faces to each rung. Whichever one the child gets, they get to act out. It's very funny, indeed!