Brainstorm for Fun Fair


My kid’s elementary school is hosting a fun fair in May. This is an event where the school opens to the whole community, and there are activites and games throughout the gym and classrooms. Students usually will pay a $1 or $2 to do an activity.

The school has done these before but I was thinking of some possible new activities.Kids move quick and they expect about 500 people through, so something fun and quick and cheap are the constraints.

I was thinking of having a “make a doodlebot” so eventually I would have a roomful of cups and recycling vibrating away, but at $5 a pop for a servo & batteries, even if I just did 200 that would be a grand.

I was curious to simple interactive experience I could setup that would be a step up from “pond fish” or “bag toss”, thoughts and ideas are welcome!


What if the expendable was just the output of something?

Could you make some sort of plotter that is ‘programmed’ by pins or blocks or something? Think physical turtle graphics and the output is a drawing.


@chadleaman I have a makey makey I could loan you (built at VHS!) If you set it up with play-doh controllers (one arrow for left and one for right) and run this physics game on Scratch with it - it’s pretty fun. We used to use it at MakerFaire. Kid’s focus on the game but it’s a good entry point to programming as you can easily look at the code underneath.

We used to have it a maker faire. you’d need a laptop or something with a speaker to run it off.

Or bristlebots?

ooo or paper circuits with copper tape?


I was thinking bristlebots, too. With a thirty cent vibration motor and a coincell, you could aaaalmost sneak in under a dollar per kit.


I recently saw super-cheap coin cells at Miniso if that helps. You’d still need to heat-shrink them tho.


I do have a fee makey makeys… controller, perhaps large keyboard, other ideas?

Bristlebots sounds like a cheaper version of the doodlebots, nice one!


Are they allowed to take their shoes off? You could do a giant makey makey piano although the noise might drive you over the edge.


$1-$2 is a decent sized chunk of 3 mm birch, or a lot of cardboard.

You could laser cut some gears for a DIY spirograph:

A little laser cut catapult or puzzle:

~1.5 min laser cut time, $0.25 chunk of plywood.


Had the meeting tonight. They are skimpy on budget. Going to run a room, with the following stations.

  1. Going to have 4 or so video games stations with ridiculous controller - I am thinking to do retro games via makey makey, but that is mainly because I’m old. I have access to a couple XBOX adaptive controllers which could allow a variety of switch options instead of any regular controllers. But I am told to expect about 300+ kids in 3 hours, so I want quick games that perhaps multiple are playing at once.

  2. Let a robot draw you a picture. Basically, make a doodle bot / bristle bot, and let it draw / paint you a picture.

  3. Think I could take the button maker on a field trip for a night?


My Station 1 game idea / controller pairings. Goal is short games, simple games, and the stranger / more over exaggerated the controller the better.

  1. Arkinoid / giant lever
  2. Street Fighters / Playdo controller
  3. Tetris or Pacman / Dance dance revolution (foot hop) controller
  4. Asteroid. 3 player. one turns. one is gas. one is shoot. Perhaps make each control a tag tam (hold / clap hands to actuate)