Cardboard Carnival — Team Building Activity

Cardboard Carnival is inspired by Caine’s Arcade, a touching story about a boy who longs for customers to play the carnival-style games he creates out of cardboard and the flash mob that makes his entrepreneurial dreams come true. Just like Caine, your group is encouraged to use their creativity to think outside the box with the box!

As guests arrive, they receive team identification to help them find their assigned area on “the midway” and their fellow “carnies.” Then the emcee explains the teams’ task - to create a carnival game out of cardboard that can actually be played again and again. Teams are given rules outlining basic requirements, such as each game should be designed so players can play within a one minute or less period.

Other rules outline construction requirements. Each team is given large sheets of cardboard and a certain amount of coins that they can use to “purchase” additional items from the supply depot. The supply depot has items to enhance the décor of the carnival game, such as colorful duct tape, construction paper, foam cutouts, aluminum foil, ribbon, string, paper plates, balloons, etc. Teams can also purchase game enhancements with these coins such as different types of balls, rings, beanbags, cardboard mailing tubes and containers.

Teams must have their game design complete and in working condition by a set time. When time is up, one of two options can take place:

  • Team Building Option: All participants are invited to play the games. But, this is more than play time – it’s time for teams to convince participants to vote for theirs as the best carnival booth! Will the team’s decorations and game be enough to convince people to vote for them? Or, will they also create a carnie pitch to rope people into playing? By a certain time, each participant must cast their vote into one of the boxes found at each carnival booth. The team with the most votes wins.
  • Charitable Option: Attendees are delighted to learn that just like in Caine’s Arcade, people are showing up to play the games. It’s not a flash mob, but children from a local charitable organization! If the children win a team’s game, they receive a raffle ticket and children change these in at the end of the event for toys in the prize booth. The children also get a voting slip to vote for their favorite game and the team getting the most votes wins.

As the carnival draws to a close, the emcee invites the winning team to come forward and claim their prize – not giant teddy bears, but award medals for all of their teammates!

Wild Harry

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