Needle in a Haystack Game for Kids

by Kimberly Dyke
Play the needle in a haystack game at your next event.

Play the needle in a haystack game at your next event.

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whether you are planning your child's birthday party, a school or community carnival or simply need to find an activity to pass the time, different versions of the "finding a needle in a haystack" game are exciting for kids to play. Children can compete for the most coveted prizes, or everyone can win by hunting through the haystack and discovering a special toy -- though sometimes the "hay" is not always as it seems.

The Hay

Outdoor versions of the needle in a haystack game feature a large playing area. Organizers spread out three or more bales of hay across a sectioned-off area, making sure to pile the hay approximately 12 inches deep around the perimeter of the area and 2 to 3 feet deep in the center. This allows younger children to access prizes without getting lost in a mountain of hay.

The Prizes

Game organizers then hide several unbreakable prizes throughout the hay, such as bouncy balls, rubber bracelets and rings or packaged candy. The best prize choices for this outdoor activity are plastic or rubber items that will not break if a child steps on them, and things that will not melt in the sun. A large number and a variety of prizes make the game more enjoyable for the kids.

Playing the Game

Children enter the playing area a few at a time to play the game. Each child searches through the hay to select one to three prizes of his choice. For a large number of children, a timer is helpful to keep the groups moving.

Playing Indoors

An indoor version of the needle in a haystack game features uncooked rice poured into large bowls. The game organizer mixes up to 60 small, age-appropriate toys into the bowls of rice and places a bowl in front of each child. With blindfolds covering their eyes, the kids then try to find as many items as they can in 60 seconds. The child who retrieves the most items wins a prize.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images