Birthday Party Themes: Kids Camping Party

Looking for a fun theme birthday party for children that is easy and inexpensive? Have a Camp-in slumber party. Tips on activities and decorations.

INVITATIONS:

You can easily make your own "tent" invitations for this party. Just take a sheet of white card stock and cut it to 4X8 inches. Fold the top corners down to the bottom center and crease the edges. You'll have what resembles a little tent. Get some stickers or print out some pictures of little kids in camping gear and paste them on the inside. You can write your party information inside on the flaps. Note that it will be a slumber party, and that children should bring their sleeping bag, a flashlight and a canteen (or water bottle).

DECORATIONS:

Get some paper grocery bags. While folded, cut off the bottom part, and then up the seam so they open up into a long strip of brown paper. Hang them on the wall (make sure any advertisements are not facing outward) like tree trunks. Take some more bags and cut out random shaped branches and tape them coming off the top of the trunks. Get some green balloons and blow them up, sticking them up around the top of the tree branches. Use green crepe paper as vines swaging from tree to tree. You can make your living room look like a forest.

If you have a large enough room, pitch a camping tent in the middle of it. The kids will enjoy it. If your room isn't big enough for a real tent, get a large piece of cardboard and fold it over, draping a sheet over it to look like a tent, and set it in the corner for atmosphere.

Disperse natural objects around the room, such as rocks, sticks, leaves (real or silk), plants, pine cones, etc. Also put as many stuffed woodland animals peeking from behind furniture or off shelves.

In the center of the room, make a "campfire" by simply getting a dollar store touch light; they have a soft glow and don't generate heat. Set it down in the center of the area, put a red scarf or some red vellum paper over it, and cover it loosely with twigs and sticks. It will resemble glowing embers under the wood.

REFRESHMENTS

Serve typical camping food, such as hot dogs and beans. "Ants on a log," or celery and carrot sticks smeared with peanut butter or cream cheese and sprinkled with raisins is in the spirit of the camp-in. So are s'mores, which can be made by sandwiching chocolate and marshmallows between graham crackers and microwave for about 30 seconds to melt.

Drinks can also be as easy as traditional camping beverages-- make some lemonade or iced tea to go into children's canteens or water bottles so they can carry it around. A great cake idea is a log cake decorated with green icing leaves, perhaps with gummy worms "crawling" on it.

ACTIVITIES

Have a scavenger hunt! Hide little goodies around the room, such as plastic eggs filled with treats, wiggly little rubber insects, or birds nests made of cotton candy. Make nature art by giving the kids some boxes of moss, twigs, leaves, flowers, tiny stones, acorns, pine cones and other things you have collected. Supply them with crayons and glue and let them make a nature collage. Have traditional camping activities around the "campfire", such as spooky stories, a sing-along, or games like "duck-duck-goose" and "telephone." Let the kids use their flash lights to make shadow puppets. Let the children sleep around the "campfire," or in the pitched tent if you have one.

GOODY BAGS

Get some dollar store bandanas and fill them with little party store toys and treats that can be connected to camping. Little toy compasses, sun glasses, gummy worms, little plastic animals, and, if you can find it in your area, gum that comes in a band-aid tin. Wrap them up in the bandana and tie them at the top to hand out to your guests.

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