Carnival Birthday Party

carnival birthday party
A Carnival Birthday Party is another budget birthday party idea from The Budget Diet girl!

A carnival birthday party works for most any age and can be done both indoors & out!

Here are the ingredients for success:

Carnival Ideas – Homemade Carnival Games:

The key to keeping this a budget birthday party is to use things you have. Take a walk around your house, and I’m sure you’ll come up with all sorts of carnival ideas! These are some of the carnival games I used for my son’s 4 year old birthday party & my daughter’s 8 year old birthday party.

Basketball Throw – if you have a basketball goal, use it!

Pie in the Face – pie tins, whipped cream & willing volunteer!

Wet Sponge Toss – just like pie in the face, but it’s a wet sponge!

Golf – if you have a putter & a golf ball…let the children try to putt into a plastic cup! This works best indoors on carpet.

Guess Your Weight – pull out your bathroom scale, the children guess their own weight & then stand on the scale.

Fortune Teller – have a friend or family member dress up like a fortune teller (scarves, lots of jewelry) & tell fortunes.

Fish Pond – keep it simple, use a toy fishing pole & attach the prize with a clothes pin!

Penny Drop – put a shot glass inside of a big glass bowl, fill it with water & the children try to drop a penny into the shot glass!

Hula Hoop

Face Painting

Concession Stand – popcorn & sodas

Carnival Prizes:

If your child is old enough…set a budget & let them choose the prizes!

Everybody’s a winner! If they don’t win the game…give them a piece of candy.

Carnival Tickets & Goody Bags:

Each child gets a bag with their name on it when they arrive. The dollar store & Hobby Lobby both have lots of inexpensive, colorful bags.

Each child will get enough tickets to play each game 1 time.

The bags will be used to collect their prizes, and it becomes their “instant” goody bag!

Carnival Cake:

A cupcake walk is great fun…think mini-cake walk!

Use sidewalk chalk to number the spaces in your driveway or if you’re indoors…set-up chairs.

Start the music, stop the music, choose a number & that person chooses their cupcake! Continue until everyone has a cupcake!

I made all white cupcakes, & I just changed the frosting & decorations!

Carnival Helpers:

This is a great opportunity for family & friends to get involved in the birthday celebration!

Carnival Invitations:

Just a simple piece of clip art mounted on pink & green paper!

carnival birthday party


image courtesy of, Salvatore Vuono


In full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links to help support The Budget Diet girl! Thanks!


  1. The ideas are very creative and simple(:my favourite plan for a party

    • Kristl says:

      Please feel free to add more easy ideas for carnival games!

  2. Megan says:

    I love these ideas. My sons birthday is on October…do you think thats too late in the year to have a carnival themed party outside? Ive also thought about maybe a costume party since it is close to Halloween. Any thoughts or ideas?

    • Kristl says:

      Most parts of the country have beautiful weather in October, so I’m in favor of the carnival. If you leaning toward a Halloween theme…why don’t you do a Halloween type carnival? One booth could be a ring toss on little pumpkins or how about guess how many m&m’s using the fall colored m&m’s.

  3. Reilley says:

    Now im ready for 4th of July

  4. Reilley says:

    Now im ready for 4th of July :)

  5. Destiny says:

    im having a carnival themed party in june and these are great ideas

    • Kristl says:

      I’m thrilled! Please let me know how it goes, and I’d love to know if you come up with any other carnival booth ideas.

  6. Awesome ideas! Love it 😀

  7. Such a fun idea! Stumbled!

  8. Lynn says:

    Great ideas! My daughter’s birthday is in just a few weeks…I will be using some of these!

  9. This is great. We did something like this for my brother when he was little. My two friends and I were crazy clowns painting faces and doing all kinds f fun stuff. As long as there are games, then it’s a party.

    My husband and I ran a great event at our school last year on a School Spirit day – we had a “Minute to Win It” Day. Very cheap, lots of fun and easy to set up. The web site for the game show “Minute to Win It” has the instructions for all of the different games and the supplies you need. We both agreed that would be a very easy, cheap party to throw – we couldn’t get rid of the kids (they were supposed to cycle to different events throughout the day!).

  10. shelley says:

    this is such a flashback! i had a carnival party for my oldest when she was 10, the kids loved it! such a fun party.. thanks for the blast from the past.

  11. Julee says:

    What a great party theme and I love that you didn’t include the big bounce house. The games and ideas are fantastic.

  12. Such great, fun ideas! Who wouldn’t love a pie in the face in honor of a birthday? 😉

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