Monday, June 24, 2013

You're Invited to A Carnival B-Day Bash

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Girls -

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated my boys' May birthdays by packing up and leaving town for a visit to Great Wolf Lodge.  It was awesome...and wet. While there, I couldn't help but remember what I had been doing the year before at that time - preparing for a Birthday Carnival in the backyard for the boys.  Then, I remembered that I hadn't shared the pics and process with you all, so today we're going to get the party started with details about the carnival birthday invitations and the games we made for the big day.


Carnival Invitations were modeled after a ticket (I made them on Word).  Then, I stuck them in a paper popcorn bag I found at Michaels.  The boys and I decorated the envelopes with some carnival scrapbook paper, too.


Next stop...the mailbox.  

Once we heard from friends that they would actually be attending, it was time to start making some carnival games for the party.  I found a lot of great ideas here.  Then I roped the whole family into the game making fun.


Beanbag Bonanza

We started our carnival-game-making with something within our comfort zones: the beanbag toss.  My husband can saw things and I can sew things – perfect.  I followed this tutorial to make the beanbags.  I used scrap fabric and attempted some applique (if only I had sweet skills like you, Mrs. Gosling).  I couldn’t wait to get them stuffed and start tossing them.









The board measures 24 x 48 inches.  There's no exact science to the size of the board.  It was just in the scrap section of Home Depot for less than $1.  We used the tops of paint cans to measure for the holes.


After a bit of paint and some stars and numbers (that we painted), our first game was done!  Including the numbers, paint, wood, beans, fabric and stars, this game probably cost $8.



Ring Toss


Here are the supplies we used to make the ring toss (dowels, paint, rope, and colorful electrical tape).




After a coat of paint (that we picked up as an “Oops” sample at Home Depot for $.50), we had a lot of fun creating different designs with electrical tape.



Making the rings was as simple as cutting some rope and taping the ends together with some electrical tape.





Can Knockdown

We made our games over the course of a few weeks.  I got really into it.  My husband saw right through me when I decided to make soup.
Husband:  You just want a whole bunch of cans so you can make a game, don’t you?
Me:  Noooo, I love making wholesome meals for you darling.




After I cleaned the cans.  I spray painted them on the front lawn, as the bus arrived.  (Real classy.)  Then, using that awesome set of electrical tape again, we got our stripe on.





This game was really inexpensive, too...just the cost of a can of spray paint, the electrical tape, and the soup.

On the day of the carnival, all the kids lined up for a chance to knock down all the cans.





Splish Splash 

This game is our version of the goldfish-toss-thing at most real carnivals.  My husband REALLY wanted to do the real thing and let the kids actually win a goldfish.  I wanted our friends to continue to speak to us after the carnival, so we compromised and surrounded one fishbowl with plastic cups.

First we gathered supplies (a thin board, three sets of different colored plastic cups, a small goldfish bowl, hot glue, paint, ping pong balls) and cut the board 20 x 25 inches.  The cups, bowl, and ping pong balls are all from the dollar store and the wood was some scrap we had around.  This game definitely came in around $5.





Then, we painted it.


Next, we hot glued down all the cups.



My son and I prepared Swedish fish prize bags that the kids could win if they actually got the ping pong ball in the center goldfish bowl.

On the day of the party, my son and husband went to the pet store and picked up this guy.  Game complete.

Basket Bounce

This game cost us a whopping $4 at The Dollar Tree.  We bought three red baskets and the wiffle balls that are tossed inside.  




To make the game we painted a 15 x 48 inch board (from Home Depot scrap for less than $1) and then screwed the baskets down with a bolt, washer, and nut.

I added the red stripe around the board's edges with the colorful electrical tape (love that stuff).  I hot glued it down for good measure.

This game was fun to play because just when you feel like a winner, the ball bounces out.

Can you see the ball in the air?  Action Shot!

Spray Away

Martha Stewart inspired this game (we used her tutorial).

We painted a 20 x 23 inch thin piece of wood.  Can you believe this color was an “Oops?”





Then on a separate 1 x 20 inch board my husband drilled holes for golf tees.  After the tees were in place we lined up the ping pong balls that would eventually be "shot" off with water guns.  This game cost a lot less than $5 since we already had the scrap wood, paint, and golf tees.

We made this game outside on one Saturday.  I’m not sure who was more excited to get those water guns out to try to shoot those ping pong balls (from The Dollar Tree), me or the kids. I guess my aim was off because I kept squirting my husband.

Martha, did we make you proud?
At the carnival we set aside a few water shooters and a big bucket of water for constant refills.


Ring Around the Monkey

As you can tell, I spent a lot of time at The Dollar Tree.  On one of my Carnival Prep shopping trips, I spotted a carnival themed box filled with tubs of cotton candy.  I was looking for a stand for our last game and this box was perfect.  So, determined, I tracked down an employee and asked if I could have the box.  She said, “Sure.”  Sweet!  Free! 

What do you think of my attempt at a cardboard brace?


We found this guy at Goodwill for $3.  I’m pretty sure he’s an authentic carnival monkey.

Then with a little hot glue, this game was done.

Kids had a great time tossing the hoops around the monkey.

Now that you know all about the invites and games at this party, I'll get to work on a note about the party decorations and set up to share with you.

Talk soon,






Note from Mrs. Kelly:   Amazing!  I'm not sure which one is my favorite.  I love those painted-electrical-tape-soup-cans .  I also love the giant monkey ring toss.  There are so many great, affordable ideas.  Everything is so bright and happy.  Can't wait to see the rest!






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