The idea of a camping party offers a lot of appeal for a range of ages. Perhaps it’s because the entire theme conjures up wholesome images of nature, fresh air, sunshine, open sky…and no electronic games! If the call of the wild appeals to you for your next kid-friendly party, plan for needed supplies. On my blog, Spaceships and Laser Beams, we specialize in boy birthday party ideas, so I have tons of suggestions! From invitations to decorations to cakes and take-home favors, we have lots of considerations to help you.
One of the first decisions you need to make is where you’ll host this party; do you have room on your own property? A backyard campout is very convenient! I’ve also seen moms successfully plan for the entire campout to be inside. One mom had kids roasting marshmallows in sterno pots on her dining room table—and the guests had a great time!
Outside, a tent is not a have-to, but it does add to the kid excitement. One large tent or even the A-frame DIY tents, can work wonders for party atmosphere. If weather permits, just sleeping under the stars in a sleeping bag is fun or have your guests bring their own pup tents! Don’t forget to provide anti-bug bracelets or bug spray to make sure the party stays enjoyable.
Camping Party Invites
Once you know your party venue, get the invitations ready. An invite that reflects some aspect of your party is a good way to jumpstart anticipation. An invitation in the shape of a tent with an envelope embellished with trees, for example, is more exciting than a plain square of white. If your campout is a sleep over, be sure to let guests know if they should bring sleeping bags or tents.
Camping Party Games
Here are just a few activities that work well with a camp out theme: a nature scavenger hunt; classic games like tug-of-war and sack races or flashlight tag; star gazing; tall tales storytelling or retell true stories of wilderness explorers; catch lightning bugs; nature crafts such as leaf identification and crayon rubbings; give a lesson in knot-tying or some other wilderness survival skill; sing around the campfire; go fishing (for the younger set, this can be a game with magnetic poles and fish-no water necessary).
Camping Party Food Ideas
Food is a major consideration at any party! At a campout, preparing the food can be part of your activity. Of course most people expect hot dogs and s’mores at a campout and that’s fine, but there is other camp friendly food. Pre-made stews can heat in a kettle over the campfire (or on the stove). Look up some camp recipes. There are a lot of foil packet meals that can be nestled in fire embers. A couple of cast-iron pans can produce some delicious culinary treats, too. Have you ever cooked bacon over a campfire? Um…mmm! Add potato chunks, onion, eggs and cheese and you have a feast.
Camping Themed Desserts
Don’t forget the birthday cake! It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Top it with (edible!) miniature trees and a tent or hire your favorite bakery to produce a woodland scene. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies in theme shapes and hand-held pies are welcomed at any birthday celebration, too.
Whether you are hosting a camp-out or a camp-in, remember to decorate the food and dessert tables. Think texture and rustic. For example, table coverings can be a plaid blanket or burlap or even painter’s canvas. Old tin ware, wood platters and baskets make excellent serving pieces. Lanterns, vintage thermos jugs, even deer antlers, can add to the out-of-doors ambiance. Don’t forget the possibility of using rocks, leaves, twigs and moss in your arrangements.
Favors for Happy Campers
Send the happy campers home with favor bags. You can include something as simple as a theme-shaped cookie. If you want to be more elaborate, you might add a compass, binoculars, a canteen, a flashlight or trail mix.
As with any theme, you can be as ambitious as you want in planning your party, but a camping idea gives you the opportunity to simplify and still pull off a great bash. Happy trails!
What's your favorite idea for a camping themed birthday party?
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