Free Ideas for Summer Carnival Games

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Target games like ring toss or activities like fortune telling might be traditional carnival offerings, but with a little creativity, you can add fun games to your carnival that promote health and fitness, as well. Creating individual races and team events that require some physical effort without being too stressful can help promote cardiovascular and muscular fitness as well as a good time. Add competition or make everyone a winner with individual goals for an outing everyone will remember long after summer is over.

Obstacle Course Race

An obstacle course doesn't necessarily have to include only obstacles. You can add tasks, such as lifting and moving objects, to slow down participants. Lay out your course area in advance to make sure you have enough room so that participants won't run into each other. Add elements such as running through tires, hula hoops or a rope ladder; climbing across a row of monkey bars; moving large, awkward objects from one area to another; crabwalking; walking across a balance beam; and jumping hurdles. Take into account safety when you create your course. For example, a balance beam can be a simple board that has participants only a few inches off the ground. Objects that must be moved should be easy to grasp and not too heavy, to prevent back or feet injuries. Hurdles should be low—just high enough to slow participants down. You can have players go under low hurdles to slow them down, or require them to limbo under higher hurdles.

Sports Skill Circuit

To give everyone a chance to test their sports skills, create a circuit of sports challenges. Have players throw five footballs through a tire suspended on a rope several yards away. Next, have them chip five golf balls to a flag an appropriate distance away. Include five basketball shots from different areas. Have players perform five volleyball serves over a net to a target, like a large hula hoop. Make players pitch five baseballs to a target area. Give points for each successful attempt. Add a time element to increase intensity.

Physical Fitness Circuit

Create a trail of exercise for kids, with an adult at each station to show children the proper technique for such activities as sit-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, chin-ups and pull-ups. Younger children may not be able to perform all of these exercises, but they can earn a pass to the next station by attempting the skill with good form. Add dumbbell exercises for older children who may be interested in weight training. Have them perform biceps curls, triceps extensions, chair dips, flyes and weighted squats and lunges. Because of the difficulty of some of the exercises, you may want to award small prizes for finishing the circuit, rather than designating winners.