My DD1 had this idea of doing a mini fun fair/carnival for her birthday celebration last year but as her birthday fell within the exam period, she had to postpone materialising her idea for a month till the June school holidays when her cousins came over to our house for some play time. I thought I’ll share it with everyone here so instead of spending a bomb on birthday celebrations, we can save money and at the same time, recycle materials and cultivate creativity in our children. Here goes what she did:
She divided an A4 size paper and cut it into eight pieces to make tickets for the mini fun fair/carnival, which looked like this:
Mini Fun Fair
Expiry date: ______________
She had an expiry date because the fun fair was supposed to last for 3 days. Participants had to enter with the ticket. She placed our kiddy table at the “entrance” to collect the tickets, which was essentially the walkway to our living room. I’m thinking now that we can actually utilise the other blank side of the ticket as an invite so it’ll be some kind of an invite cum ticket to invite her friends to the birthday celebration.
She did a simple poster and pasted it on the wall next to the “entrance” dictating the:
Entrance fee (quite funny as it was like 10¢ for children between 2 to 6; 20¢ for children between 7 to 12; 30¢ for those between 13 to 20 and 40¢ for those from 21 to adult). Well, you know, we parents had to participate in the fair too (but on another day as the fair was supposed to stretch for 3 days). She didn’t actually collect real money (just pretended to collect) as indicating entrance fee in the poster made it look more “real”.
The opening and closing hours.
Name for each game (there were altogether eight games).
Slogans to describe how fun the carnival is!
She set up “booths” (the set up were either on tables or on the floor) at different parts of the house (she used only her room and the living room) and prepared gifts for the winner. “Gifts” were recycled from unused stationary/ notebooks/ stickers/ bookmarks/ soft toys (she had lots of them) etc. As she was the “host”, she actually led the group (her cousins) to each “booth” to explain the game and had them take turns to try out. A description of the simple games that she came up with follows:
Hit It – She placed rows of recycled plastic bottles on the floor. Each participant was to throw a small plastic ball at the bottles and the one to hit down the most bottles wins!
Lucky Blue – This was like “sure win” lucky dip and all her cousins loved this as there was an element of suspense and surprise. She had little gifts written on small pieces of paper and put them all in an empty tissue box for them to draw.
Skip Up – The person who skipped the most times with the skipping rope wins!
Build Up – Build the tallest tower with blocks!
Bounce On – Bounce the ball as many times as you can!
Roll Down – A bowling game using either empty paper towel rolls (we used that) or plastic bottles as pins. The bowling ball was a medium sized bouncing ball.
12 o’clock – A simple Cinderella board game to accommodate her much younger cousins as well as to ensure everyone could play at the same time.
Toss It – She stuck a few egg crates and coloured certain slots with paint, where different colours signify different points. Participants tried to throw a ping pong ball into the slots (I think it was 3 chances) and the one with the most points win.
At the end of it, she even had a feedback form for her participants! Her feedback form was half an A4 sized paper and looked like this (actually there were boxes to tick and spacing between each option but I’m unable to type in here):
I must say her cousins enjoyed themselves very much and was looking forward to come again. One of her cousins wrote this comment which I quote:
“The game is well-organised! Well done! The prizes are best! Thanks (DD1’s name) for creating this wonderful fun fair! I hope there would be another fun fair. Me and my sister like all the games the most! Thank you so much for giving me all the presents. You are the best! Thanks! I am looking forward for the next fun fair!” …and she signed at the end of her comments. Don’t think we need feedback form for birthday celebrations. Just documenting what my DD1 did so as to remember her growing up years.
I’m sure there are many more fun and interesting games that your children can come out with. What I can think of now is also to set up a booth/table for making simple crafts such as origami/homemade play doh/colouring and threading macaroni to make ornaments etc where one of the parents or an adult could help out.
I guess it might be difficult to hold the celebration in the house if it’s for a large group of children so might need to shift to another place to hold the event. If not, can modify and make it as a fun time with close relatives and friends, or plan it as a family activity as family bonding time.
Hope the fun fair/carnival idea, which was done in a small house like ours could spark off some more interesting ideas to have a birthday celebration of a different kind, which could entirely be planned and organised by your primary school children, or for preschoolers, with some help from parents. I thought planning and organising a birthday celebration by themselves would make it a more meaningful and memorable experience for your children. My DD1 really enjoyed herself and still harbours sweet reminiscence of it after one whole year! Have fun!