With all of today's technological gizmos from the iPod and the iPad to handheld game consoles like the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable to high-end smart phones, it can be nice to step back and organise a fair full of old-fashioned, tactile games that kids can enjoy today, just as they did in generations past.
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Bobbing for Apples
In the age of hand sanitisers and antibacterial soaps, bobbing for apples may not seem like the most sanitary game. But as long as you change the water on a relatively frequent basis, health threats should be minimal, especially if the person running the games watches out for people with runny noses. Give out prizes for successful bobbers.
Set up numbered squares in a ring. The squares should be just large enough for one person to stand on and there should be the same number of squares as players. Have the players walk on the squares to music. When the music stops, each player stands still. The game operator draws a number at random. The person standing on that number wins a prize.
Ring toss is a classic carnival game. Set up poles and have players attempt to hook rings around them. Set up poles at different distances and give different prizes for the distances.
Set a table with coloured dots of various sizes. Have players exchange their tickets for pennies to throw. Players try to land the pennies on the coloured dots for prizes. Alternatively, have the players try to get the pennies in different size cups.
These games sometimes turn up in various restaurants, often to raise money for a charity. Set a few ledges of varying sizes in a fish tank, fill it with water and allow people to try to drop a quart onto one of the ledges. If they succeed, they get a prize.
This game is a classic and requires little more than chairs and a music player with speakers. Set up one less chair than there are players and play the music. Everyone walks around the chairs. When the music stops, the players must find a chair. The player left standing is out. Another chair is removed and the music starts again. This cycle continues until one players gets the last chair and wins the game.
Air Hockey Tournament
Kids and adults alike can get into the fast-paced game of air hockey. Rent a table from a game-supply store. Have kids sign up for slots in the tournament in advance and award prizes to the winners. If your fair will have kids of multiple ages, set up different tournaments for different age brackets so that the younger ones have a chance.
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