Clown Face: Write birthday party details on the back of a white paper plate. Photocopy a circus clown face and glue it to the other side of the plate, or draw one using a picture of a clown as a model. Use a felt-tip pen to add a funny mouth, wide-open eyes and other facial details, like freckles or rosy cheeks. Glue yarn hair at the top and a bow tie at the bottom. Then glue a red pompon in the middle of the face to make a nose. Mail the party invitation in a padded envelope.
Set up a circus tent: Swag colorful crepe-paper streamers from the center of the ceiling to the corners and sides of the room, and let them dangle down the walls to look like a circus' big top.
Place animal posters on the walls at child's eye level.
Place three Hula Hoops on the floor to make a three-ring performance area.
Cut two large appliance boxes into cages and paint them with bright colors, or cover them with animal-print paper or cloth. Set your circus cages in the party room with stuffed animals inside.
Decorate the table with toy clowns, stuffed animals and other circus accessories.
Play marching music in the background.
Make, rent or buy circus clown accessories, such as big feet, red noses, bow ties, orange or yellow wigs and white gloves. Offer them to the birthday child, and to party guests as they arrive. (Party stores and costume shops are good sources for such items.)
Toss the Clown Nose: Paint a large cardboard box to look like a clown face. Cut out the eyes, nose and mouth making wide holes; set the box in the middle of the party room. Give the party guests beanbags or balls to try to throw through the holes on the clown face.
Copy the Clown: Have an adult dress up like a clown. Then have the clown lead the party guests in a game of Simon Says or Copy Cat.
Clown Face: Ask a friend or parent come to the party and help paint clown faces on the children.
Animal Masks: Buy sheets of felt in animal colors (black, tan, brown, gray and so on). Cut the felt into circles the size of a child's face, and cut out eye and mouth holes. Staple or Super Glue a ribbon at each side, for tying the mask in the back. Search for large animal faces on posters and calendars, or in books and magazines. Copy, if necessary, and cut out the animal eyes, noses, mouths and ears. Let the kids glue the cutouts near the openings on the felt circles to make animal faces. Have your guests wear their masks and play at being animals-and don't forget to take pictures.
If you know anyone who juggles, invite him or her to the birthday party for a fun demonstration of amazing circus feats!
Circus Stunts: Have the kids perform simple stunts, such as a somersault, a tightrope walk on a piece of tape, a headstand against the wall (if they're old enough), an animal walk or a step through a Hula Hoop. Videotape the stunts and play back the video for the party guests.
Make Elephant and Monkey Sandwiches (peanut butter and banana) for your hungry clowns. Serve with a side of Chocolate Tiger's Milk.
Serve Monkey's Favorite Treat: Stick bananas on Popsicle sticks, freeze and serve. If you like, roll the frozen bananas in peanut butter and sprinkle with crisped rice cereal.
Make or buy giant pretzels, a favorite circus treat, and serve with melted cheese or mild mustard.
- Bake cupcakes and allow to cool.
- Remove paper baking cups from the cupcakes.
- Take clean paper baking cups, flatten them, and set cupcakes in the middle.
- Frost cupcakes with white icing; the frosted cakes will be the clown face, and the flattened cups are clown collars.
- Use tubes of colored icing to decorate the clown heads and faces.
- Fill sugar cones with balls of ice cream and place upside down on flattened paper baking cups. The cones are the hats and the balls of ice cream are the faces.
- Add face details with icing.
- Serve with Clown Cupcakes.
To complete the circus them, give your party guests clown accessories, such as clown noses, bow ties, hats, feet and gloves.
Fill birthday goody bags with age-appropriate toys, candies and books about the circus. Tie the bags with ribbons and attach big red clown noses labeled with the party guests' names.
Take the kids to a local circus, carnival, or fair. At these kinds of parties, be sure to have lots of adult supervision.
Crepe paper goes a long way in creating a circus atmosphere.
Some children are afraid of clowns, so if you invite one to your child's birthday party, introduce him or her to the clown slowly. If necessary, ask the clown to remove the wig, nose and other accessories to show your party guests that this strange creature is actually a person.
Before preparing your circus-themed menu, make sure none of your guests is allergic to peanuts.