How to make fun fair games

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If your organisation is holding a fair for fun or as a fundraiser, you probably want to include games for children. Fair games can range from simple games that delight even the youngest children to much more elaborate attractions. It takes only a little creativity and a few basic materials to create fair games that children of all ages can enjoy. Fun fair games can include those that entail some skill, those that require only luck and those that are totally noncompetitive.

Make a duck pond game, also known as "pick up ducks." Fill a shallow plastic paddling pool with water from a hose. Purchase 50 to 60 plastic ducks from a party supply store; make sure they float. Label the bottom of each duck with a letter that corresponds to a prize; for example, you can use one for a small prize, two for a medium prize and three for a large prize. You can use plastic boats as an alternative to ducks.

Make a ball toss game. Set up a metal can that is 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 feet) high with a diameter of 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet). You can use a plastic basket as an alternative. The children try to throw a softball into the can. Small children should stand 1.5 metres (5 feet) away, and larger children should stand 3 to 4.5 metres (10 to 15 feet) away. Have older kids throw the ball while facing away from the can for an extra challenge.

Make a shell game. Use three plastic bowls for shells. Place a ball or another small item under one of the bowls. Have an adult quickly shuffle the bowls around, and have the children guess which bowl is hiding the item when the shuffling stops.

Set up a balloon dart game. Use a plywood board that is at least 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres (5 feet by 5 feet). Staple blown-up balloons to the board until the board is covered with balloons. Have children stand 3 metres (10 feet) away and throw darts at the balloons. Award prizes for breaking balloons.

Set up a face-painting booth. Find a volunteer with art skills to serve as the face painter. Use water-based paint that is safe for human skin. Provide a poster with sample images from which children can choose, such as rainbows, animals, balloons or cartoon characters.

Make a guess-the-weight game. Select a variety of items in advance, such as a shoe, a rock, a book, a large stuffed animal and various toys. Weigh each item before the fair, and record the weight. Have players guess the weight of each item, and award prizes to those who come closest to the actual weight.

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