I have a love/hate relationship with carnivals. The rides make me nauseous but having kids made me reconsider how I feel about going. They love winning prizes, experiencing or watching rides, listening to music, and carnival food. Carnivals are affordable so they tend to be a great option if you are looking for a family friendly event. I like to go to church or school carnivals because I know my money is supporting a good cause. The summer months have a ton of carnivals  regardless of where you live. One suggestion I have is to let your little one play the games. I know it was so tempting for my husband and I to want to hog the balls or rings so we can win a prize, but my kids were so excited to throw a ball/ring/coin! We also enjoyed eating while listening to the band!

Quick reference: 

  1. Bring cash! My kids got on two rides and that cost $15 plus all the booths and food tents that only take cash
  2. Parking varies by carnival but I have never had an issue with parking, and I even attended the biggest carnival ever – The Big E in Massachusetts
  3. Bring a grocery reusable bag to store all your prizes! Luckily, I had one in my diaper bag!
  4. Restrooms: Unfortunately most carnivals I have been to have Porta Potties. So not so potty training friendly. But I carry a traveling potty wherever we go! It fits perfectly in my diaper bag.
  5. Most food tents will accommodate any requests. For example, they were selling corn in a cup. So I asked if I can get it split for my two toddlers and they did!

Beyond the tents and the spinning rides: 

I didn’t realize how much movement is involved when you go to a carnival. If you have fidgety kids this is a great place to let them run around and get involved in carnival games. But be careful with too much spinning since carnival rides are mostly about spinning! You know your kid best if spinning will cause a negative or positive effect on them. Spinning is a form of sensory input that can create chaos within your child’s brain or something they crave. I am just careful about kids who don’t do so well overly stimulated.


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