Tag Archives: circus birthday party

Hand Puppets

Paper Hand Puppets

Hand PuppetsFor a party craft or an afternoon ‘at-home’ project solo or with a friend(s), these hand puppets are great fun. The website and instructions may not be in English, but the picture tutorial tells the whole story.

I can’t read it either, but I’m betting brightly colored computer paper will work better for these guys than constructions paper. The computer paper isn’t as thick, folds ‘crisper’ and comes in these really bright colors. In a pinch, construction paper is probably cheaper BUT I’ll wager that your kid(s) will find lots of uses for any leftover neon colored printer paper.

Either show the kids the photos on the website for an afternoon playdate or solo activity or, for a party craft, make one of each of the five shown as models for the kids. Provide the scissors, markers, pop-poms, pencils for rolling the paper to make spirals and such, and perhaps colorful pipe cleaners as raw materials for their creativity. They can copy what they see or make what they come up with- no matter.

You could expand this to match a few different party themes such as animals or aliens. Show them the basics, then challenge them to create birds, jungle animals, scary monsters, space aliens, circus animals. Such a ‘challenge’ sets up a bit of inherent competition that helps keep everybody tuned in to the project.The younger your party kids, the less you can expect them to stray from the models you give them, but that’s OK.

As a party activity, the kids will be proud to take these guys home to show off, so your favor problem is solved too!


Mural Project

DrawingHaving the kids create a mural that syncs with your birthday party theme is a great way to keep everyone occupied as your guests arrive and get themselves organized. Rather than just turning them loose at a table with crayons and paper, it becomes a group activity requiring cooperation and planning and discussion, and actually a bit of a challenge. The group dynamics of the project increase with the age of the kids: preschoolers will just draw individually but will still end up with a project that all have contributed to.

Look for the wide, i.e. 48″, roll paper to tack up on wall or lay on the floor. It’s on Amazon so you’ll be able to find it, but if not, tape 2 or more 12″ wide rolls together to make the wider mural. If putting on your wall, use the paint friendly stickies rather than tape and protect your wall with extra paper top and bottom so anybody that misses the mural paper still hits paper and not your paint. Outline the mural with blue masking tape so it’s really clear where they’re supposed to make their art.

Provide the  markers and crayons– paints are perhaps a bit too messy. Spark their creativity with some print outs from the web of possible themed art they might wish to copy or to work from.

Making a party themed mural can work for so many different birthday party themes– animals, aliens or monsters, princesses or pirates, dinosaur, cowboys, circus, etc. Turn that awkward  ‘arrival time’ into actual party time by incorporating this group art project right into your party.

Themed Cookie Cutters

Pirate Cookie CuttersThink the kids would enjoy a pirate ship shaped PBJ or skull and crossbones jello? This is a simple way to fancy up your birthday food food!

Party themed cookie cutters are available for various party themes– a pirate birthday party, a fairy party, a dinosaur party and with a marine life theme (think Sponge Bob party here), and many other themes as well, and all are reasonable priced. They’re an especially good bargain when you remember that these can be used to make fun shaped cookies anytime, not just use them once for the party and never touch them again.

Each set contains between 4 and 6 cookie cutters.

For the Pirate themed set it’s the skull and crossbones, pirate ship, treasure chest, a medallion and a pirate hat.

The Fairy set (really a princess party set) includes a frog, a frog prince, the castle, a tiara, a wand, a princess cone hat and princess shoe.

Dinos include triceratops, apatosaurus, stegosaurus and, of course, T-Rex.

The farm animals are cat, dog, lamb, cow, pig, duck and chick.

Noah’s Ark animals, perfect for an animal themed party, are horse, elephant, camel, giraffe, kangaroo, and pig.

The zoo animals are monkey, lion, zebra, giraffe and elephant.

The transportation set includes a race car, truck, train, airplane and motorcycle.

The Construction set (think Bob the Builder here) has a hardhat, saw, bulldozer, hammer, wrench and drill shapes.

There’s an insect set with butterfly, caterpillar, ladybug, dragonfly and bee shapes.

There may even be other sets– be sure to scroll through Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section. >[DISCLOSURE: If you make a purchase at Amazon through the link on this page, I make a commission from Amazon. Seems reasonable to me…..]

You can even turn your themed cookies into a party activity and a party favor– make lots of different colors of cookie icing, provide sprinkles etc, and let the kids decorate your themed cookies to eat and to take home. They can put the icing on with plastic knives- it’s pretty hard for them to hurt themselves with those. And if your birthday child is old enough, have some fun making the cookies together before the party.

Bring an extra smile to the kids faces by using these various cookie cutter sets to coordinate your party theme to your party food and snacks.

