Carnival Party

Carnival Party 5yr - Stick Horse Race




Jodi in Lebanon PA USA


July 2003



Carnival Party - 5 yr. - This is a really fun party idea that we are using for our neighbor girl who is turning five.  A lot of the ideas we got from different magazines and we just mixed them in with our own inventions and changed a few things around.  We're planning this for an outside party, so we are hanging bunches of balloons all around the fence.  Since there will be game areas all over, we really didn't have to worry about decorations but the games did take some work. Also, every party I have, it is a MUST that I dress up as something so I'm dragging out the clown outfit for this one. 

INVITATIONS:  Make balloons out of colored construction paper, and attach some curling ribbon to the bottom of it, run scissors down it a little bit to make it slightly curl.  Write on the front "Please Come to Kailey's Birthday Carnival" on the front and all the details on the back.  We will hand-deliver these but you can also mail them in big mailing envelopes. 

When the kids arrive, they will head straight to the ticket booth, made from a refrigerator box.  Cut a large window in the front and a door in the back of the box.  Take a long wooden dowel and set it into holes in the boxes sides, to hold rolls of tickets (bought at a craft store.  We painted the box in bright colors with the word "Tickets" across the top.  All the kids will get a set amount of tickets and they can also hand in the birthday present that they brought along.  They also receive a bag to hold all their prizes they will win at the games, - let the kids color their own loot bag - we will have a table set up for this with markers and stickers.  Also make sure the bags have handles on them so they're easy to carry around. 

Figure out beforehand what each game will be called and make a sign with that name on it and also how many tickets you will be "charging" to play that game.  They can always go back to the ticket booth for more tickets.  The prizes should be given out at each game, those can be really anything from a craft store or from Oriental Trading, something small at each game. 

Horse Race:  I found this idea in a magazine and used it for a previous party, making stick horses out of cereal boxes.  I believe the instructions might be on the Family Fun website.  You basically cut a cereal box in the shape of the head, attach ears with hot glue with the leftover cardboard, paint with tempra paint.  Hole-punch down the flap where you close the box and tie yarn through all the holes for the mane.  Also then cut a circle out of the other end to stick a wooden dowel through (we used PVC pipe, it was a lot cheaper than the wooden dowels) and add big googly eyes and glue on a ribbon bridle.  I've also seen people use paper grocery bags, stuffed and stapled shut with the horse face drawn on them if you can't find the cereal box instructions.  Give each child a cowboy hat (oriental trading - or walmart) and let them race their horses. 

Basketball shooting:  This was easy, we used our basketball net from the driveway and had our Little Tykes one out as well for the smaller children.  Give them 3 shots with the basketball to try to make a goal. 

Jelly Bean Guess - fill up a jar with jelly beans (or whatever you want, really) and let the kids write down their guess.  At the end of the party, announce the winner and let them take home the jar. 

Mystery Box - large box with one side cut out, Cut two armholes in the opposite sides.  To make sure there's no peeking, duct-tape sleeves from an old sweatshirt to the holes inside edges.  Then when the child sticks their arms through the hole, they will put their arms through the sweatshirt sleeves and then they will stick their hands into a bowl and try to guess what is inside of it (cereal, comb, pennies, soap, etc - nothing too messy).  We painted the outside of our box with large question marks all over in bright colors. 

Penny Pitch - I have a roll of paper from the local newspaper company (called an end roll - they will give it to you for free) we rolled it out over a piece of plywood, taped down all the edges and colored circles all over it in different colors, about 2" in diameter.  Let the kids stand at one end and throw pennies and they have to try to land their pennies onto a colored circle to win. 

Face Painting - This is always a big hit - you might want to get 2 adults to work this one.  Take a piece of posterboard and have samples of what you will paint for them so they can pick out what they want and you will also have a reference while you're painting.   

Photo Board - This was a hit as well, we took a huge piece of plywood and my friend's husband drew a Barbie on it (there were all girls here so if you have boys you can change it to something more neutral).  Barbie was there but was missing her face, so the child could stick their face through the hole that was cut out where her face should be and have their picture taken.  We used a polaroid so the kids could stick it right into their loot bag.  Shaving Cream Balloons - Spread shaving cream over balloons and have the kids try to "shave" them with a plastic knife without letting the balloon pop.   

Goldfish - fill up some bowls or jars with water (bowls make it easier for smaller kids) and let the kids throw ping pong balls at them.  Instead of them taking home a goldfish like at a real carnival, give them a bag of gummy fish to put in their loot bag.  Football toss - hang a hula hoop on a tree and let them try to throw a football through the hoop. 

FOOD - Hot Dog Vendor - We took a white filing box from an office store, turned the lid upside down and stuck it snugly inside of it to act as a shelf.  Then you paint it up with some bright colors and designs, use a long piece of wide ribbon and string it through each handle and sew the ends together to serve as a strap and have someone walk around holding the box with the strap around their neck, and fill the box up with hotdogs pre-bagged in those white bags you would get them in at a carnival (paper supply store) or small bags of popcorn, or whatever you want.  Have them roam throughout the carnival with the food. 

CAKE - I hate to spend money at the store for a pre-made cake when I can make it myself for so much cheaper.  We saw a great picture of a ferris wheel cake, use 2 round cake pans, leave one in a circle, cut a triangle shape out of the other and cut the top of the triangle off so that the circle (wheel) will have a "base" to sit on. Ice it, and use licorice to make a star shape on the wheel of the cake, where the baskets will sit on the point of each star. 

For baskets, cut the tops off ice cream cones then cut in half length-wise and press on the cake, using some extra icing to help "glue" them in place.  Stick some gumdrops in each basket to look like the peoples heads.  Big gum drop in the center of the wheel and 2 peppermint sticks to run down from the center of the wheel to the bottom of the base to look like the legs.  There are alot of little extra games you can do without much trouble and just a little thought - such as throwing baseballs into buckets, or putting a golf ball into a cup.  We have a party store here that will let you rent games, such as a dunking tank or the big giraffe where you hit the hammer and try to ring the bell.  It all depends on the number and age of the kids and how much room you have to set up everything.  The kids will have a blast!

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