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Carnival Activities for Preschool Students

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 9/11/2012

These fun carnival games and activities will get your preschool students jumping for fun. Giving the atmosphere of a fair, the students will love this new way of learning as they play through popular carnival games.

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    Tin Can Activity

    The ever popular tin can alley game can be found at any carnival. Preschool activities with this game include setting cans up like a pyramid while the object of the game is to knock over all the cans. To do this the child would throw a soft ball or sand bag to try to knock down the cans.

    Materials Needed:

    • 6 tin cans
    • Soft ball or small sand bag
    • Cardboard Sign Stating "Tin Can Alley"

    Set Up:

    Clean all cans and ensure the labels are taken off. Examples of cans include vegetable cans or soup cans. Place three cans in the bottom row. The next row will have two cans, above the three cans. Then one can on top. This set up will look almost like a pyramid-as shown below.

    Object of Game:

    The object of the game is to try to knock down all the cans. As we are dealing with young preschool children, they may need to start with just three cans (two on bottom, one on top). This will help them get used to aiming and knocking down the cans. This activity allows for the children to use their fine motor skills as they grasp the ball or sand bag and their gross motor skills as they throw the ball or sand bag.

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    Duck Pond Game

    Everyone remembers the fun duck pond game when they were little. Small toy ducks would float in a small tub of water. The object of the game was to find a marking on the bottom of the duck.

    Materials Needed:

    • Ten toy ducks
    • Small tub or large bowl (large enough to fit all ten ducks)
    • Marker

    Set Up:

    The teacher will mark the bottom of the ducks beforehand. Number the ducks one to five. So there should be a pair of ones, a pair of twos, a pair of threes, a pair of fours, and a pair of fives. Fill the tub or large bowl up with water. Not too much, just enough water is needed for the ducks to float. Paper towels should be nearby for the water messes.

    Object of Game:

    The object of this game is for the preschool student to find matching pair. Taking turns each student would choose two ducks at a time. If the ducks do not match they will put them back. If they do match they will set them aside. (teacher should set up paper towels on the side for the matched ducks) This carnival game will help students identify numbers as well as matching up pairs.

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    Dry Fishing for Colors

    This activity brings a new twist to the old fishing carnival game.

    Materials Needed:

    • Small aquarium fishnet
    • Ten small styrofoam balls
    • Food coloring
    • Small tub or large bowl

    Set Up:

    Teacher will need to prepare the styrofoam balls before this game is set up in class. Using the food coloring, the teacher will dye the styrofoams balls. Depending on what color you want you will use a number of drops for each color. For instance for dark red use about ten drops of red but for light pink use one drop of red. The drops will be placed in a cup of water. Then soak balls for a few minutes. Take balls out and dry on paper towels.

    Object of Game:

    For the carnival activity the teacher will place the colored balls into the tub or large bowl without water. Each child will take a turn fishing for a color. The child will take the small net and the teacher will call out a color. The child will then use the net to "fish" for the correct colored ball.

    This preschool carnival activity is great for recognizing colors as well as using fine motor skills.

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    The teacher can use small prizes such as stickers or fun colored pencils to reward the students when they "win" at these preschool carnival activities. Ensure that each child wins a game at least one time. So if you have ten students, figure each student will win each of the three games once. You are looking at ninety stickers to give away. Have fun with this and show off your fishing or throwing skills as well!

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    Information comes from personal experience