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Try This Game WITHOUT the Fish

Try This Game WITHOUT the Fish

Posted by Juliet Green on Sep 24, 2018

Play the fishbowl carnival game without live fish

Don't Use LIVE FISH At Your Fishbowl Carnival Game: Do This Instead!

The Fish Bowl Carnival Game is one of the most popular traditional carnival games! We love it for many reasons, so read below to see our BETTER alternative (hint: we don't use live fish!) for your next carnival game. 

(Last updated July 27, 2021 by Juliet Green)

checkmark.jpg Why You Should Consider An Alternative:

 Traditional Carnival Games use lightweight plastic balls for carnival players to toss into fishbowls, in hopes of landing them into a bowl with a real fish. If a player succeeds, they win a Top Prize, which is a live fish. This traditional game is a "must have" at your carnival, but we recommend keeping this game fish-friendly! We believe there are much better options for this carnival game than using live, delicate fish in tiny fishbowls. Keep reading to see some reasons to NOT have live fish at your carnival, then two awesome solutions not using live fish that your carnival-going kiddos are sure to adore! 

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Image of traditional fishbowls for the fishbowl carnival game
The above image shows a traditional carnival fish bowl game
Traditional Fishbowl Game Setup - Live Fish NOT Recommended.

nb-one.jpg Fish Are Delicate Creatures 

Our Carnival Savers team loves animals! We're saddened to see little fish get scared from ping-pong balls being tossed into their "home," because these critters don't know the huge splash is from a fun game - not something that will hurt them! We have seen some schools keep the winning fish inside a building and out of the sun - but we have some other suggestions too so keep reading! 

 nb-two.jpgSome Unhappy Parents!  

The parents of kids participating in your carnival may not be overly excited when Little Johnny runs up to show Mom & Dad that he won a pet fish at the Fishbowl Carnival Game!

In addition, if a child "wins" a fish, this puts parents on the spot to to purchase supplies for the new pet including fish food, a larger fish bowl, bowl decor, and tank cleaning supplies. Plus, this new pet comes with responsibility (read: time & money), and although taking care of a small fish is easier than a puppy, this may not be what parents thought would happen when they attended their local fundraising carnival! 

We read a blog a few years ago that talked about Dorothy, the new "free" pet won at a carnival that cost Mom & Dad more than $70 by the time they bought the fish water drops, fish bowl, fish food, aquarium decorations, fish net, and more!

 Live Fish Are An Expensive "Last Minute" Detail

The fact that live fish are expensive (in time and financial costs!) is yet another reason to not consider having them at your fishbowl game. Of course, you cannot purchase fish weeks before your big event, or someone will be "fish-sitting." This includes cleaning out the fishbowls (which is never a fun job!) So, a volunteer must find time to pick up the fish at the last minute - while everything else is exceedingly busy for your big event!

In addition, many school carnivals choose betta fish over goldfish because they seem to be more hardy than goldfish - but at a cost. Betta fish are at least $3 - $5 dollars each, which is an expensive Top Prize for most fundraising carnivals! 

Kids' fish-friendly carnival Fish Bowl Game - original image by Carnival Savers!
The above image shows a "Fish Friendly" Fish bowl Carnival Game idea by Carnival Savers!

checkmark.jpg But... Will Kids Still Enjoy A Fishbowl Game Without Real Fish? 

The short answer is: YES, absolutely! 

The carnival fish bowl game is a classic because kids win the game by tossing a ping-pong into one of the "winning" bowls. What constitutes a "winning bowl"? Well, these winning bowls have awesome colorful squirt fish! (See our image above.)

Kids who toss a ball into a winning bowl receive a fun prize! Kids are super excited when they win one of our plush Clown Fish. We've found that nearly all kids LOVE to win stuffed animals... even if they have a huge collection at home already. Live fish are definitely NOT needed for this cute & classic game!  

checkmark.jpg Our Alternate Fishbowl Carnival Game Is EASY!  

Finally, here's our two secrets! Have you guessed them yet? 

Alternative #1: Use Toy Fish Instead! 

Our fishbowl game idea uses adorable Big Mouth Fish Squirts, instead of live critters! Luckily, plastic squirt fish cost pennies each (instead of $5!), and pair perfectly with our new, plastic 30 ounce fishbowls. And, kids love winning a plush stuffed animal fish like our Mini Clown Fish Stuffed Animals

Our classic fishbowl carnival game is incredibly easy to set up: Simply purchase the colorful plastic squirt fish and plastic fishbowls, and set them up on a table covered with a blue tablecloth. For set-up instructions click HERE

If you need fishbowl supplies now, here are some quick links to help you out! You can get cute Big Mouth Fish Squirts on our website, check our our plastic fishbowls HERE, and ping-pong type balls HEREOf course, there are plenty of other precious Top Prizes you can choose as well! Check out some awesome Under The Sea themed ideas HERE.  

Winners' coupons for fishbowl carnival game being held up by an excited kid!
The above image shows a young boy holding a winning coupon for the fish bowl carnival game.

Alternative #2: Work Out THIS Deal With A Pet Shop! 

Do you still love the idea of giving kids fish so your game is traditional? How about giving winners a coupon for "real" pet store fish!

This solution is "Win Win" for everybody! Why? Many family-owned pet stores will be thrilled to partner with your school or church to give your winning players coupons to redeem free fish! 

The local pet shop wins because they get free advertising and folks walking in the door to pick out a fish - and possibly many other necessary items for caring for their new pet or maybe even a new collar for 

The school or church wins because they did not have to worry about the cost, care, and transportation of dozens of fish and keep them alive and happy for carnival goers.

The parents win because they were not handed a live fish with the responsibility of a new tiny pet at the last minute that needs some basic supplies such as food etc.

The fish win because they are able to stay in a large pet store aquarium until a new pet owner is ready to bring them home!

How to make this happen - talk with a locally or family owned Pet Shop and ask them if they will partner with you. Many times they will offer to give away a set number of fish coupons for free knowing when a child comes in to pick out their fish, they also will need a bowl, net, fish food etc and the "giveaway fish" is a small part of what will be spent for their new little pet! 

Note: We have tried to talk with large pet stores and have had trouble setting this up. Most of their donations seem to be focused towards animals shelters.  

We hope that helps! Wishing you all the best with your fish-friendly Fishbowl Carnival Game.

Thanks for reading our hints & tips carnival blog! Feel free to check out the rest of the blog for more carnival event planning ideas.

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