Birthday Party Ideas for Children – Carnival Fun

It's that time of year again. Your child is counting the days to his or her birthday and that is stressing you out. What can you do this year? Theme parties are popular with all ages. Carnival theme party ideas are numerous. Clowns and balloons on the invitations will set the mood. Carnival food is fun to make and fun to eat. Inexpensive prizes will put a smile on each guest knowing they earned it.

Outdoor parties have an advantage if the weather is nice. You can find many activities to keep them busy outside. You can have the refreshments served outside and have less clean up afterward.


  • Moon walks or inflatable jumpers are always a hit. They can be a bit expensive to rent, but your guests will be entertained for hours. Be sure to have an adult supervising the children. Limit the number of players and evict the ones that don't obey the rules. You don't want anyone getting hurt and ruining the party.
  • Dunk tanks are fun for teens and adults. These are very popular in the warm summer months so be sure to reserve your dunk tank at your local rental store in advance. You will need a hitch on your vehicle to tow the unit, ask about delivery.
  • Frozen drink machines (for kids or adults). Slushy drinks are very refreshing on a hot summer day. If using a commercial frozen drink machine from your neighborhood rental store, be sure to follow all instructions.
  • Party Canopies for shade and rain. Rainy days can put a damper on a party. If you do not have a covered deck or garage, it is a wise idea to rent a party tent. Even if it does not rain, your older guests attending the party will appreciate the shade on a sunny day.
  • Duck pond games will insure even the youngest guest in getting a prize. You can make your own with a small blow up swimming pool and plastic ducks from the dollar store. Put a number or star on the bottom of the ducks before placing them in the water. Some rental stores rent duck ponds like they use at the real carnivals.

Indoor parties will take a bit more planning. Hopefully you have a large room or basement to host the birthday party. You may have to limit the number of guests.

  • Balloons are always a blast. You can purchase helium balloons at a party store. Be sure to get plenty for decorating, games, and for guests to take home.
  • Cotton Candy is the first place the children run to when you go to the carnival. Small units are available to purchase but they are usually small and it will take you a long time to make them while the impatient visitors wait in line. Call your rental store to see if they offer any package deals if you rent more than one machine. They will have the sugars and sticks and show you how to use the machine properly.
  • Hot Dogs are easy, inexpensive and a favorite of most children. Boil them up or cook them on the grill if you are outside. Sno-Kones will cool off the kids after playing the games and jumping in the fun house. Rent a professional machine with original syrup and your guests will think they are at a real carnival.
  • Popcorn is a healthy snack. You can pop a few bags in the microwave and scoop it into individual lunch bag servings. Professional popcorn machines and movie theater popcorn pre-measured packages are available at most rental stores.
  • Ring toss or bean bag games can be constructed from household products. Visit your dollar store for hacky sacs, buckets and balls.
  • Top off the party with a clown or magician depending on your budget.
  • Prizes for the games could be candy or snacks. Check your dollar store for toys like bubbles and balls for prizes.

A birthday party with a carnival theme will be more fun and cost less than a party held at a restaurant. When the party is over and you returned all of the rental equipment, relax, you deserve it. How will you top this next year?

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