Carnival of Fun

Alternate Names: "child's name"'s Carnival

Invitations:Use your imagination

  • Large Colorful Ticket to the Carnival - *include 1 per child* Entitles bearer to fun, food, and a great time +20 tickets
  • Clown Faces (use Paper Plates to make a mask - all party info on the backside)
  • Popcorn Buckets w/the info on the inside
  • Animal Crackers w/the info printed & glued to one side

Decorations: Think bold

  • use bright colors red/white, blue/yellow, multi-colors
  • Set up multiple game stations with banners "Face Painting HERE!!" "Pop any balloon - win a PRIZE" "Fortunes told Here" - Use card board boxes painted in bright colors
  • Paint a large cut out face for pictures
  • Ticket Booth
  • Balloons & Streamers all over
  • Popcorn Boxes - red/white striped "boxes" w/balloons stapled to the top
  • Attach a helium balloon to each child's chair - write their names on it with permanent marker
  • Hang paper towel holders with string (connected to both ends) as little trapezes and hang stuffed animals on them. Best if you hang these higher than the kids' height so they won't fool with them.
  • Balloon animals - A fun thing to do is blow up lots of long balloons beforehand and put them all in a big empty (and clean) trash can. Place the balloon can in a corner of the party area. This is where the kids can come with their parents to make balloon animals

Treat Bag Items:Instead of just goody bags use a prize redemption center where you trade tickets for prizes to go into the treat bag - use small items 10-15 tickets, medium items 15-30 tickets, large items 30+ tickets - ideas (or adjust to fit your items)

  • whistles
  • kazoos
  • spinning top
  • lollipops
  • hard candy
  • card game
  • silly putty
  • yo yo
  • Bouncy Balls
  • any cheapie bag of toy
  • paddle ball
  • punching balloon
  • Any small item can be used

Food:Serve food like a vendor at a circus. Make a tray by cutting off the bottom of a box and spray painting it. Make holes on the sides and string through rope to use as a shoulder harness

  • Corn Dogs
  • Candy Apples
  • Popcorn
  • Cotton Candy
  • Soft Pretzels
  • Hot Dogs
  • Peanuts (best with the shells)
  • corn on the cob
  • Colorful candies (M&M's, skittles, gumdrops, jelly beans, etc.)
  • string cheese
  • watermelon
  • Animalwiches - use animal cookie cutters to cut out shapes of ham, bread, & cheese
  • Pizza


  • Tea
  • Fruit Punch
  • Lemonade
  • Magic Punch


Games:Use the formula 1 ticket for 1 ball/color, 2 tickets for 2 balls/color, 3 tickets for 3 balls/color

  • Ping Pong Toss - glue 16 or 20 small cups to a piece of wood (cups about 1-2 inches apart) give each child 3 ping pong balls to try
  • Balloon Dart Pop - using small balloons - thumbtack them to a cork or other soft wood surface - 3 darts per try
  • Bean Bag Toss - using 3 bean bags & 3 size coffee cans - paint the insides to reflect different colors - smallest can is worth the most points
  • Ring Toss - place 10-15 small bottles with different colored liquid inside into a small box - each child gets 3-5 rings
  • Pin the Nose on the Clown - like pin the tail on the donkey
  • Penny Toss - toss pennies onto a flat surface with circles painted
  • Mouse Holes - use a cardboard box and three golf balls. Cut 3 "mouse holes" on the box. Use a piece of Tape to mark the starting point. The children roll the balls and attempt to get them into the holes. I cut the holes in various sizes for different skill levels
  • Lollipop Tree - With 3 different colored markers, place a dot on the end of each lollipop stick and insert them into the Styrofoam ball. The players pick one lollipop and collects a prize from the corresponding prize bag.
  • Jelly Bean Guess - who ever guesses a number closest to the actual number takes the jar home.
  • Knockdown - Put empty tin cans on a table in the form of a pyramid and let the kids throw beanbags or balls at them. If they knock down a certain amount, they get a prize. You can also have the kids use water guns to squirt water at the tin cans and knock them down.
  • Feed the Lion - On a big cardboard box paint the face of a lion with a hole for his mouth. Designate a throwing line and let the kids toss beanbags into the lion's mouth.

Carnival Booths:

Active Games:

  • Clown Tag - This game needs lots of room - like a backyard. Split into two groups - each team gets their own Clown Nose and color of crepe paper. Tie the crepe paper around the waists of each player - like a belt. The goal is to rip off the other teams belts before they rip off yours. Once a player gets de-belted, they sit down. The last person left standing with his belt on wins.
  • Circus Acts - Stage your own Lion Tamer Show in the center ring. Get the Lion Tamer Straw Pith Helmet and a Lion Hat. Hear the Roar! This lion hat is a great way to be king of the jungle and entertain your guests. Have guests be performers. Write stunts on paper and let each child pick one. Then they take turns acting out the stunt: walking a straight line for a tight rope; dancing like a trained dog; roaring like a lion; walking and imitating an elephant; stunts like a clown; swinging on a trapeze.
  • Bubble Mania - This is one of those kids birthday party ideas that's always tons of fun. You can designate a section to be the bubble section. On a small table put out bubble liquid and accessories (you can put fly swatters, little bubble wands, take metal hangers and sculpt them into a circle with a handle, etc.) and let everyone make their own huge bubbles
  • Party Hat/Goody Bag Decorating - Set up a table and place precut cone-shaped paper hats (take large square or rectangular shaped patterned papers and roll them into a cone, staple it to hold and trim the edges so that the brim is even). Then you can give the kids all kinds of things to decorate with, such as markers, glitter, pompoms, etc. After the hat has dried from the decorations seal the seam with tape and staple on an elastic cord to put under the chin.
  • Musical Clown Noses - This game has the same concept as musical chairs. Place a pile of red sponge clown noses on a table or on the floor and have the kids walk around them in a fairly large circle while music is playing. Once the music is turned off the kids need to grab a nose and put it on (there needs to be one less clown nose than there are kids). Whoever is left with no clown nose to put on needs to leave the game. The game continues until there is one kid remaining (who is the winner).
  • Mystery Box - Take a large box and cut out one side of it. Then put a little sheet over the cut out side so that you can lift it when you need to and cover it when you need to. On the other side cut two armholes. Then take two sleeves from an old sweatshirt and duct-tape them to the holes so that no one peeks through the holes. Then let the kids stick in their arms and only by touch they need to guess what's in the box. Since the other side is open you can always change the objects. You can put ordinary things like a toothbrush, spatula, light bulb, or even wet and gross things like a squished ripe tomato :-). You can then paint the outside with bright colors and cover it with lots of big question marks.

Characters:other wise know as what friend can you con

  • Clown
  • Magician
  • Ringmaster
  • Strongman
  • Animals
  • Fortune Teller/Gypsy

Rentals: This depends on your budget

  • Pony Rides
  • Petting Zoo
  • Cotton Candy Machine
  • Helium Tanks (for balloons)
  • Slushy/Sno Cone Machine
  • Bouncy Tent
  • Dunking Booth

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