Small fairs can be easy to organise and an affordable way to entertain a lot of children at once. They are a wonderful fund-raising option for schools, churches and kid's charities, but they can also just be a much-appreciated way to celebrate a birthday, bar mitzvah, quinceanera or any other big moment in a child's life.
Pie or Watermelon Eating Contest
Eating contests are a classic fair attraction as they are not only fun for contestants, but also for the viewers. Pie eating contests are far messier and kids enjoy the sweets better, but if you're worried about parents being upset by the mess or about childhood obesity, watermelon eating can be just as entertaining for viewers and participants. Try to buy seedless watermelons to avoid the problem of seeds getting lodged in contestant noses.
Fish Bowl Toss
Arrange a collection of rounded bowls filled with water. Put together baskets with three or five ping pong balls. Children can then throw the balls at the water bowls and win a prize for any balls that land in the water. In times past, the most common prize for this game was a live goldfish, but if you worry about parents disapproving of these gifts, then try candy or toys instead. If you want to keep up the theme, consider offering Swedish fish candies.
Duck Ponds or Lollipop Draws
Younger children always get a kick out of luck of the draw games because they give everyone an equal chance at winning. Duck ponds are a favourite of the youngsters. Just get a small plastic kiddie pool, fill it with water and then place a number of rubber ducks in the water. Before putting the ducks in, paint each one with a water proof dot in a certain colour. Each colour will mean a different prize, so when the child picks a duck, they don't know what they'll get.
Another easy luck of the draw game is the lollipop draw. For this one, simply take a ply board and drill a number of small holes to hold lollipops. Buy a huge bag of lollipops and then colour the tips of some of them. Place the pops in the board and let the kids try their luck. The best part of a lollipop draw is that even if the child doesn't win, they still get the candy as a consolation prize.
This is a favourite of adolescents who think faeces are some of the funniest things around. Simply mark off a fenced in area with large squares painted in chalk. Let contestants pick which block they think the bird is most likely to take a #2 and then when the magic moment arrives, the person (or people) who got the correct square wins a prize.
These games are easy to put together and a huge draw for those who seek to show off their skills. Simply buy a plywood sheet, cut a 3-inch wide hole and then paint a picture around it. If you have a good artist on hand, animal mouths are popular designs, but if you need something a little simpler, try a bulls eye. Just prop your board up against a saw horse or a chair and let the kiddos take a shot at getting the bean bag through the hole.
If someone in your area rents these out, and if you have the money, dunk tanks can be a welcome addition to any collection of fair games. You'll need a volunteer to be dunked and usually it helps if it is an authority figure, such as a priest, teacher, coach or parent. If your fair is a fundraiser, the small investment in the drunk booth may be one of the best money makers for the entire day.