Carnival Party 4yr - At the Races
Lisa in Middletown, New York, USA
For My daughters 4th birthday party we built the whole theme on a popcorn machine I won during my jobs Christmas party. We decided on a "Carnivale" theme.
I found invitations that were shaped like tickets, and said "Admit One", and inside we pasted printed messages that said: The Carnivale is in town! Please bring this ticket for admission to Kerrigans birthday carnivale!". My daughters birthday is in May so we rented a local park with a large pavillion, and a smaller pavillion for food. When the children arrived we gave them colored craft bags I found at a local craft shop (13 for $3.99) and I ad tubs of foam stickers and crayons which they used to decorated their goody bags and also hold the tickets they won palying the carnival games.
As for the games a friend give me some leftover plywood she had and I made some of the games from this. Most of the games were rectangle shaped boards that we painted with colorful paints, and decorated with stickers.
The first was "At the races", which I made by using colored electrical tape to make long vertical lines going up the board which were the tracks the racers lined up in. Then I made 12 horizontal tracks going up the board. The racers rolled oversized dice I found at the dollar store and moved up the track the amount of numbers that they rolled. I used figures from my daughters games & playsets as the races, and the kids got tickets for winning. Everybody won at least 2 tickets, but the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places got 5, 4,and 3 tickets fo winning.
The next game I modeled after shuffleboard. I again used the colored electricl tape to mark off squares on the board then I marked them 0,+1,+2,+3 &-1,-2,-3. I then used these plastic rings I found at a recycling place near me ( but you could used old hockey pucks or any type of disc that sldes & spray paint them if needed),then children got 3 rings to slide and then we tallyed up their total and they won that amount of tickets.
I used some old stuffed bears and some hinges I bought and attached them to a 2x4 mounted to a plywood rectangle to make a knock 'em down game which we used homemade beanbags to hit them with. I decorated old soup cans with foam sheets and stickers, then filled them half way with rice and sealed them, and again used beanbags to knock them down.
Plastic squeaky fish with a magnet glued to them & weighed down with rice, in a Plastic blow-up pool from the dollar store was the fishing game. I just made a fishing pole form a dowel,string, and magnet. We had a homemade hoop game with small baksetballs the little ones could hold in one hand.
I also made a "Lollipp tree" by gluing dry floral foam cut in the shape of a tree to a large board then making blue, red, and black marks on the sticks of the pops and inserting them in the foam. When the kids pulled a pop the got 2,3, or 4 tickets depending on the color they pull.
I made a frog pond board with lilypads and crocodiles and used those plastic frogs that jump when you push on them and the kids got three frog they had to get home to the mommy frog.
Plastic shot glasses glued to a board with different colored foam dots in the were the penny pitch (different colors were worth different points).
Golf tees mounted on a 2x4 topped wth golf balls and attachted by dental floss were the shoot out game. We used water guns to knock the ping pong balls off the tees.
And finally, we used a small piece of outdoor green "grass" carpet and a dollar store putt putt set to make a small mini golf game.
All of the games were lined up and the kids moved to which ever ones they wanted to play next. I had lots of friends to help run the games and give out tickets, and it was geared to giving lots of tickets away.
The tickets were then redeemed at the gift table which was a bunch of plastic shoe boxes filled with little prizes like plastic rings, bubbles, stickers, pencils, beads, tattoos, finger puppets, hair ties, etc. Then I also had a treasure box of dollar store toys which they got to pick one from.We had a clown come and put on a show while the kids ate.
Food was all carnival food-hamburgers, hot dogs, soft pretzels, nachos and cheese, and of course popcorn! We set up a "concession" stand and the kids went and ordered what they wanted. I also own a blow-up bouncer whch we set up for 1 ticket per ride.
This party was great because it was very free flowing, the kids moved around at their own pace and everybody got lots of tickets whether they won or not. They had a great time taking their tickets to the prize table and turning them in to be "counted" then picking their prizes which they took home in their goody bags. The clown show gave them time to sit down and eat. Overall it was very easy to do and went extremely well, and if you are not handy with a saw and hammer, all of these games can be purchsed on sites like Oriental Trading and Shindigz. Also most of these games can be played indoors in a hall or playroom.
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