Tabletop Carnival - Digital Promise Global

Tabletop Carnival

Objective: Apply skills of design and fabrication to create a carnival game for peers.

Tools/Materials Required: HP Sprout, Makey Makey, cardboard, scissors, classroom supplies

Depth of Knowledge: Strategic Thinking

Teacher’s notes are in purple. For the student’s version, see Tabletop Carnival Student Guide.


Prepare: Learn about the key ideas in this project

Carnivals are fun events that bring communities of people together. In this project, you will create a carnival game — one that has been reimagined and miniaturized so that it can be played on a desk or table in your classroom!

To get inspired for this project, watch the 11-minute video about Caine’s arcade and discuss:

  • What materials did Caine use to create his arcade games? Do you have access to some of those same materials too?
  • How were Caine’s games realistic? How did they require imagination?
  • How did Caine make sure that his games were fun and rewarding for players?

Talk with a friend about carnivals, festivals, and other celebrations in your community. What are your favorite parts of those events? What games and activities are a part of them?

Teachers may be interested in reading the project guide for Inventing a Tabletop Game and How to Cheat at (Miniature) Skee Ball in Digital Promise’s filmMAKER Challenge™ for additional insights and tips.


Practice: Try as many activities to as you would like to build your skills

Play with simple objects around you! Reflect on what elements of play you would like to incorporate in your game.

Create a game by following the Treasure Grab tutorial, made by the PBS Design Squad. This one guide can help you create a number of different games. Make as many as you want, and invite friends to play!

Invent a Sound Machine! This project guide will help you get comfortable using the Makey Makey, which could be a great addition to your Tabletop Carnival!


Produce: Dig into the project and make it your own!

Make a tabletop carnival game! It’s your time to design and create a new carnival game — and then to invite others to come play!

Think about your favorite arcade, carnival, and festival games. What games can you use as inspiration to create your own game?

Think about your favorite digital games, stories, and movies. Could you create a new carnival game based on one of these sources?

Some carnival games involve lights and sounds. Can you integrate a MaKey MaKey to add special effects to your game?

If your classmates are making other tabletop carnival games, consider hosting a large-scale carnival, with lots of games on tables around the room!


Produced by Digital Promise Global, with thanks to the Open Educational Resources listed throughout this guide. Distributed to Learning Studios schools as part of HP, Inc. and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You may share this project or modified versions of it under this same license.

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