Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Carnival

Each year we hold a Spring Fling, a literacy-based party with a different theme each year. Our theme this year was a Spring Carnival. My camera has been out of commission for months, so the photos were generously shared by my favorite library mama, Cecy. They feature her adorable little boys, E and T. 

Temporary Tattoo Booth
Once again, I used the whole meeting room to hold this event. Originally I planned to have the carnival outside, so some of the games didn't fit in the room. I set those up in the children's area by the tree house. When guests arrived, they entered their guesses for the jelly bean and gumball containers. The winner took home all the candy! Then, they stopped by the temporary tattoo booth.

I always set up several crafts at different levels, since the program invites all ages. I used the die-cut to punch out top hats and elephants to decorate for the younger children. The older children made a paper plate toss game. We had popcorn for a snack, but saved the cotton candy for a craft using cotton balls dyed with tempera powder paint and toilet paper rolls.

Ring Toss Craft
After the initial half hour of fun and games, I started the cupcake walks. All the cupcakes were donated by co-workers, Connie, Mattie and Robyn. I used the storytime puzzle mats with numbers taped to them. Every child had the opportunity to win a cupcake, so this activity was easy-going and fun. Bobo helped me by stopping the music.

Cupcake Walk
The children played lots of games to win tickets for prizes. The first game I planned when we chose the theme was the one where you knock down the cans, I still can't find the proper name for it. We make lots of homemade play dough, so I used salt containers to be knocked down. The children also played beach ball bowling and egg-racing with a set bought from Oriental Trading. I set up a couple of accuracy games like tossing bean bags into baskets and shooting ping pong balls with a squirt gun.

Basket Toss
I found most of these ideas on Martha Stewart's site. A carnival would be a great, inexpensive option for a birthday party. You will need good weather. Most of the items used in the games were purchased at the Dollar Tree. I bought the temporary tattoos from Oriental Trading, who also has lots of prizes available. If you'd like to see how I organize my ideas, see my pinterest board.

Beach Ball Bowling
In the past, the attendees for the Fling have been preschoolers. I am happy to say, this year we had a wonderful mix of all ages. The games and crafts were appropriate for varying levels. Bobo's favorite part of the Carnival, as well as most participants, was the Sharp Shooter game.

Sharp Shooter
Some of my favorite carnival books are: Spot and His Grandparents Go to the Carnival by Eric Hill, Paddington Bear and the Busy Bee Carnival by Michael Bond, Karen's Carnival by Ann M. Martin. The Goosebumps series also has some spooky carnival stories which are popular, but those were my favorites when I was in middle school and now I'm terrified of clowns. I'm not saying that is the cause...

Winner for favorite activity
I'd like to thank my two helpers for this program. Miss Angela and Kristi. It wouldn't have been half as fun without you!

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