The summer is here and it’s time to take our parties outside. In this article we’ll give you some ideas for garden party games. All will require some preparation and you should start preparing these games at least a week before you need them.

We hope that you find these ideas useful, there are plenty of variations that can be made to each to take greater account of the age of the players and obviously, the more time and care taken in the making of the boards and targets, the longer they will last and the more years of enjoyment you can expect from them. They can also be added to with stalls like the coconut shy (the bigger the hoop the coconut sits in the harder it is to knock it off) and scaled up for use at small fetes and garden parties.

Don’t forget, the games on their own are nothing without the right environment, plenty of bunting and other carnival type decoration – carnival posters describing the rules of each game and simple ‘WIN WIN WIN’ type artwork. If you have the time and are prepared for a little investment, you could make small fairground sideshow stalls, sloped sides and a back stapled, taped or tied to tall bamboo canes pushed into the ground. Across the front you could use wide tape to identify the throwing line etc. Karnival Tic Tac Toe Aim of the game: land three sponge balls in a row, diagonal or line within the target box.

The target box is divided into nine equal segments. To do this, select your target box – 14″ square produces best result if using 3″ diameter sponge balls, and cut this down to 4″ or 5″ height all round. To divide the box into segments cut four strips of card to the right length and height. Interlock these strips at just over 3″ intervals and place the completed insert into the target box. To complete the box, give it slopped sides to keep the thrown balls inside the box.

Each player is given four 3″ sponge balls and prizes are awarded for getting any three in a row, line or diagonal. The distance away from the target box is determined by the age of the players.

Karnival Clown Throw Ball Aim of the game: get 1 or more balls through the hole in the target board.

For the target board you will need a board, or multi-layered cardboard, in the ratio 3′ wide and 4′ high. Draw an outline of a clown making sure it has a wide mouth. Before painting the clown, cut a 7″ whole for the mouth and this will be the target for the thrower. Try to make sure that the whole is central and about halfway up. If your artwork is not up to it, download a picture from the internet and scale it up.

Throwers stand about 6 or 7 feet away and are given three balls each. You can nominate to give prizes for one or more balls through the clown’s mouth.

A variation on the clown throw ball is to draw your clown and cut three holes of different sizes but each allowing a ball of beanbag through. The holes are given values based on their size – smaller hole has higher value. Each player is given a number of balls or beanbags and prizes awarded for achieving a certain score when all of the balls/bags have been thrown.

Karnival Garden Darts Aim of the game: throw three darts into the bullseye of the target.

For the target you will need a stiff cardboard box at least 18″ square on the side. It is advisable to reinforce the inside of the box which will become the target face and weight the bottom to prevent it falling over when struck. Paint the outside of the box in a plain colour and then paint an 18″ diameter circle and inside that a 12″ and then 6″ circles to form the target.

Throwers can stand at a distance at least 5 feet from the target which can be tilted from the floor or raised up and prizes are awarded as you want. All dart games must be supervised by an adult.

Karnival Target Balloons Aim of the game: throw a dart to burst a balloon to claim the ‘prize’ identified on a tag behind.

The target board is commonly square in multiple of 6 “. The board is marked into 6” squares and at the intersection of each square a hook is inserted. The traditional carnival decoration is white board with red markings – use red adhesive electrical tape. On each hook is placed an identical tag which has the prize written on it (or left blank for losers). In front of this tag, attach a small inflated balloon.

Throwers stand at least 5 feet away from the board and when a balloon is burst, the prize is awarded in-line with the tag. Remove the tag and replace with one from a box of spares, place the balloon and next thrower steps up. All dart games must be supervised.

Karnival Lollipops Aim of the game: to pull a lollipop from the board with a marked stick. Prizes awarded according to the colour on the stick.

The board is actually a large(ish) cardboard box which is painted in a plain colour all round and then decorated as required. On the side of the box punch rows of holes say 5 holes across with 10 rows (50 holes). It is best to prepare two sides of the box in the same way. Buy boxes of cheap flat lollies and dip the tip of some into dye of paint. These are the winning lollies and prizes are awarded according to the colour. Load a random selection of lollies into both sides of the box – both marked and non marked.

Players pull a lolly from the selection and if it’s marked then a prize is awarded. If it’s unmarked no prize is awarded but the lolly is kept as a consolation. When a number of lollies have been taken, change the side and reload the holes away from ‘prying eyes’.

Karnival costumes has a great range of party fancy dress and the perfect ‘bunko’ booth blazer – see our ‘Through the Ages’ section 1920’s. This would make a great showman’s jacket. Have a great party.

Source by Keith Sinclair