Birthday parties at home are memorable ways to celebrate your child's birthday. With a little creativity and good planning, they can be lots of fun. The key is to be flexible and make sure you have more than enough party activities organized and ready to go in case one or two don't appeal to the kids. This way, you won’t be left wondering what to do with the children.
Invitations set the theme of the party. Be creative and include the birthday child in the process. For example, for our carnival party, design the invitation to look like a giant admission ticket or like a balloon (cut out rounds of colorful stock paper and attach string to each one)
Don't forget thank you cards. In today's digital world, it’s easy to personalize the thank you notes with a picture taken at the party.
For the carnival, hang a big banner over the entrance to your house or apartment, similar to the banner over a carnival midway. Create the banner with craft or butcher paper and paints or markers to welcome partygoers. Lots of colorful streamers and balloons help set the festive mood.
Decorate and label the prize table and the different stations (booths) for the various activities you have planned. The booths can be as simple as card tables or you could decorate large boxes from a local appliance store.
The activities can be simple or elaborate, depending on the size and length of the party. Ask a few friends to help man the booths and dole out tickets. Every child should win a ticket at each booth and you can decide if you want "winners" to get additional tickets. Some ideas for booths and their activities are:
- Face painting
- Temporary tattoos
- Penny or bean bag toss
- Pin the tail on the donkey
- Guess how many candies in the jar (and win the jar)
- Basketball shooting (draw a line on the driveway)
- Ball toss (toss 3 soft balls into a basket)
- Putting challenge (use a putter and putt returner)
- Quarterback test (throw a football through a hanging hula hoop)
- Can knock down (wrap soup cans with bright construction paper, stack in a pyramid and have the kids throw soft balls at them).
- Water gun shoot (the kids try to knock over empty juice cans with water guns)
If your budget allows, hire a clown or magician or rent a bounce gym for the day.
Depending on the time of day you hold the party, you can serve simple snacks and forget about a full meal.
- Fried Dough
- Corn on the cob
- Soft pretzels
- String cheese
If you decide to serve a meal, keep it casual, as you would find at an actual carnival.
Set up a lemonade stand and serve Berry Refreshing Lemonade alongside bins of juice boxes and waters.
Think about splurging on one of the following from a local rental center or party supply store.
- Popcorn machine
- Cotton candy machine
- Snow cone or slush machine
Don’t forget the cake!
An assortment of inexpensive goodies, purchased from bulk mail Internet companies or at party supply stores, make great party favors. Sort the prizes into bins and label with "price tags" to indicate how many tickets each is worth. Kids love to purchase their own prizes with the tickets they collect throughout the party.
Empty popcorn boxes make great “party bags” for a carnival party. Write each child’s name on the box and let the party guests decorate them with stickers and markers and suggest they keep their tickets in their boxes during the party.
If you can't find popcorn boxes standard brown or colored paper bags also work well. Draw bright red and blue lines on each bag to make them festive, or let the kids decorate them with markers, glitter, and stickers.
Welcome to the carnival!