Big Brother experienced his very first camping adventure this last year. In September, he and his Daddy went with several other fathers and sons from our church on a one-night camping trip. I honestly expected them to be home by sundown, but Big Brother totally LOVED it! Even though a certain female member of our family who shall remain unnamed (uh-hum) isn’t all that into camping, I knew it would be a fun theme for Big Brother’s 4th Birthday Party. Plus, this is the first birthday party where we have invited people other than family!
Having a birthday party in the dead of winter sorta stinks. But we decided to bring the outdoors in at our church’s fellowship hall and it was TONS of fun!
Invitations and Decorations
The invitations for Big Brother’s birthday party were designed by my friend Rachel at RV Parties. She simply sent me the file and I printed them off at our local Walgreens as 4×6 photos.
RV Parties also has an amazing camping party printable set that comes with a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner, cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers, water bottle wrappers, treat bag toppers, Thank You Cards, and food labels.
We didn’t do a whole lot besides this for decorations, but I did buy several yards of burlap from JoAnn’s to cover the two tables we used. We also brought our tent (Big Brother’s birthday gift from us) and set it up for the kids to enjoy. I took this picture before all the food was set out…so please disregard the empty table space. :)
The lanterns we used were from my sister’s wedding and the pine cones were from our yard.
We also used this campfire from Insect Lore.
We used just white styrofoam plates and green striped napkins I found at Target. I really wanted to get these plates, these dessert plates, and these napkins but I couldn’t justify spending over ($30 with shipping) for something that would inevitably end up in the trash!
The camping theme allowed for some really fun food!
The same lady that made our wedding cake made this cake…for $17! The two pine trees are made of pure chocolate!
This handy-dandy Old Fashioned S’more Maker allowed us to make this camping essential without an open flame!
Activities & Games
Instead of doing group games, I just had several child-size tables set out with various activities on each and let the children go to each table individually. Here are the activities we included:
Make a Miniature Bow-and Arrow (free printable labels included)…just make sure to set up a ‘shooting range’ to keep the kids from shooting each other!
This might have been the favorite among the kids…and it was the simplest! We just brought some pipe cleaners and beads and let the kids make bracelets and necklaces.
Color your own t-shirts! Little boys undershirts and fabric markers are a great and inexpensive way to let kids design their own t-shirts.
The kids enjoyed walking around on these. Go here to find out how to make them!
Chop-a-Log (this was a hit)
Read books in a tent! Be sure to check out some of our favorite camping books!
We set out this camping-themed felt board on one of the tables for the kids to play with as well.
For each of the above activities, I covered the child-size tables with brown craft paper and then put the following table stands that I printed out on cardstock, cut out, bent, and trimmed.
We chose to give out flashlights for our party favors. Since I had this theme in mind for a few months ahead of time, I found an amazing deal on glow-in-the-dark LED flashlights after Halloween at Lowes. The packaging was Halloween-themed, but I decided to take the flashlights out of their packages anyway. I didn’t end up having enough, so I ordered these LED flashlights from Amazon, which were also great and inexpensive (they just don’t glow in the dark).
I shrunk the treat bag toppers included in the camping pack from RV Parties to make little tags for each flashlight.
What I love about these flashlights is that they turn on with the black button on top, so even the little ones can turn them on and off by themselves.
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