If you have other ideas for using themed cookie cutters to enhance your birthday party, please post them here for other parents to see. I just thought of one- trace the shapes onto paper for the kids to color and/or decorate as they wait for everyone to arrive at your party.

Animal Post Its

What Animal Am I?

Animal Post Its A take off on the board game “Who Am I?”, play “What Animal Am I?” at your safari , jungle, zoo  or circus birthday party.

Like all kids party games that require some thinking, this game is best for kids age 6 to 8 and in elementary school rather than preschool.

All you need for this game is a pack of post-its. Write a different animal, that coincides with your party theme, on each page, one for each child plus one extra. If you want to get fancy and use graphics as I’ve done in the picture above, you’ll need to make your own post-its: print out your chosen graphics and cut them into squares.

Make sure there are no mirrors or reflective surfaces in the game room. Place a post it on each child’s forehead such that everyone else can see it but the wearer can’t. If using home made post-its, just swipe the top of your squares with a glue stick.

It’s probably best to demonstrate rather than explain how the game is played, so have a post it made for yourself to wear and stick it on. Demo the play as follows: ask the group yes or no questions as you try to narrow down your identity. For example, do I have 2 legs or 4, fur or fins, or feathers, do I eat plants or animals, do I live where it’s hot, where it’s cold, etc.

Once the kids get the game, tell them to move around among all the guests asking their questions of many different kids until they figure out who they are. Have a sheet of paper on a table or taped to the wall with each child’s name on it and when they know their identity tell them to come to you to report in, but then return to the group to answer questions from others.

You can have a small prize for the first to figure out what animal they are- or not.

Simple thinking games like this one can often be used to calm things down and get the kids focused.


How to Juggle Carnival Game Station

Juggler Your circus or carnival birthday party doesn’t have to be limited to pre school age kids- most of the games that fit with this theme are still good fun for older kids. And here’s one they’ll have a great time with. Teach them all how to juggle!!

Not you- but your laptop set up to play  a YouTube  “How To” video for the kids. This one shows how to juggle 3 balls in easily understood terms- of course, understanding and executing are two different things, but that’s where the fun comes in. Got a teenager who can watch the video and learn how to do it? Have him or her run the juggling game table and give the lessons instead.

You’ll need to provide the kids with the proper balls to follow along with the video (or the teenager), in small groups of two kids, no more than three. You can find the sand or bead filled balls recommended for juggling at Amazon. You’ll need one set of balls for each child in the group- so that’s 2 or 3 sets. These are not only the correct weight and size, when dropped- and they WILL be dropped A LOT- they roll away less, so more time can be spent learning to juggle and less time chasing the balls.

I suspect this game station will be a very popular one at your carnival or circus birthday party, so put your kitchen timer out on the table and limit each group to 10 or 12 minutes. That way, everybody will get a chance to try to juggle.

Toward the end of your party, when everyone’s had a chance to practice, have a juggling competition. Have each guest pick a number out of a hat, and have numbers 1, 2, and 3 start off (assuming you’ve got three sets of juggling balls). Whoever drops a ball is out, and #4 takes his place, etc, on through the group. The last one standing is the winner – and gets to take a set of the juggling balls home as his or her prize.

Juggling is NOT something they get to do every day or at every party, and that alone makes it well worth including in your kids party games for your circus or carnival birthday party.

Popcorn Cart

Carnival Popcorn Cart

Popcorn Cart One of the staples of any carnival or circus themed event is the popcorn cart. Colorful, flavorful, and just plain fun. But there’s no need rent one of these babies to get the full effect. With an empty cardboard box, plastic wrap and masking tape, paints,  glue and paper plates, you can create a table top model of the popcorn cart for your at-home carnival or circus themed party. And it won’t take you that long to do it.

Decorate your cart in non-carnival type colors and/or graphics, and you’ve got a great birthday party decoration for almost any birthday party theme you might be using.

Get a good sized box, approx 2′ in length and obviously less wide. Cut ‘windows’ in all 4 sides of the box, leaving a good 2-3″ of cardboard around the edges to give it some strength. With masking tape, stretch the clear plastic wrap as tight as you can and tape it to 3 of the 4 sides, leaving one of the big windows open for serving up the popcorn for your guests.

Before attaching your paper plate wheels to the box, decorate it. Paint on red and yellow stripes with your child’s paint- 2 coats will probably be necessary to cover any graphics or text on the box. On the top margin above the windows, paint on “Popcorn 5 cents” (use the cent sign) in white or black (or whatever strikes your fancy).

Paint 2 large or 4 small paper plates a contrasting color- maybe blue for the red and white striped cart- and glue them onto the box as fake wheels.

Fill the box with the popcorn you’ve made your favorite way in the kitchen or purchased from the grocery. Be sure to print out and make these cute popcorn bags to serve up your popcorn for the kids.