A carnival-themed party provides an opportunity for the birthday girl to share a special day with her friends. Many kids wait eagerly for carnivals to pass through town and associate this time with excitement and fun. Recreating this event for the birthday girl provides an afternoon of entertainment for kids, and gives parents and adult hosts an opportunity to get creative.
Ask that guests dress up according to the carnival theme. Children can dress as animals, acrobats, clowns, tightrope walkers and more. Suggest that clowns wear brightly colored, baggy clothes and that tightrope walkers and acrobats wear tights or leotards. Give out prizes for each costume. For example, you can acknowledge the funniest, most creative and most realistic costumes. Use candy or toys for prizes. Try to give every child a prize, but make sure the best one goes to the birthday girl.
Provide face painting for party guests. Purchase face paint at a party or costume store and decorate the face of each child to match her costume. If the birthday girl has dressed up as a tiger, give her orange stripes and black whiskers. If she has dressed up as a tightrope walker, paint glittery designs on her cheeks. Ask other parents to help you paint the faces of each guest to enhance the carnival theme of the party.
Create booths using large cardboard boxes such as those used to hold refrigerators. Cut squares out of the boxes so that a parent can stand inside and interact with the children. Host games inside the boxes. Draw a target on the wall of the back of one box and allow the children to throw a beanbag at the target. Reward them with candy, party noisemakers or other prizes. Ask the parents of other attendees to help you run the game booths.
Frame a little girl's carnival birthday party as if it were a talent show. Inform guests that they have the option of performing carnival tricks at the party. For example, a guest might dress up as an acrobat and perform tricks for the rest of the attendees. Another might bring stuffed toys and present a skit as an animal trainer. Construct the party venue into an informal stage by setting up chairs in front of an open space where party guests can perform.
Turn your party venue into a carnival tent. Hang streamers from the walls and ceiling to give the room a festive atmosphere. If your party is outdoors, set up a large summer tent used to provide shade during picnics. You can rent this or borrow it from neighbors if you do not own one. Decorate the tent with crepe paper posters that advertise different carnival attractions such as the talent show, costume contest or game booths.
- "Party! Party! For Children's Ministry"; Susan L. Lingo; 1996
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