Are you hosting a family reunion this summer? Or are you in charge of an event where you need to entertain a bunch of silly kids? Is a backyard party in your future? Today I am sharing a “Cousin Carnival” my sister-in-law and I put on for all of our neices and nephews that only required some time and some creativity with things we would find around the house! It was hours of entertainment and the kids loved it! If you’re looking for summer activity ideas I’ve got you covered! Decorations were party bunting (found at local party store) and balloons! Shelly also made signs labeling all the booths by applying vinyl to poster board. Prizes were inexpensive things from the dollar store/party store and candy.
Every kid got a bag to hold their various carnival goodies. Attached were their tickets (it “cost” two tickets per booth) and inside was a water bottle with their name on it (vinyl) and their reunion t-shirt (made by printing on iron-on paper and ironing it on–easy!).
Here are the kids running up the hill to where we had set up the carnival booths. They had their bags in hand and were rearing to go, lemme tell you.
Here’s a quick run-down of the booths we did.
Made by putting the tied end of an inflated balloon through peg board and taping it on the back to keep it in place. The kids then threw darts in an attempt to pop two balloons to get their prize.
The kids needed to ring a wide-mouth mason jar lid ring over a bottle of soda to claim the prize here. They then got to drink their soda they won later with dinner.
Bean Bag Ladder Toss
Label each rung of a step ladder with points and let the kids try to get as many points as possible by throwing bean bags between the rungs. Easiest set up ever and the kids loved it!
Water Balloon Bobbing
Fill up a kiddie pool or plastic bin and some water balloons and let the kids go for it. This is not as easy as it looks but lots of fun! It was nice to have a water event for the kids to cool down in too.
We gathered up some props and let the kids put on whatever they wanted and took their pictures. It was hilarious to see what they came up with and each kid was totally different!
By taping a floatie to a garbage can we instantly created a carnival booth (it’s amazing what you can come up with by raiding the garage)! Stand back and see how many balls you can get through that little hole.
We also had a “Carnival Walk” (not pictured) which ran like a cake walk only you won a prize if you landed on the right spot rather than a cake. Other ideas we have done in the past are a small craft area (foam visors, popsicle stick picture frames, etc) and a cupcake decorating table. We also had a slip-n-slide going for an added activity and a way for the kids to cool down.
The final event was our Carnival Dinner. We put out some carnival-y food (corn dogs, french fries, watermelon, chips, etc) and sat down and ate together out on the back porch.
It was such a great day and the kids absolutely loved it! This is now something they look forward to every summer. Memories were made, relationships grew stronger and fun was had by all (even the adults!).
The best part is that this backyard party can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make it! If you have a group of bored kids hanging around your house this summer, throw together a little carnival! We are thinking that next year we may even put some of the older cousins in charge of a booth or two. They were really wanting to help this year, so why not, right?
Have a wonderful, memory-making summer!