Pick A Duck

Step right up and pick your lucky duck!

The duck pond is a classic carnival game that can be fun for the whole family. Easy enough for babies, and a bit of mystery for adults to wonder if they will be fortunate enough to pick a lucky duck!

The rules are simple. Several cute rubber duckies floating in a “pond”. Each has a number written on the bottom. The player picks his or her duck and checks the number to see what they won!

DIY Duck Pond

The duck pond is one of the easiest games to recreate at home. All you need is a large bin of water, some rubber ducks, a permanent marker, and a poster. Oh yeah – and prizes! Of course, you can add any colorful decorations you want on top of that to keep things festive and fit in with your event’s theme!

The standard setup would be to:

  • Write a number on the bottom of each duck. (1-3)
  • Write or print the rules on your poster
    • Step right up and pick your duck!
    • Pick 1 duck and look at the number on bottom to reveal your prize.
    • 1 = small prize
    • 2 = medium prize
    • 3 = big prize
  • One kid plays at a time and claims their prize.

Shaking Things Up

Does your event have a theme? Consider dressing the ducks up for the occasion. Necklaces, bow ties, sticker “tattoos”. Just make sure to only have 2 or 3 different looks so that the kids can’t memorize which prize goes with each duck. And make sure the decorations are waterproof!

Is your game targetted at a certain age group? You can make it more challenging for older kids by either writing math problems on the bottoms of the ducks or by having the kids pick multiple ducks to do math on. Example: Write “4×3” on the bottom of a duck to signify that it is worth 12 points. Or, number your ducks 0-10 and have the kids pick 2 ducks to add or multiply together.

Nobody said that your pond has to be of “ducks”. Consider picking different sizes or different animals. Just make sure everybody floats upright. Keep in mind that the more variety your pond has, the easier it will be for the older kids (and adults) to remember which “duck” was worth the most points.

Don’t want to give everybody a ton of prizes? Consider letting the kids play for points. They can turn in their points at the end of the event in exchange for a prize. This system is excellent for daycares. All the kids have to keep up with is the necklace, crown, or card that you mark their points on. At the end, they can take one age-appropriate prize home.

Special Recognition

Shout out to Queen “B” of the Crabtree Amusements Lucky Ducky. She helps keep the carnival wonderful. I met her in person several years ago and received emails from other carnival-goers talking about how wonderful she was with the kids.


Michelle is a web designer who enjoys focussing on the topics she loves: Family, Health, and Carnivals!

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