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It’s Carnival Time!

Every year we do a big carnival.  What are some of your best ideas for carnival activities?

One of the things I love and hate about carnivals at camp is the free flowing nature of them.  Almost every carnival I have seen has an unstructured free play aspect to it.  Basically, the campers get to go from activity to activity at their own pace.  I think this is important developmentally for all ages to experience, but as many of you know it can also be a recipe for disaster.  I know that wasn’t your question, but it is important as a framework for what you are going to do as far as activities.  The best carnivals have a mix of physical activities (catering to the range of abilities – easy to hard), more art based activities or less active options, and finally some non-active or even quiet options.  Having all of these things going on helps campers learn how to self regulate AND it’ll give staff a way to redirect a camper that is having a hard time with all the excitement and stimulation.

So… what about the actual activities?

Here are my favorites


  • Anything that involves water balloons and counselors
  • Minute to win it activities (google it)
  • Messy Musical chairs (ie. Shaving cream on the chairs)
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors with an entourage

Less active:

  • Mask making
  • Making / passing out Mardi Gras type beads
  • Group collage/sculpture making
  • Cup castles and stomp rockets



Scott “Funsize” Arizala

Camp Director for Camp Kesem, Vice President of Summer Programming for Dragonfly Forest, Summer Camp Consultant & Trainer, and award-winning author of S’more Than Camp.  For more information please visit www.TheCampCounselor.com