Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Winter Carnival Parties

A guide to creating a snowy wonderland for your child's bday. Tips on activities, crafts, food and drinks for the theme.

This party can be held indoors or outdoors. Tell your guests in advance if it will be a back yard winter party to make sure they dress appropriately. If the party will be indoors, it might be a good idea to keep the heat down (or turn up the air conditioning if you live in a warm climate) to add to the atmosphere.

INVITATIONS:

Cut out paper snowflakes. Get some light blue blank greeting cards and glue a snowflake on the outside of the invitation. Inside, write the day, time, place, and note if the party will be outdoors or indoors, and if the guests should dress warm. Add some small snow confetti in the envelope before sealing it.

DECORATIONS:

If you're holding your winter carnival outdoors and it has snowed, nature has done the majority of your decorating for you. If it hasn't snowed, or will be held indoors, get yourself a bolt of white felt, or rolls of sparkly cotton batting used in winter holiday decorations and spread it out over the ground.

Paper snowflakes sprayed with glue and sprinkled with glitter also make a lovely addition, especially if indoors. Hang them from the ceiling with a bit of thread and tape at varying lengths to make the entire room look enchanted. Hang white holiday light strings around the room or yard. Use cans of spray snow to decorate windows, sliding glass doors, or even the side of the house.

What winter celebration is complete without snowmen? Get a white sheet and plenty of fiberfill. Put some fiberfill in the center of the sheet for the head, and then tie it off with string or a rubber band. Add more for a middle section, tie it off, and add more for the bottom. Tie it off. Make sure each section is stuffed rather firmly, each one getting slightly larger as it goes down. Then, decorate the snowmen with buttons, spray glue and glitter, and accessories (hat, scarf).

If you have a fire pit or fireplace, fire it up for a place for your guests to gather and warm up. If your guests are very young, and you feel an open flame may be too much of a hazard, get one of the fake fireplace heaters that resemble glowing logs.



REFRESHMENTS:

Hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, or hot cocoa with marshmallows make great soft drinks to fit the theme. Think carnival food: corn dogs and French fries, kettle corn, cotton candy and ice cream will keep your guests happy.

Make a snowman cake. Get two round cake pans-- one small, one larger. Bake your cake in them, set them on a tray side-by-side, and decorate with white icing. Use gumdrops and licorice to decorate by making eyes, a nose, a mouth, and buttons.

ACTIVITIES:

Make your own carnival-type games for this party; such as a snowball toss game. Get a large piece of heavy cardboard or light plywood and saw round holes in it. Take Styrofoam balls sprayed with glue and sprinkled with glitter to look like snowballs. Let the kids take turns throwing the snowballs through the holes in the wood from a distance, assigning points for each hole (larger holes are fewer points, smaller holes are more points).

Get a piece of corkwood and stand it up against a tree or wall. Take a bag of small candies or trinkets and stuff them into balloons. Blow up the balloons halfway and tie them off. Staple them by the tied end to the board, being careful not to pop them. Give the kids darts to throw at the balloons-- they get to keep the prizes that fall out of the balloons they pop.

Ring toss is another carnival favorite easy to replicate at home. All you need to find are a few rings, which can be any round item, from craft store vine wreaths to Hula hoops, and something to toss it over, such as wooden stakes or small boxes and toys. If you are outdoors and in real snow, take advantage and have sled rides and snow sculpting contests. Build a snow fort and let the kids sit inside and have some refreshments.

Let your guests make snow globes. Find someone you know who has a baby and ask them to save some baby food jars for you. They can probably offer you dozens within a couple of weeks. Each guests gets his/her own jar. Get some Spanish moss, and some bags of small plastic animals and flowers. Let your guests use glue to affix some moss and little trinkets on the inside of the cap. Fill the jars 2/3s of the way with water; add a dash of glycerin (available at drug stores), and some glitter. Carefully put the decorated cap back on and glue around the edges. Turn it upside down and your guests will have their own little snow globe to take home with them.

GOODY BAGS:

Stuff a pair of mittens (go to dollar stores or second-hand shops for them) with candy and treats, then tie each at the top with a ribbon. If they aren't already connected, connect them by threading a piece of yarn with a large craft needle and tie them together.

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