A simple wooden contraption, with even simpler rules of play, Star Seeker may be the most popular attraction at your carnival. And although it takes a little construction know-how to assemble one, it's a game the kids will want to play with long after the party is over and which you can trot out to any future events. Players place a golf ball on the rotating launch shelf, release the ball, then watch it bounce through the course of screws until it comes to rest in a slot with a star (a winner!) or without (try again?). Here's how we put ours together.
Start with a 3- by 4-foot sheet of I-inch plywood. Screw the 1- by 4-inch boards to the sides and bottom.
On the top, create the launch shelf from another length of 1 by 4 cut to fit loosely within the two side walls. Set the board 1/2 inch or so off the plywood so it can easily rotate in place, and secure with 1 screw on each end.
Paint the plywood (before putting in the screws!) with latex paint.
When dry, set the screws in place by first drawing 10 parallel pencil lines across the plywood, 3 or so inches apart, then driving in the screws along the lines about 3 1/2 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Have each row be staggered so the screws from one row fall in between the screws above.
Along the bottom, create 9 slots with the eight 1 by 4 squares, screwing them in from the bottom and back. Mark every other slot with a paper or sticker star.
Hinge a 4-foot length of 1 by 4 to the top of the unit for a support leg.
Lean the unit back on the leg, place a golf ball on the launching shelf, and shoot for the stars!