Is your carnival stuck in a rut? Tired of the same old moonbounce? Here are some ideas to freshen up your annual event.
Skip the bounce house and spend the money on interactive games instead. First, bounce houses aren’t all that safe. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child is injured in a moonbounce every 46 minutes. Nothing ruins an event like a broken limb! So forget the jumpy house and consider another large, colorful, but SAFE inflatable. Many rental companies offer large inflatable basketball, soccer, and other sports games. The giant “soccer darts” is also popular. You can rent life-sized inflatable bowling pins or a multi-sided game inflatable with sound effects. Kidsmart offers S.A.F.E. Archery and an interactive light game that can be played in a giant lime-green dome with space alien murals (how cool is that?). Any of these will intrigue and excite your guests, without putting them at risk of injury.
The Interactive Light System and dome at JB Inflatables.
Play Games. Inexpensive rentals like 9 Square in the Air (a volleyball-style game played inside a plastic grid) and water tag can involve lots of kids at once and provide hours of entertainment. At one school, P.E. teachers volunteered to lead various games. A win-win, since they already had all the equipment and expertise needed to put on some great games!
9 Square in the Air volley game
Get a video game truck. This will be such a large draw that you’ll probably need a ticketing system in order to keep the line down. At our last school carnival, we issued time-stamped tickets and had students return at the designated time so that they didn’t have to wait in line.
Inside of video game truck, from Edge Party Trailer
Get a blast from the past with slot cars. There are a few companies now offering mobile slot car racing, which they can bring to your event. The cost is generally less than a large bounce house. Slot cars are a great option because they don’t require the kind of skill that other remote racing requires, so they are an accessible activity for all ages. Plus, it’s super fun to watch those cars speed around the track, and fun to try and see how fast you can go without flying off! You’ll probably have a few dads waiting in line, too.
Slot Car Raceway from Slot Mods
Get a DJ and have a dance. Kids love to dance! We have noticed that at many of our events, the main draw is just a chance to run around with friends outside of the classroom. A dance is great way for kids to socialize and have some laid back fun.
Smoky the DJ at the Fall Festival glow dance
Put on a talent show. You can save the money and provide your own entertainment with a talent show. Most schools already have a microphone and speakers somewhere, but they can be rented inexpensively if yours doesn’t. A portable stage can be set up (again, many schools have their own) and you can create a lineup that keeps the entertainment all throughout the event. All the better if you can get some teachers to perform!
stock photo from Pexels
Recycle your old remote control cars. Many parents have old rc toys hanging around. Collect them all together and have a remote control rally. Use a classroom or fence off a space with hay bales or wooden planks, and then let kids take turns at the controllers. It might not be high-end Micro-Reality, but the kids will still have a blast!
Remote Rally at Fun Fair
We hope some of these ideas help you get creative with your next carnival!