Parenthood, Party Planning

How to Throw an Awesome Carnival Birthday Party

For my daughters fifth birthday we decided to throw a backyard carnival. It turned out to be a perfect summer birthday party. The food was incredibly easy, and the kids loved all the games. My daughter was super excited about the whole day and I couldn’t stop smiling seeing how happy her party made her. I’m going to break the party into three parts – the games, the food, and the extras! I hope you enjoy, and that you find some great ideas to throw your own backyard carnival party.

The Games:

A great carnival has great games! We came up with four games and set them up in various places around our yard. I displayed a sign by each game and we had where to stand/start at each game marked with a stick on the ground.

Ring Toss

A simple, classic carnival game. I bought some small road side safety cones, and swimming rings to throw around them. It was super easy and worked great!

Ring Toss

Pin the Nose on the Clown

We bought this game on amazon for under five dollars and it was well worth it. The kids and even some adults had fun with it! A simple play on Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Tip a Troll

I saw a photo of this on Pinterest and since I have a huge troll collection it seemed worth a try. This turned out to be everyone’s favorite game. Including my 32-year-old brother. Ha! This game was not only a lot of fun, but I also was able to set it up with all things I already owned. We used trolls, but you could use a lot of different toys. We used old juggling balls as throwing balls, but any soft ball would work. For the stand we used a bed side table, this was the hardest part for me to figure out, but it worked perfectly.

Tip a Troll

Tight Rope

We love the slackline at my house, so this was a must do! We set up the slackline nice and low for the kids and put the top line up for them to hold onto. I also put an old gymnastics mat under the line for safety. It was a lot of fun, especially for the kids who had not tried it before.


The Food:

The food was so easy and stress free! It was great for a summer party where I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen. Almost everything was ready the way I bought it, and only one thing needed to be cooked. I also needed no cutlery, which was awesome!

Corn Dogs

Animal Crackers

Pickle on a Stick


Fruit, Chips, and Cupcakes

Snow Cones


All About the Birthday Kid

I put together a little display for our food table that included my daughters school photo, her tee ball photo and team photo, and a photo collage of fun things we have done this year. I also made a little write up about the highlights of her year to help us all remember this special time! I loved it and our family seemed to love it as well.

Art Project

I love art and I always like to do an art project at birthday parties. This way the kids get to do a fun activity and they have something to take home with them from the party. For this party we choose to do sun catchers. I bought a kit as well as some extra paint and brushes for the project. Shortly before we ate we set up a blanket and the kids enjoyed the project.


Birthday Outfit

We got my daughter a colorful, polka dot dress for the occasion! It seemed to fit the carnival theme and it matched the colorful plates we bought for the food.


My daughter loves balloons so we thought it would be fun to get a little helium kit. We also got a number 5 balloon and it made for great photos!

Shopping List:

Corn Dogs
Large Pickles – Find in Bulk Aisle
Craft Sticks
Animal Crackers
Cake or Cupcakes
Pin The Nose On The Clown
Swimming Rings
Saftey Cones

Snow Cone Maker, Cones, Syrup, Straws
Balloon Kit
Number Balloons
Art Project – Sun Catchers


I hope these tips and the shopping list help you when you go to plan your own backyard carnival birthday party! Have so much fun!


Much Love & Happy Planning,



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