Art Activities on the Topic of Fairs & Carnivals to Do With Preschoolers

Preschoolers practice fine motor skills while cutting, coloring and decorating horses for a carousel art project.

Between the ages of 3 and 4, preschoolers are just being introduced to the world, meaning that many may not have attended or have any memory of visiting a fair or carnival. At this age, art activities should focus on introducing and exploring concepts while practicing fine motor skills. Incorporate the fun and excitement carnivals and fairs inspire with art projects that teach and practice valuable concepts.

1 State Fair Sweet Treats

Turn carnival food into a textural art project that looks good enough to eat. Draw the outline of a striped box filled with popcorn and the shape of fluffy cotton candy on a stick onto thick, supportive card stock. Assist the preschoolers in cutting out the shapes with their safety scissors. If the card stock is too thick to be cut easily with safety scissors, pre-cut the shapes prior to beginning the activity. Provide washable markers or crayons for the children to color the popcorn box and the cotton candy stick. Once they've finished coloring, provide pink and blue cotton balls for the children to glue onto the shape of the cotton candy and real popcorn to glue above the popcorn box. During the project, explain concepts such as the difference between sweet and salty, or soft and crunchy.

2 Find My Way – Midway Map

Explore concepts of direction, location and distance with an art project centered on the layout of the fairgrounds. Create a map base worksheet that has distinctive markers, such as a tree, a pond, a paddock and the fairground entrance. On a separate worksheet, compile several clip art outlines of typical items you would find at a fair or carnival, such as a roller coaster, farm animals, a ticket booth and a concession stand. Assist the students in cutting out the clip art then direct the preschoolers to glue each item onto their map in the appropriate location. For example, instruct the children to glue the farm animal clip art inside the paddock and the ticket booth next to the entrance. Once they've glued all the objects to the map, allow the students to color their maps with crayons or markers. As the children decorate their maps, ask them direction and distance questions that require them to plan out their day at the fair using their maps as a guide.

3 Make, Grow, Raise

State fairs began as a result of the booming agricultural system in the U.S. and acted as a gathering place for farmers and ranchers to show off and sell their crops and livestock. Baked goods, sewing projects and other crafts are also displayed at many county carnivals and fairs. Explore the concept of growing crops, raising animals and making goods with a painting project. Teach preschoolers the basics of painting with simple worksheets depicting various farm animals, crops like corn and wheat, and projects you might enter into a county fair, such as a quilt or an apple pie. Allow the children to paint their pictures any color as they practice fine motor skills. Once dry, show off the artwork of each preschooler as you hold up each painting in front of the class and ask them if the object in the picture is something that is made, grown or raised.

4 Pick a Pony - Carnival Carousel

Give kids free reign with the art supplies and their creativity with an individual art project to be displayed on a bulletin board as a group art project. Print off coloring book worksheets or clip art outlines of a variety of different carousel horses. Let each preschooler pick their favorite to decorate in anyway they choose. Write the name of the student prominently on the saddle of their carousel horse with a permanent marker before they begin decorating their project. Provide construction paper, feathers, glitter, ribbons, sequins and beads for students to cut and glue onto their carousel horse. Once the horses are completed and dried, display them on a bulletin board that has been decorated to resemble an old-fashioned carnival carousel.

A former art instructor, high school counselor and party planner, Christine Bartsch writes fashion, travel, interior design, education and entertainment content. Bartsch earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications/psychology/fine arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a creative writing Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University. She's written scripts for film/television productions and worked as the senior writer at a video game company.