This year we had to cancel our Fall Retreat due to low sign-up (story of student ministry post-COVID, amirite?). In ten days, we created THIS event, and boy — am I proud of it. We went with the Medieval theme because that was the theme of our fall retreat and we wanted to keep momentum so that students didn’t feel like something was “cancelled;” rather this was the new option.
We typically do stations at our events, so Carnival Games fit right into that theme!
We always start with some up-front games to get students warmed up. This month we played:
- War: We divided students into two groups, and placed a deck of cards on a table in the front. Each player would turn over a card, and the top card (Ace) wins! The winner goes to the back of the line, the loser drops out
- “How Long Would you Survive the Midieval Times?” I took a Buzzfeed Quiz and made it into a game. We played this “Four Corners” style, meaning students would go to one of 4 corners. If they chose the right corner they moved on. If they did not, they “died.” CANVA LINK
- “Fact or Cap – Mideval Edition” – We called 10 people up on stage. If they got it correct, they got a small prize. If not, they lost. CANVA LINK
|STATION||LOCATION||SET UP INSTRUCTIONS||GAME INSTRUCTIONS|
|Jousting Game||Outside (inflatable)||We rented a jousting inflatable. You could also do this with pool noodles and small platforms.||1 ticket if you play 3 tickets if you win!|
|Axe Throwing||Outside (inflatable)||We rented an axe throwing inflatable. You can also purchase a kit on Amazon.||Hit the target – 1 ticket Inside middle black ring – 3 tickets Inside inner black ring – 5 tickets Fully-covered Bullseye – 10 tickets|
|Skee ball||Outside||We rented this game from our Inflatables guy, but you can make one or purchase one from Amazon.||1 ticket for bottom hole, 3 tickets for middle hole, 5 tickets for top hole|
|Fishbowl Pong “Fishbowl Feud”||Outside||We rented this game from our Inflatables guy, but you can make one or purchase one from Amazon. Scatter assorted amounts of tickets (1-5) in the fish bowls||Toss a ping pong ball into the fish bowl & earn the tickets in that bowl!|
|Fish Pool “Go Fish”||Outside||Set up kiddie pool, magnetic fish, and fishing poles (purchased from Amazon, we already had this on hand).||Place one minute on the clock. Get tickets based on: 1 ticket – 1-3 fish 3 tickets – 4-7 fish 5 tickets – 8-10 fish 10 tickets – 11+ fish|
|Ring Toss (with traffic cones) “Lord of the Rings”||Outside||Set up 10 traffic cones and 3 hula hoops||Given 3 rings. Get 1 ring = 1 ticket. 2 rings = 3 tickets. All 3 rings = 5 tickets|
|Duck Shooting Game “Duck Hunt”||We purchased this from Amazon. Place ducks on the ledge, and fill up water blasters with water. We had a cooler of water for fill-ups.||1 minute on the clock! Shoot the ducks until they flip over. 1 ticket – 1-3 ducks 3 tickets – 4-7 ducks 5 tickets – 8-10 ducks 10 tickets – 11+ ducks|
|Mini-Golf “squire’s golf”||Cut a few holes in a box like this but with 1, 3, & 5 increments. Use a golf putter and golf balls (I borrowed from my husband!)||Putt the ball into the holes, and get tickets for each hole you get!|
|Memory Game “medieval memories”||Use a deck of cards – lay face down on the table.||Get 1 ticket for each match you can make! You have three strikes before you’re done.|
|Corn Hole “bean bag baron”||Use a corn hole set||3 chances to get a bean bag in the hole!|
Prize Redemption Station
Games were played for tickets, which meant we had a prize redemption station. Here were the prizes we did:
- 1 Ticket: stickers, pins
- 3 Tickets: jolky rancher, laffy taffy, sour punch twists
- 5 Tickets: slap bracelets, squishies, fidgets, slime
- 10 tickets: nerds ropes, ring pops, blow pops
- 30 tickets: full-sized candy (from dollar tree), caffeine-free pop
Here are some ideas for potential medieval carnival foods!
- Cotton Candy
- Street Corn Bar
- Turkey Legs
For this event, we have an outreach-focused message, meaning something that a visitor who has never been to church might be able to listen to without feeling uncomfortable. For this event, I talked about God’s “kin-dom” — that Jesus is a king unlike any other. Leaning on mujerista theology, I talked about how Jesus as a king teaches us that our faith is more about the community, not the king. This message was for middles, and they loved it!