Carnival Party 2yr - Balloon Pop
Brandy in Florence, KY USA
For my daughter's 2nd birthday last weekend, we had a Carnival themed birthday party. We had 30 kids & 54 adults and everyone had a great time! The kids (and adults) played games, bounced in the bounce house we rented for the party, ate carnival food and had a great time! The fun lasted for hours.
INVITATIONS: I printed them myself on white cardstock and stamped a carnival theme on the bottom with rubber stamps. Then I included tickets and confetti in each one! I mailed them about a month before the party to make sure everyone had enough time to plan on being there.
DECORATIONS: We held the party in my mom's backyard, and we made a midway for the games by putting up two long clotheslines facing each other (with plenty of room in between). We hung different colored fabric on the clotheslines to make the backdrops for the booths/games (2 yards of fabric for each booth, I bought many different colors, most solid but a few were striped). We put up a small tent and decorated it with yellow, hot pink, teal, orange, red & lime green streamers. I painted big colorful stripes on two empty refrigerator boxes with those colors as well. We used one box as a ticket booth and the other we used for the Balloon Pop game (we used tacks to hold balloons onto the box, so the kids could throw darts at them). We had over four dozen balloons tied onto the clothesline and a 120ft multicolored pennant flag banner hanging as well. We took two smaller pennant flag banners and hung them from the top of the ticket booth to the ground to make an entrance for the party. It was really colorful & fun. I downloaded calliope music from Itunes & had that playing for the whole party this really helped set the carnival atmosphere. It definitely had a carnival feel!
GAMES:As each child arrived, they were given 20 tickets at the ticket booth to play games. If they won, they were given color coded prize tickets that I made using a ticket shaped scrapbooking punch. We made it to where at every game, each kid won at least a small prize, but we had medium, large, and extra large prizes they could win as well! We had lots of games: Ring Toss (I bought off ebay for $6) Tin Can Alley (we made ourselves using empty, clean tin cans & a baseball) Lucky Lollipop (I painted up a Styrofoam cone and stuck lots of lollipops in it, a few with their ends colored and if they picked one of those, they won a prize!) Duck Pond (I bought the ducks at Oriental Trading really cheap & put them in a large galvanized tub full of water. This was my daughter's favorite game!)
Balloon Pop (we blew up a bunch of balloons and had them stored in garbage bags to make it quick & easy to put up new balloons as they were popped. I bought the darts & balloons from Oriental Trading) Ball Toss Bonanza (we made ourselves, using drinking glasses and ping pong balls) Spray Away (I got this idea off MarthaStewart.com, it was a racing game where you try to spray your ping pong ball off the golf tee first using a water gun) Clothespin Drop (another idea from MarthaStewart.com where you kneel on a chair and try to drop a clothespin into a jar) Gumball Guess (I filled a large jar with multicolored gumballs & the closest guess as to how many were in the jar won the entire jar of gumballs! This game was a HUGE hit with everyone even the adults!) Beanbag Toss (we used a cornhole game) We also had a tattoo booth & rented a bounce-house which they didn't have to use a ticket for. My brother in law made balloon animals for all of the kids while they were getting their tattoos done.
PRIZES: I color coded the prize tickets with colored galvanized tubs I had bought to hold the prizes. We had orange tickets for the extra large prizes (which I picked up at the dollar store ~ hula hoops, clown glasses, clown wigs, hand clappers, kites, and a few carnival type stuffed animals all which were in a big orange tub), red tickets for the large prizes (which I also bought at the dollar store & put in a red tub), hot pink tickets for the medium prizes (stuff from oriental trading & assorted candy leftover from the favors which we put in a pink tub) and teal blue tickets for the smaller prizes (small balls and stickers in a teal blue tub). By color coding the prizes into categories like that, it made it really simple when the kids came up to the prize booth to redeem their prize tickets. I bought a huge assortment of like 300 small & medium various prizes from Oriental Trading. The kids loved the prize booth & had fun picking out their prizes.
FOOD: We rented a cotton candy machine, which was a huge hit. We also had a popcorn machine that we borrowed from the company that my father in law works for. We had nacho's (bought nacho chips, cheese, and nacho trays at Sam's Club), corndogs & hotdogs (which we served in hotdog trays from Sam's Club), snowcones (we used a small ice shaving/snowcone machine which we picked up at a yardsale for $5 and let the kids make their own snowcones by pouring the flavors on themselves). And we had cotton candy icecream to go with the cake! The only thing we needed plates & utensils for was the cake & icecream. We had sweet tea, lemonade in sun-tea jugs and kids juice drinks, bottled water, & soda in large tubs with ice to drink. I decorated a box with striped wrapping paper, stapled a long piece of ribbon onto each side and my father in law carried it around his neck, like a popcorn vendor. That was a lot of fun, he walked around during the party and offered everyone popcorn and cotton candy while they played games.
FAVORS: I bought red & white striped popcorn boxes and filled them with multicolored shredded tissue, candy (pixie sticks, wrapped gumballs, razzles, smarties, etc), a few small toys, crazy straws, and a giant rainbow swirled lollipop (which we got at Walgreens drugstore for $1 each) for all of the kids to take as they left the party. Everyone loved these, as this was in addition to the prizes they won from the games. I also bought a bunch of clown noses from Oriental Trading and we took pictures of everyone wearing them (adults and kids). I think I'm going to print out those pictures and put them inside the thank you cards, because they turned out really cute.
Overall, I think the party was a huge success. It took me awhile to plan it all out, but it was definitely worth it. And since I started planning for the party well in advance, I was able to pick up a lot of the stuff pretty cheap. I recruited a few parents and some of the older teenagers to help run the games/booths, so the kids could all run around from game to game like at a real carnival. It also helped because the kids really didn't have to wait in line, except for at the prize booth & a few times at the bounce house, so overall things were pretty much constantly moving. I was worried near the end that we were going to run out of prizes, but thankfully we didn't.
The best thing I did was asked a few of the other parents to bring their cameras & to take lots of pictures because I knew I was going to be too busy to take pictures myself. This was great because I ended up with tons of great pictures! The party was a huge hit (A few of the kids didn't want to leave because they were having so much fun) & everyone is already asking how we're going to top this next year. I'm thinking we might just have another carnival because it was that much fun!!
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