Carnival Party

Backyard Carnival 9yr - Cardboard Box Booth




Joyce in St. Louis, MO  USA


October 2004


Honorable Mention

Carnival for 9 year old  We had a backyard carnival for my son's 9th birthday.  He wanted kids to bring presents to be donated to a local children's hospital instead of himself so we let him invite more kids than we normally have at a party (we had 25 show up) so it took a lot of adult help for this one (I needed at least 10 other adults to help man the games).  

The invitations read: "Milo's party will be lots of fun, but it won't be complete unless you come.  The carnival will run from 2 til 4 and there will be lots of games and treats galore."  (I'm not a poet). 

We made a ticket booth out of a large cardboard box that an outdoor grill came in and painted it.  My 6 year old daughter wanted to hand out the tickets so it was the perfect size for her to sit in.  I bought a bunch of medium size gift bags (Oriental Trading) and had her put a string of 10 yellow tickets (available at most party stores) and 4 orange tickets in each bag. 

As each child entered the back yard they were greeted at the ticket booth and handed their bags.  From there they could fill time waiting for the rest of the kids to show up by getting their face painted and by guessing how many M&M's were in one jar and how many jelly beans were in another.  The winners at the end of the party got to take the jars home. 

I had 10 game 'booths' set up around the yard.  Each game took one yellow ticket.  They could do the games in whatever order they wanted so we never had a long line for any one game.  After everyone had done each game once they could then use their orange tickets and do 4 of the games a second time. 

For the games I had: 1) balloon dart toss.  I used another big cardboard box that we had cut out one side (so it had a back and two side walls and tacked up balloons to the back wall of it.  We used regular darts and let them throw them at the balloons. 

2) milk bottle toss.  I got the milk bottles and balls from Oriental trading. 

3) plinko.  There were instructions on how to make a plinko game in a Family Fun magazine.  The kids loved this game although it was certainly the hardest to make (used a 3 X 4 piece of plywood and lots of screws).  We just painted numbers in each of the slots at the bottom and they guessed which number their ball would fall into.  They each got several tries to get it right. 

4) target shooting.  We used a bow with arrows made out of a dowl rod and a sponge cut into a wedge.  They had to shoot the arrow into one of three hula hoops laying on the ground. 

5) penny toss.  I got a piece of large polka dot material at the store and put that on a larger dark colored tablecloth.  They had to toss pennies onto the polka dots. 

6) washers.  We just used half of our washer game and let them toss washers into it. 

7) bean bag toss.  I got this at Oriental Trading as well. 

8) ring toss.  This was just an old yard game we had. 

9) ping pong toss.  We had this at my in-laws house and they have a pool.  I got the floating bowls and ping-pong balls from Oriental Trading. 

10) ring around the bottles.  They threw smaller rings around those plastic bottles of kool-aid that you can buy. 

For prizes, I shopped a lot at the dollar store and at Oriental Trading and Sam's Club and made sure I had enough for one 'big' prize (decks of cards, little puzzles, flying foam shooters, boxes of Cracker Jacks, the kool-aid bottles, etc.) for each person at each game and then little candies as well for their second time around.   

I also took a cardboard box (paper size), wrapped it in wrapping paper, tied a long ribbon to the two sides to hang around my neck and walked around 'hawking' bags of popcorn and cotton candy.  I got buckets of cotton candy for $1 each at Walmart and just divided them into ziplock baggies.  I also got a couple big bags of 'movie theatre' popcorn from the store and put that in individual popcorn bags ($3.99 for 350 of them - anyone need any- at Sam's Club). 

For treats we also had corn dogs, cupcakes and ice cream.  The kids all seamed to have a great time and kept asking if they had to pay for anything.  They thought it was the best carnival they'd been too when we told them everything was free.  Grin. 

This party was a lot of work but my son said it was his best party yet.

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