birthday carnival

My youngest son just turned 5!  After much thinking and going back and forth, he requested a carnival theme for his party!  The ideas immediately started running through my head and I went online to browse the available resources.  Many of the activities were over the top or required a cutting machine for preparation.  We all want to provide entertainment without breaking the bank, so I started to get creative for games and prizes that were within reason.

I knew, for starters, I would serve popcorn at the party.  It’s simple to pop and fill a bunch of popcorn bags, which I found through Oriental Trading.  This made a great salty addition to the fruit and cupcakes!

And, speaking of cupcakes… take a look at the cupcakes I made.  These are beautiful and take a little work, but for about $6, you can make 2 dozen of them (grocery stores are almost $5 for 1 dozen.  If you have time, make them yourself!)  I make my own icing, but you can pick up a variety of icing in tubs of fun colors and flavors at the store now!  Choose up to three colors for your entire party and go with that through all details from food to napkins to decorations!


As each child arrived, I gave them a treat box and a strip of tickets (1 for each booth), then allowed them to have a little fun with games! 

When thinking of games, I thought of things that would be simple – I wanted booths my older children could man while the adults sat down to relax! 

Can Knock Down
I saved 6 cans from vegetables, rinsed them out and stacked them up like a pyramid.  Add a baseball and let children knock them down!  This game cost little to nothing!

Photo Fun
I picked up a photo booth kit for about $5 at Michael’s.  The kit contained cut outs of glittered glasses, shiny bow ties, chalkboard speech bubbles and felt mustaches. It took about 2 minutes to put together, adding the cut outs to a wooden stick with tape!  I casually passed around the container of props and snapped pictures as I walked by!  It was quick added fun and the pictures came out great!

Disk Drop Game
This fantastic Disk Drop Game was ordered through Oriental Trading, too.  Children were able to place a disk flat on the board and let it drop, earning points with every turn!  We had fun prizes to award for scoring, which made everyone happy!

carnival party

Face Painting
My daughter was beyond excited to be in charge of the face painting booth! We used People Paint, which is face paint in a marker.  Because it’s like a marker rather than messy paint, it was easy to draw everyday objects in just a few seconds!  The best part?  People Paint is safe and wipes clean with something as gentle as a baby wipe!

birthday carnival
Fish Bowls
Everyone loves fish, and the challenge of getting a ball in the small opening of a bowl to take home your very own friend is a classic!  I picked up a few fish bowls from the department store, then added a couple goldfish from the pet store.  The bowls were about $2 each and the fish were about $0.25 each.  Combine that with the package of $1 ping pong balls and we had another cheap game!  I chose not to give each child a fish to bring home, but decided on bags of (edible) goldfish instead!

I have to say, this was a fun day!  It was a great outdoor party, perfectly paired with balloons, themed napkins and personalized lollipops!  

I love the fact that Oriental Trading had the prizes, themed party supplies and simple games I was looking for!  Make sure you watch for the free shipping sale, which is when I like to place my online orders!


Disclosure: Some products mentioned in this post were provided by Oriental Trading for the purpose of this post.  All opinions are my own.

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