Camping Themed Birthday Party
‘Tis the season for birthdays at our house. Three of our four birthdays are in a span of 33 days in the Scott household. So needless to say we do a lot of celebrating during that time period…and I do a lot of party planning!
At the moment I’m in full force birthday-party-planning-mode for the Littlest One’s party. As I was planning, I was reminded of her parties from years gone by. Because her birthday is in March, we’ve tried to have many of her parties in our backyard…after all it is the beginning of spring…right?! Unfortunately the weather hasn’t ever seemed to cooperate with our outdoor plans.
Last year we had big ideas for a Camping themed party until we were greeted with wet and very cold weather…and even snow flurries! We had a “make it work” moment and moved the Camping party inside!
Here’s a little taste of what we planned for the party and how we altered it when we moved it inside. I hope these ideas inspire you to have your own Camping birthday party…indoors or out. And just so you know…I love a cute party and all, but I’m also all about keeping it real, keeping it reasonable, and keeping it economical. No need to go overboard and no need for perfection. This is a kid’s birthday party – they’d be happy with just friends and a cake…oh, and some presents of course. So, I do hope you find this a “doable” and achievable party and that you find ideas that will work for you!
I ordered my invitations off of Etsy from 505 Design Inc. This is the first time I’ve done it this way. I ordered them, the artist customized them to my instructions/liking and then she sent me the pdf file and I printed them at home. And I just loved how they turned out.
When the guests arrived at our home, they got to pick out a colorful bandana to tie around their neck. A little costume/prop to get them into the camping mood…and I thought they’d look so cute in photos too! I ordered these off of Oriental Trading.
Once they entered into the party, there were a variety of stations/activities they could enjoy. Some we all did together…some were truly just stations they could visit at their leisure.
Here’s what we had planned:
- Make your own trail mix: This was the snack station. It was my favorite station…and the kids LOVED it too! They could visit it whenever they wanted and however many times they wanted. We had lots of selections to mix up including mini marshmallows, M&Ms, Golden Grahams cereal, popcorn, Goldfish, Crispix cereal, Kix cereal, Craisins, and mini pretzels. All items were labeled with little signs made out of corrugated board, card stock and popsicle sticks.
- Each guest got a tin can with their name on it when they arrived. IMPORTANT: If you do this, make sure to use the type of can opener that doesn’t leave a sharp edge…you don’t want anyone to get cut sticking their hand in for a snack.
- To personalize them I hot glued a rectangular piece of card stock around the can making a sleeve and then added a smaller strip on top of it with the child’s name printed on it. This made easy for them to carry their trail mix around from station to station without getting it mixed up with anyone else’s. They got to take their tin cans home as favors too…my girls still have theirs and use them as pencil holders on their desks.
- Backpack decorating: I ordered small natural colored canvas backpacks from Oriental Trading. I had fabric markers and fabric stickers they could use to decorate them. I also had ribbon and buttons that they could us to embellish them with too. I had a dear friend of mine manning this station with a hot glue gun to safely add these embellishments for our guests. Safety first! This was so easy to do inside…in fact, it was probably easier inside without the wind, dirt, etc. to mess up the project. They turned out super cute, each showing each guest’s personality. Also a fun and usable keepsake to take home.
- Temporary tattoo station: Okay so my Littlest One had just ONE request for this party…she wanted tattoos. Yep…tattoos at her Camping party! So I granted her birthday wish and we had a temporary tattoo station…and to incorporate it into the theme, they were done inside a tent. Now we had planned to have an extra large family sized tent set up outside in the yard for the kids to play in…and clearly that wasn’t happening. But you can’t have a real Camping Party without a tent…so we pitched a two-man tent in our great room and that is where the tattoo station landed. I had another dear friend in there helping apply all those tattoos…bless her! (One thing I was reminded about here was the importance of being creative within a theme…and to remember the bigger picture – which is for your child to feel honored and to have fun. I could have quickly said “No…tattoos have nothing to do with camping”. But we figured out a way to make it happen…and I’m so glad we did – everyone loved their tattoos!)
- Bow & arrow practice: First of all, let me calm your nerves…we weren’t going to use a traditional bow and arrow for this. That was never our plan. We have this great Z-Curve bow by Zing Air that has arrows with rubber bounce-back tips and some with suction cup tips. We LOVE this bow and arrow set! Our girls have enjoyed shooting without the threat of hurting anyone. So obviously this was definitely going to be an outside activity and we were going to have a contest to see who could shoot their arrow the farthest. I had even gotten popsicle sticks out to write their names on and stake in the ground to be the marker to where their arrow landed. At first I thought we’d have to scrap this completely because of the weather, but I just couldn’t seem to let it go…I knew it would be a hit with the kids. And it was! Yes, I found a way…I hung a piece of butcher paper on the wall and cut out a cute flower to go on it to be our target and they were to aim at the center of the flower. Everyone lined up and got to have 3 shots during their turn. It was such a hit that everyone got back in line again and again for more shots. Most had never shot a bow and arrow before so it was a great new experience. Glad we found a way…doesn’t hurt that half of our great room is unfurnished, which allowed for such an activity…and for the tent.
- Campfire games: We had several games planned depending on time. We ended up only doing two of them. These games would’ve happened in the family-sized tent had we been in our backyard, but instead we did them around the fireplace inside. Game #1 was simply good old fashioned charades. I had a tin can with slips of paper of things they had to act out. Things that they may see or do or need while camping…e.g., butterfly, guitar, hat, canoe, backpack, etc. Game #2 was a story-telling game. One person started the story and said 1-2 sentences and then as we went around the circle the next person had to add 1-2 sentences to keep the story going adding twist and turns and silliness. Kids can really crack me up with what they come up with!
- S’mores around the camp fire: So it wouldn’t be a Camping Party without s’mores now would it?! We moved our metal fire pit up to our patio, right outside our back doors so the guests could pop outside to roast a marshmallow or two and make a s’more if they wanted. This obviously HAD to be done outside and we just sucked up the cold and made it happen. It ended up being a fun adventure getting to roast marshmallows with snow flurries coming down. And being right by the back door, everyone could quickly run back inside to warm up.
Birthday cupcakes & parting party favors
We ended the party gathered around the dining room table to sing happy birthday and have cupcakes. I bought the cupcakes at our local bakery, but I added the little paper flags that I made with the Littlest One’s initial “M” on it. Every child received a flashlight when they left with a note saying “My birthday was BRIGHTER because you came to celebrate with me! Thanks for coming to my party!” I got the flashlights from Dollar Tree…and of course the batteries too – wouldn’t be any fun if they couldn’t turn them on now would it. And while the kids were waiting to be picked up they all ended up under our dining room table playing with their flashlights. So cute!
If you’ve had a Camping themed party, please add your ideas in the comment section! The best ideas are shared ideas! If you have any questions about how I did anything, do not hesitate to ask.
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