dollar store carnival

Whether you’re looking to keep your kids busy for the last weeks of summer or planning a fall carnival for a community event, the dollar store is a great place to visit for ideas.  In my case, I scour the shelves for items to use for carnival style games for birthday parties.  My four kids birthdays are in a row (July, August, September and October!) so I need party game ideas that are economical and entertaining.  Here are some activities I have done, and you could use them for your own carnival!


Project estimate:

  • Balls, $1 per pack
  • Cups, $1 for pack of six
  • Water squirter, $1
  • Fishing game, $1
  • Carnival tickets, $1
  • Plastic tablecloth, $1
  • Wood board, on hand
  • Tables, on hand

Total: $6 and up

Dollar Carnival Ideas
To set up your carnival backdrop, purchase several brightly colored plastic table clothes from the party section at Dollar Tree.  Set up a clothesline and hang each cloth from the rope.  If it’s windy (like it was at my party) you will need to weigh down the ends of the cloth.

DIY Carnival
Knock ‘Em Down:

Open the pack of glasses and attach the base to the stem of the cup.  Arrange the cups to form a pyramid.  The point of the game is to knock all the cups off the table by throwing a ball.

Dollar Carnival Game

Splash Down:

Open the pack of glasses and just use the base of the cups.  Glue them on to a wood board as pictured.  Set the balls on top of each stand.  The objective of the game is to use a water squirter to knock all the balls off the table.

DIY Dollar Games

Ball Toss:

Arrange several different sized glass bowls and cups on a table.  Participants try to throw the balls into the containers.

Dollar store Carnival DIY

Gone Fishing:

Use an old aquarium and a magnetic fishing game from the dollar store.  Participants try to “hook” a fish.

Ring Toss:

Using a bottle and plastic bracelets, each participant attempts to throw a bracelet onto the neck of the bottle.

Dollar Store Carnival Game

Carnival tickets are available in the party section at Dollar Tree.  Children can earn a ticket after playing each game and redeem them for prizes later.  I set up a prize booth at my party, but, honestly, the kids had so much fun with these games that they just kept playing for the joy of it!