Idea No.

13915

Camping Cowboy 4yr - Real Campground

Award

Date

July 2006

From

Paige in Allen, Texas  USA

Honorable Mention

Camping Party

Camping Cowboy Birthday Party  4 Yrs.  For my son's fourth birthday, Will decided upon a camping party with a cowboy theme.  We had not been camping this summer, but thought this would be an excellent time to do so.  Luckily there is a wonderful campground park on a lake near our town (we easily could have held this at home or at a nearby park).  Having it in a real campground made it special for those guests who don't normally get to camp with their families.  We arrived at the campground a couple of days ahead of time which allowed us to enjoy some family time and get some needed relaxation. 

I bought discounted folded cardstock invitations with envelopes from Michael's and created the invitations on the computer using a camping clipart found on the internet.  We invited the guests to Camp _______ (used our last name) and put all pertinent info for the party (wear swim suit under clothes, sunscreen/towel, bring lawn chair to sit - for adults, bring scooter or bike).   We also included directions to the park. 

Decorations and food:  I decided to keep these simple, after all this was our vacation.  Will's bedroom is decorated in a cowboy theme, so I used several of his items to keep the party familiar, homey and low-cost.  On a small table covered in a vinyl denim cloth, I arranged a framed picture of Will in his cowboy costume from Halloween (western motif frame) along with his cowboy boots (one contained a kitchen glass filled with cut sunflowers we discovered along the road leading out to the campground).  I found a resin cowboy hat votive candle in the homewares section of Hobby Lobby for half price and used it in the picture and cowboy boots grouping (it'll become part of Will's bedroom d├ęcor as a special momento for his party).  I had appetizers for the adults on this table  Mexican dip, queso and chips.  The picnic table was covered in a vinyl red-checked cloth and had Will's old pair of cowboy boots with sunflowers atop red bandannas.  This is where the adults ate and we sang Happy Birthday/had cake. 

For lunch, we grilled hotdogs (served in red and yellow hot dog baskets purchased for a previous party) along with choice of chips (Tostitos or Doritos) and cubed seedless watermelon (cold!).  I had a drink station of bottled water, pink lemonade or tea (no caffeine  not good on hot days) and several bags of ice from Sonic in a cooler with cups and black marker for I.D.-ing cups  we had plenty of drinks so the campers wouldn't get dehydrated. 

Activities:  Upon arrival, the kids decorated their bikes and scooters with paper streamers (red, white and blue) for a parade to be held later in the party.  This arrival activity was perfect for the 4-6 year olds; while waiting for all to arrive they were allowed to ride their bikes in front of the campsite.  Afterward, the campers were led to an open field for camp games  relay races, Bandit in the ditch, Duck  duck -splash  (huge hit  same game except for the goose part, the campers were doused with a cup of cold water  96 degree weather  very welcomed!)  After the camp games were completed, we opened presents. Each camper sat next to the birthday boy in little camp chairs as Will opened his or her present.  This allowed for a good photo opportunity to be included in the thank you notes. 

After presents, the kids had their parade enroute to the restrooms for a bathroom break and to wash hands for lunch.  This was a real treat for the other campers in the campground  we got several comments after the party was over how delightful it was to see such a patriotic parade of enthusiastic young kiddos. The parade route ended back at our campsite where lunch was waiting to be served.  I enlisted several of the moms to help and we served the hungry campers cafeteria-style  hotdog prepared with choice of toppings (ketchup, mustard, relish), choice of chips and watermelon.

The campers picked up their drinks and headed to a couple of red checked cloths under the shade trees on our site to eat picnic-style.  Before lunch, my husband offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for our food and for the blessing of the gift of Will to our family and for his special day shared with good friends.  After lunch, we sang Happy Birthday and ate cake  wonderful display of cupcakes in a western scene of horses in a pasture  each cupcake was specially decorated to be part of the scene (I'd never seen this before and was very impressed  Wal-Mart Bakery  great price!)  The cupcakes made it much easier for serving, no plates or forks needed. 

After cake, we ended the party with a pinata filled with candy and unopened kids meals toys from various fast food restaurants in our town  I'd been saving our toys for the last few months!  The kids LOVED the kids meal prizes  great way to recycle used kids meal toys, too  either way, helps to keep a party within budget constraints. In all, this party was very low-cost the expense was in the food and beverages (served 32 people), pinata and candy, little votive candle, streamers, paper goods, and cake.  We had all other items.  I'm still hearing how wonderful a time everyone had!  Hope these ideas will inspire others.

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