Decorate your living room or yard with colorful streamers and brightly colored tablecloths. You can make the big top by putting up a tall pole in the center and streaming colorful paper streamers from the pole out to the walls or trees.
If your circus day is to be held outside, have the kids tape off three large circles for a three-ring circus. If inside, use string or yarn to mark it off. Cut out cardboard boxes to look like animal cages and place them in a wagon so they can be pulled around. Get out the kid's stuffed animals and place them in the cages. Using tape, make a long, straight line down your hallway or in your yard as a tightrope on which kids can balance. Think of other creative ways to turn your home or yard into a circus.
Dress up as your favorite circus performer. Your son might be a clown, and your daughter might dress up in a tutu as a tightrope walker, horse rider or elephant rider. Other ideas are Arabian-style costumes, animal costumes and of course, a ringmaster's getup. For example, make a ringmaster's whip from a stick and string.
If you don't have old Halloween costumes to transform, make do with regular clothes around the house and decorate old hats. Help the kids make up their faces to go along with their costumes. Of course, Mom and Dad should dress up and join in on the fun, too.
Set out some chairs and fill them with dolls and stuffed animals as an audience. Let the kids each put on a show in one of the rings. One can tame a wild lion – maybe your cat or a stuffed animal. Another can do tricks with the family dog. Pretending to walk a tightrope or do a tumbling routine can be another part of the show.
Let the kids come up with fun and creative ways to show off their talents while putting on a circus act. If you are short on people, have Dad be the ringmaster to introduce each act.
Set up a few games that the children can play; award small prizes. For example, cut circles out of a piece of cardboard and decorate for a beanbag toss.
Hang a sheet high across a string, and use a stick and piece of string with a clip on the end to make a fishing game. When the child puts her fishing string over the sheet, someone places a small prize on the end.
Use small hoops and set up cans of soda or juice boxes and have the children try to circle the drink they want to win. For prizes, use inexpensive items from the dollar store.
Make up bags of popcorn or peanuts and serve soda in colorful, plastic cups. Make homemade snow cones by chopping ice in the blender; flavor them with juice, soda or your child's favorite drink mix. Make caramel apples ahead of time, and have hot dogs or corn dogs on hand so you can serve the kids lunch -- because your circus fun is sure to last all day.
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