Backyard Carnival 1yr - Clown Bean Bag
Amy in Poplar Bluff, MO USA
Backyard Carnival Our fifth child, Scott was turning one! And what an event!! I wanted something very special as he was my first child born in the summer when you can have REALLY cool outdoor parties!! I opted for a backyard carnival. I got many ideas from this very site, and thank the contributors!!
First of all, the planning. We started the planning process in April. The party was this past Saturday, June 8th. We ended up not sending out invitations, but just calling those we invited. The planning is a big part of the fun for me. Writing down every idea and reviewing it is the way to go.
The games we included were: Bowling- empty 2 liter soda bottles with a little water to help them stabilize. We used a basketball to bowl with, and just sat it up on a piece of scrap lumber.
Game 2- Make a shot, win a prize!! The boys already had an adjustable basketball goal so we used that with a small, soft plastic ball.
Game 3- Throw the bean bag through the clown's mouth! I didn't have bean bags so we used a small ball. The clown head I made out of a piece of cardboard, just drew a clown face, decorated it with markers, glued cotton balls on for hair and used a blow pen (borrowed from my daughter) to make color on his "hair." We cut out his mouth for them to aim at. We had a clown Halloween costume that we stuffed with empty plastic bags from the grocery store and then stapled "clowny" to the head. We then propped up two scrap 2x4's and stapled "clowny" to them, one on each side.
We also had a face painting booth that was manned by my eldest daughter, Lydia, who is 12. We got the recipe off of the internet for homemade face paint.(water, cornstarch, food coloring and cold cream-real simple!)
The other booth was operated by daughter number two, Tori, age 9. She had a "hair salon." We bought colored hair spray, found in the toy dept. for $1.50 per can. We used blue, green, and pink.
The "booths" were fun to make. I got empty appliance boxes at a local furniture store(FREE) and painted them white with red stripes. (We already had the white paint, and we found the red on clearance for $4.50!) We then cut out windows and split the box down the back. This way the back was open so there was room to work. We put two chairs and a little table behind the "booth" for her to work from. We stapled other scrap cardboard on the top to create a roof.
One side of our yard is on the street side so to add to the carnival flavor we bought ten yards of white fabric (Wal-Mart has a whole section of dollar a yard fabric!) and one yard of red. The white we put over the fence and used clothes pins to attach it, top to bottom. (clothespins on the outside of fence) the red fabric I cut into strips to use as stripes and then using the same clothespins, added them to the fence! We rented a helium tank ($19.99 for about 120 15inch balloons) so we put bunches of five balloons on each fence post.
For my prize signs, I simply used pieces of cardboard and a box of markers!!! I had one with sunglasses for prizes (pkg. of 10, $1.97) I made my sign and then cut slits for the glasses- looked like a real sunglass display! I also had candy filled watches for another prized display(8 per pkg. for $1.97!) I colored my sign and then taped the watches on. The other prize sign was another cardboard leftover colored with markers. I stuck small nails in it and hung gold medal necklaces from it. (Pkg. of 24 real cute necklaces- red, white, and blue ribbon with plastic gold medal!!! $3.50 for the bag!)
For the kids prize bags to collect all of their goodies in, I took brown lunch sacks that I already had and wrote each child's name at the top. Now for the tricky part- my husband is a graphic designer, so that came in handy here- we scanned in a picture of Scott, and a picture of balloons, and had a poem that read- This bag is for your prizes, I'm sure you'll win a lot. Thanks for coming to my party! With love, Scott! My husband arranged it in an attractive way, printed out enough copies for my bags, and I just used a spray adhesive and attached them! (I think that glue would make the picture gloppy, so that's why we chose the spray.)
Next, lets talk about the food! My husband grilled the hot dogs, we opened big bags of chips and just put them on the food table (buffet style), all the condiments for the hot dogs, we borrowed a popcorn popper from my husbands employer(real carnival style popcorn- smells yummy!) and we purchased bags of cotton candy from our local skating rink. ($1.25 per bag) We made up a lot of lemonade and had a cooler of ice right below it.
For the cake and ice cream- I made cupcakes and bought a big bucket of vanilla ice cream. We bought little plastic cups and scooped the ice cream in those ahead of time so we could just grab it from the freezer, throw it on a plate with a cupcake, and they are good to go! I made the kids each a name place card that I taped to the kid's table (which we borrowed from our church- two tables for the grown ups and little kid size tables for the little ones. Chairs, too. Another FREEBIE- borrow when you can!) I made the name cards out of- get this- the side panel of empty cereal boxes. I used the front and back of the boxes for additional decorative signs. They are great to color on with markers, and look wonderful! Of course we bought red and white streamers to use in different places in the yard.
OH, yeah, we also had "pony rides" on our big bouncy horse! I thought it might be a little hokey, but the kids loved it! We also added a small ziplock baggies of misc. candy to their prize bags. We had an empty peanut butter jar filled with jelly beans for a "Guess how many, and win!" prize. As I am sure you have noticed, I was trying to do this on a very small budget!!! My wonderful older children were fabulous helpers, and my husband was an absolute peach! He hates the heat of summer, but worked like a dog to please his "birthday party crazy" wife! This party didn't cost much as far as money goes. It did take time to put together, but it was so much fun that it can't really count as work!!! ANYBODY could do this and have a blast!
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