June 11, 2009

Carnival Birthday

For my kid's parties I usually look to their interests for the theme. Evan's personality definitely fit the carnival theme. He's our little funny man, the family jester, the clown. If you ask him where he came from, he'll tell you, "The Funny Farm!" So with inspiration from my favorite party websites, and fun carnival themed treats at Dollar Tree, and one of our Wii games Carnival Games, I started planning. I knew I had to keep it pretty simple for 5 year-olds.

I can't take credit for this because I found inspiration from a Google search, but sorry, I don't remember where. I did the whole thing in Microsoft Publisher, so it was pretty simple. I printed them on parchment paper and scallop-cut the ends so it looked like they had been torn apart.This was a card that my daughter made Evan for his birthday and I thought it would make a really cute invitation also. She made it so the popcorn part lifted out with more on it. A friend did a similar invitation a few years ago to her daughter's movie party. Come to think of it, I did too! I'll have to find those photos for another post.

Not too many. We set up the picnic table on the back lawn with a big colorful patio umbrella over it. My husband pounded in some fence posts and we divided them with string. I tried to hang paper off the edges off the string, but the wind was shredding it as fast as I could hang it, so I tore it all off. The games themselves ended up being the decor.

My daughter and two of her friends that came to help made a ticket both under the swing set. They handed out the tickets that were on a necklace for each guest. That way we could tear off the ticket after they completed the activity to keep track of what the kids had done and if they had gotten the prize for it. They could do the activities more than once, but only got one prize for it.

My two older sons also got to invite a friend over to help. They worked as my 'Carnies' to run the games. My Mom was up also to help out. I couldn't have done this without all their help. While they ran everything, I had time to wander around and take photos. You really need to have someone running each activity.

After each guest got their tickets, my helpers took them to a table where they each decorated a handled bag to put all of their prizes in. We had markers, die-cuts, stickers and foam letters and shapes to decorate with. As soon as they had a bag made they could wander to whatever game they wanted to.

I had a sign at each game station with a picture that said "1 Ticket". The signs corresponded with the pictures on the ticket necklaces for each game. They also got a ticket for a balloon, cotton candy, popcorn, and a drink. This was really fun for the little kids because they felt like they were buying them. I made the tickets in Microsoft Publisher also with each of the guests names on them.

Beanbag Toss. Made from a cardboard box and cute wrapping paper for the hat.

Ball Toss. Had to try and get the whiffle balls to land in the plastic cups.

Tin Can Alley. Had to knock tin cans over with foam balls.

Penny Toss. Had to stand behind a line and toss pennies onto a Twister mat trying to get them to land on the colored circles.

Fish Pond. Under our hay barn. My daughter made the cute fish.

Frog Toss. This one was a favorite. They had to stand on the base and toss plastic frogs to try and get them to land on the 'lily pads'.

Football Toss. Not pictured, but next to this we had a hula hoop hanging from the swingset that they had to throw a football through.

Ring toss. I couldn't figure out what to use for the rings, but then I found an inexpensive pack of bracelets at Michael's that worked great. I was going to give the Crush out as drinks, but since they were glass I changed my mind and did screw-top Sprite bottles instead.
My Carnies got the Crush after the party.

Double Shot. Logan's friend had fun playing against the kids on our little basketball game that we hauled into the back yard.

My friend's sister loaned us her awesome cotton candy machine and this really made the party. My husband David ran it for us and made enough to nearly make us all sick! What fun! All the neighbors commented on how they could smell it, and our dog Chloe went wild after the party licking up all the loose candy that had floated all over the patio. Definitely an outdoor thing.

Can you say "sugar rush"!

The birthday boy with his cupcakes. My daughter and her friends decorated the Funfetti cupcakes with sprinkles and candies we found at the dollar store. The thought was to make them look like a carousel. After they opened the candy sticks and gummy animals we discovered the animals weren't attached to the sticks in various heights like we thought they were. Without time to find a way to attach them, this is what we got, and the kids didn't care.

As mentioned above, they decorated their bags to take with them to fill with prizes. By the time they left they were filled with animal crackers, gummy carnival food, marshmallow circus animals, bubbles that look little plastic pop bottles, play dough, spinning tops, mazes, mini whiffle balls, bags of popped popcorn, soda, and extraa baggies full of more cotton candy to take home!

A very fun party. It could work for any age if you change the games a little too. It took a lot of helpers, but my Carnies also had a ball and one friend said it was the funnest party she had ever been to (even though she was working!) I bought them pizza afterward so they wouldn't be running on pure sugar the rest of the day.

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