What it is: Basically a skill-less game used to randomly select one player to win a prize. Often played at school carnivals or holiday parties.

Best for: About 10 players.

What you need: You’ll need some prizes for your winners. Traditionally, the prize is a cake for each winner (hence the name “cake walk”). You would need a cake for every round you want to play. Other prize ideas could be cupcakes (smaller than cakes, but the same idea), toys, or candy.

You’ll also need some laminated papers with numbers on them and slips of paper with corresponding numbers in a jar or bowl (and I’ve made a free version you can download if you want). Finally, you’ll need some way to play music, like an iPod with speakers.

How to play: First, there’s the game setup. Decide how many players you want to include in each round: that will be the number of laminated paper numbers you tape on the floor. (The printable I’ve made goes up to 20). Tape your numbers in a big circle on the floor. (Tip: If you don’t have laminated numbers, use packing tape to completely cover them so they don’t peel up when kids step on them.)

Once you have your numbers down, your cakes ready for your winners, and your music ready to play, invite your players! When I’ve played at carnivals or school fairs, the cake walk booth stays open until enough players come to join, then the person running the booth starts the game. Also, you don’t need a player on each number to start the game. You can do a round with as little as three or four players.

To start, have each player select a number to start on. Play the music. As the music plays, everyone walks around the circle, stepping from one numbered circle to another (or walking in between them). As soon as the music stops, everyone stands on the number he or she is closest to. Then draw a number, read it out, and the person standing on that number gets a cake! Hooray! If no one is standing on the number, draw another until you find a winner. Then you can start a new round (after the winner leaves the game; it’d be a little excessive for someone to win two cakes.)

Pretty simple, right? Am I forgetting anything? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! And here’s the free cake walk numbers printable:

Printable-markerCake walk printable


  1. How many minutes does average cake walk game last? How many games in a 5 hour carnival would we do? I’m trying to figure out how many cakes would we need?

    1. It would all depend on how long you let the music play before stopping it and letting someone win a cake. You could play the music for 10 seconds, for example, or a minute, or more. The longer you play the music, the longer the game takes and the fewer winners you’ll have. You could always adjust as needed – if you’re running out of cakes, make the games last longer, but if you’re at the end of the carnival and you have extras, have shorter rounds. I guess it would also depend on the amount of children who will be at the carnival. Will you have a steady stream of traffic, or are there maybe going to be times when no one visits the cake walk? Another thing you can do to make the activity take longer is to not start a cake walk until all of the spots are filled – so don’t start the music, for example, when only 5 kids are there. I hope this helps! Good luck!

  2. I played this at the Halloween Carnival when I was little back in the 60’s. I loved this game. It doesn’t have to be just cakes, it can be pies, gift cert for ice cream. Anything that kids love so they want to play. Post a list of which game will have whatever for the prize so the kids don’t have to wait all day to do the cake walk for the cake/prize they want. Put up a time list so they known when to be back.
    I.e. 1 Chocolate cake ..Noon
    2 Vanilla Cake… 12:30
    3 Banana Cream Pie…1:00
    This way the kids or whomever wants to participate doesn’t miss the other festivities.

    This brought back a flood of memories of my childhood and my momma who was very active in the PTA at my school.

  3. My elementary school also did a Halloween fundraiser/carnival in which the cake walk was always a popular feature! Parents donated some really beautiful cakes for it, and the tickets to play were not cheap. The fun part was watching the parents juggling cakes and baggies of live goldfish (the next most popular prize) when it was time to leave.

    1. we will be doing this for a fundraiser for an artists group
      curious to know how much the tickets ran (per round) as we have 7 different ideas from 7 different board members

        1. It really depends on how fancy the donated cakes will be and what economic class of people you are inviting to the event. The cake walks at my grade school I think were $5 a ticket for a chance to win very prettily decorated home-made cakes (mothers had time on their hands back then). Middle-class school in a middle class neighborhood, 40 years ago. Then again I recently attended a bake-sale (auction) fundraiser for the robotics program at a private high school in Seattle. Boeing and Microsoft employees paying upwards of $150 for a plate of cookies. Rich parents expected to shell out for the benefit of the school, the cookies being quite incidental.

  4. We are having a large class cakewalk on a grassy field. Can you recommend materials to use to make the squares which will be used by 80 6th graders?

    1. I’ve seen spray painting the actual grass before. Maybe you could also find something like those rubber baseball bases? Or maybe you could do fabric or laminated papers staked into the ground at the corners with tent stakes? I’m not sure if any of these would work, just ideas!

  5. Hi! Where can I get printable numbers like the ones I found on here? I need 21-60 but I cant seem to figure out how I can do that. If I can get an answer right now that would be super great! thanks!

    1. Hi Clara, I’m so sorry I couldn’t do anything sooner, but I was traveling. Unfortunately I haven’t made printouts for numbers 21 to 60. You could always just write a number on a colored piece of paper. Sorry about that!

  6. We do a cake walk every year as a fundraiser. We almost always have a problem where no one moves. They just stand on the number which means the person behind them can’t move. How do we handle that? Lots of times we do t know who isn’t moving because the numbers aren’t full.

    1. I guess just some more education/instruction for your players? Make sure you teach them at the beginning of the game how it works, perhaps model it for them, or have people moving the circle along.

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