State Fair, Carnival or Amusement Park, whichever way you want to say it, is lots of fun for your kids but you know it’s going to happen. They will walk by a games booth and see a stuffed animal that they want. As we walked by the peach crates games, my daughter saw a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and being a superhero dad. I did my best to try and win it for her.
I wasn’t able to do it.
I knew my limit and I stopped after $10, which was only two throws. Dads want to win every time but I knew this wasn’t my day.
We got home that night and I immediately went to work and have compiled a list of the top 10 games at the fair that you can crush as a Dad to win a stuffed animal.
There is one lesson that you must remember before playing the game though. Watch other people play the game before you play the game. All of the advice below could work most of the time but every game is different.
Fair Game 1 – Peach Basket Toss
Objective of the Game – shoot a ball into a basket that is laying nearly on its side, and get it to stay.
This was the one that beat me. I watched the man in front of me, pump $20 (4 throws) into this game and he won on his final toss.
The key is to toss the ball with high arc and back spin and let it land in the front part of the basket. The key to the backspin is covering the ball with your hand and throwing it underhand. The bottom of the basket (the part that is staring back at you) usually has something hard in behind it, so that even though the basket is probably plastic that backing is solid and the ball will bounce right back out.
Side spin will work sometimes, however throwing it accurately and putting this spin on it is not a motion that is usually done and disrupts fluency.
Fair Game 2 – Milk Jug Toss
Objective of the Game – toss a ball and get it to fall inside a 10 gallon milk jug
The throw on this game is very similar to the Peach Basket Toss.
Grab the ball with your hand as if you are going to perform an overhand throw, but use an underhand throw with a medium arc. The milk jugs are deceiving in that the entry hole looks bigger than it actually is due to the shape of the jugs. Aim your throw for the back of the hole in the milk jug and toss it with back spin.
This game is winnable to so don’t get frustrated, you can usually get two balls for $5 on this one.
Fair Game 3 – Water Gun Race
Objective of the Game – shoot water out of a gun at a target to win a race
You will be facing other opponents at this game, as it is a race.
All men are created equal, however all carnival water guns are not.
Some guns will experience build up over the years or just shoot less water. Watch a few races before hand to determine which gun(s) are most likely to come out on top. Pick a gun that is consistently at the top. Set your eyes directly on the target and When the bell goes shoot fast and shoot accurate.
Fair Game 4 – Flukey Ball
Objective of the Game – Bounce a ball of a board and get it to land in a basket.
Flukey Ball is the game that looks the easiest but is probably the hardest.
I saw it at the amusement park but passed by without much interest.
The key to this game is match, science, angles, wind resistance, weight of the ball, etc. etc. there are many things to consider in this game. There are essentially two spots that you can throw the ball to make the game work. If you choose to throw at the top of the board do so with a relatively straight toss, if you choose to throw at the bottom of the board do so with an arc and an underhand throw with front spin. The lighter the ball the lighter the throw.
This game is tough and avoidable if necessary, but now you have the tools to help you out.
Fair Game 5 – The Rope Ladder
Objective of the Game – Climb a ladder and touch a buzzer to sound an alarm
The difficulty in this game is that the ladder is unstable as it is only attached at two points.
The key to this game is balance; many think they will hold on after this flip over but your momentum makes that nearly impossible. Use your hands to grab the outside of the rope and not the rungs, this widens your stance. Proceed up the ladder using opposite limbs, move your right hand and left foot, then your left hand and right foot. This will allow you to keep your balance easier while moving up the ladder. Lean forward, stay flat and keep up the opposite pattern and you will win.
Fair Game 6 – Basketball Toss
Objective of the Game – Shoot a Basketball into a Hoop
Many of us have grown up playing basketball once or twice in our life, but the basketball game at the fair is a little different.
The hoop is a bit smaller, sometimes not quite circular and the balls are made out of rubber and over-inflated, leading too far more bounce. The backboard is also solid which will tend to have the ball bounce off further than normal.
The term “swish” applies here, go for the shot straight into the basket. Use an arc and go for the swish.
Fair Game 7 – Dart Balloons
Objective of the Game – Shoot a Dart and Pop a Balloon
This game seems easy enough, the only issue is that the darts are duller than the…well we all have a different duller than saying and also the balloons are under-inflated.
The key is to shoot down at the balloons rather than straight across letting the weight of the dart do the damage rather than the point. Take the shot with accuracy and velocity, this is your best chance.
Fair Game 8 – Ring Toss
Objective of the Game – Toss a Ring around the top of the Bottle
If this game was so easy, why do they give you 10 rings for $5? It is actually quite difficult.
The key here is to throw the rings similar to a frisbee. Keep your shot relatively straight with a downward trajectory. This game is tough and really the only prizes are the very large stuffed animals, ask yourself if winning that super large stuffed animal is worth the price of the rings and having to carry it around the rest of the day. Sure, you will get some compliments but then you have to bring it home.
Fair Game 9 – Test of Strength
Objective of the Game – Use a Large Hammer to Ring the Bell
Although this game isn’t around as much anymore, when it is the same people will be standing around it.
The muscular people who want to try and show how strong they are. However the key here, is accuracy rather than strength. This is the exact same thing as chopping firewood. When the hammer meets the target it should be flat and hit dead center, precision is key over strength in this case. It’s enjoyable to see the look at the muscular people’s faces when you win and they keep losing.
Fair Game 10 – Coin Toss
Objective of the Game – Land a Coin on a Glass Plate
Seems simple enough, however the plates are usually washed with a slippery detergent. If you can’t find a sticky or dirty quarter then make one instead.
Perhaps your fingers are sticky from your kids cotton candy from a bite that you had earlier, this way your advantages won’t be as obvious. Use an arc on your shot, keep the coin as flat as you can in the air and get it to land directly on the plate. This will decrease any momentum that takes the coin right off the plate.
There you have 10 games that are now winnable at the fair and you can have your child give you a big thank you because you will be the superhero that won them a stuffed animal, that will be placed with all of their stuffed animals and forgotten about the next day. But the moment it happens you will be flying high.
Do you prefer to spend money and not win prizes at the carnival? Let me know about it in the comments below