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A Carnival for A Birthday!

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
    • Name: ______________
    • Date: _______________
    • Expiry date: ______________
    • Signature: _______________
    • 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 Razz (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):
    • Feedback
    • Name: _________________
    • Date: ____________
    • Please put a tick:
    • Games
      Fun ___ Not Fun___ OK___
    • Prizes
      Fun ___ Not Fun___ OK___
    • Counter
      Friendly ___ Not Friendly___ OK___
    • Comments:

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. Very Happy

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! Laughing




how much do you spend?

although everything about parties i learn from here is very useful I am wondering how much the average parent spends on parties. 


thanks on the info

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Wow that was a very

Wow that was a very interesting program for the kids! How I wish my daughter was invited to the mini fun fair too. 

Hi Sunflower, I know this

Hi Sunflower,

I know this is quite an old thread already. Well, I’m a TV researcher looking for families celebrating children’s birthdays in a special way, to be featured in a MediaCorp Channel 8 programme. I like these creative DIY parties a lot. Just wonder if you guys are still doing this year?  (for children age 12 and below only)

Please contact me OK? Thank you!

Thanks buds_hubs! : )

Thanks buds_hubs! : ) Showed your comments to my DD1 and she’s very happy. Hope you’ll have a fantastic and wonderful birthday celebration for your DD2. I think with buds creative juices, it shouldn’t be a problem. : )


Great Idea!!

Sunflower, You have just given me some inspiration on how to plan for DD2 B’day party.

Will discuss with buds whether the idea of having an Art Theme party is possible.

Thanks for sharing and kudos to your DD for coming up with such a great idea!!


Thanks buds. : )

Thanks buds. : ) Yes…my girls do have their daily dose of creative play with whatever recycling stuff/barang barang they can find, and end up messing up the house. They do try to clean up but always not as complete as I would like to be. So, talk abt the cleaning there after…gives me the headache now…

Kudos, sunflower!

Kudos, sunflower! I like what was shared on this carnival thingy.

I have had personal experiences with such similar doings from

both my girls. Like your children, they too have access to lotsa

craft stuff and "junk" that are fantastic for recycling into games.

They wrap up presents with their self-designed wrapping papers

and give to family members (which we usuali put back aniwaes),

to frenz and kiddie neighbours in the name of play.

The ONLY difference here is….

My 2 busy elves do this EVERYDAY!

Not just the occasional birthday…


PS. So…. sometimes they face difficulties in clearing up after their

carnival. Then, gotta engage extra manpower lor… me…

We actually did the similar

We actually did the similar thing for our dd’s last birthday. Children all had a great fun. Very well summarized and good tips for the game.

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