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Name of Activity:

Carnival Games

Purpose of Activity:

To allow children to practice and improve hand-eye coordination, and whole body coordination, while having fun in a 'carnival' atmosphere.


Children should have good ball handling skills. Should easily be able to bounce and catch, toss and catch, play catch with a partner.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Buckethead requires a special headpiece that can easily be made, using 2 plastic buckets or sand pails, and 2 velcro strips (see directions below), about 20 small bouncy balls

Description of Idea

These “Carnival” Games” require quite a bit of space (a gym is perfect!). They are great for a special occasion, or simply to use during a regular P.E. class. The kids enjoy these games, but it takes a little time to “make” the equipment needed for the “Buckethead” game. The time spent is well worth it!

Set up the following stations, and allow a few students to play in each station for several minutes (be sure to allow enough time), after which they must rotate to a new station. They must be civilized, take turns, encourage one another, and be patient while waiting their turn! If space permits, you can double your equipment and allow 2 students to go at one time.

Note: Teacher should try each one first to get a feel for each challenge!! Teacher or a student should lead some exercises first, then demonstrate each activity before children begin.

Station 1: BUCKET-HEAD
Equipment: Purchase small to medium sized plastic buckets or sand pails. Cut slits horizontally at the bottom, with slits an equal distance apart. Put a Velcro strip thru the slits so that the bucket will sit on top of your head, and you can fasten it under your chin. Also, use lots of small, lightweight bouncing balls in this activity.
Description/Objective: Each Student (one at a time) must put bucket on top of head (facing upward) and fasten it under chin, then bounce balls off the wall (or for older kids: bounce from floor-to-wall) and try to catch with buckethead! Children who are waiting their turn can retrieve balls that were missed. Each child should get 10 turns (or more, depending on age/skill level). Let’s see… WHO, in each group, CAN CATCH THE MOST BALLS IN THEIR “BUCKETHEAD?”

Station 2: EGG RACE
Equipment: Plastic Easter Eggs, glued together, a large Pizza Box, Small Box (perhaps a shoe box) taped on its side to wall or floor.
Description/Objective: Each Student (one at a time) must go to starting point and use Pizza Box as a fan and move the eggs, without touching them and only fanning them, into the shoe box- some distance away. Let’s see….WHO CAN GET ALL THREE EGGS INTO THE SHOEBOX THE FASTEST?—for younger students: Let’s see….CAN YOU GET ANY OR ALL OF THE EGGS IN THE SHOEBOX? (within a minute perhaps?) (Note: The distance between starting point and ending point depends on age/skill and should be determined by teacher).

Station 3: BALOON BUMP
Description/Equipment: All that is needed is two blown up balloons. Have a few extras on hand in case one breaks.
Objective: Each student must use hand or fingertips to keep BOTH balloons up, and keep them from touching floor for 30 seconds (or 45 seconds, or 1 minute, depending on their age/skills). Let’s find out…..CAN YOU DO IT?

Equipment: Several packages of large plastic party cups (the disposable kind are fine, although they might crack if the kids are too rough on them!) This activity can be done one child at a time, two at a time, or several at a time.
Description/Objective: On “GO”, each student has one minute to make a TOWER using the cups, but stacking them, first one up, second one on top of first one and up-side down, third one on top facing up, fourth one on top and upside down, etc…..
Let’s see…WHO in your group CAN MAKE THE TALLEST TOWER IN ONE MINUTE?. If your tower falls, you must start over! (Note: It's a good idea to set up a long table near a wall, and tape a tape measure to the wall, so student's can see how "tall" their tower is).

Station 5: SWEEP IT!
Equipment: Broom (child size broom for younger children) and bean bag, small soft toy or stuffed animal, or small foam ball, or whatever object you would like to use to ‘sweep’ across the floor.
Objective: Each student starts sweeping object from point A to point B. It’s fun to set up cones so students have to go between or around them! Let’s see….WHO CAN DO IT THE FASTEST in each group?

For younger children, I like to make up several little award certificates – enough so each child can get one. I ask each child: Which of the 5 carnival challenges were you best at???...then I give them an award for their ‘best’.

Assessment Ideas:

This activity encourages a "party/carnival" atmosphere, so in this case, no need to assess or grade students. Tell them, "If you had fun, YOU WON!"

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Submitted by Karen Schmitz who teaches at St. George Elementary School in Tinley Park, IL. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 2/6/2011.

Viewed 63820 times since 9/30/2010.

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Previous Comments:

Karen Schmitz

Love your idea, Lisa and I will definitely add it! The kids will love it too. I've used water bombs on hot days too, but never combined them with "Buckethead"!! :)

Lisa Ives

I used a Bucket Head game for our outdoor field day and we used the small water bombs soaked in water. It was great, wet fun on a hot day!

Carnival Games