Campout Party 5yr - Backpack Relay
Jeannie in Carmel, IN USA
Camp Out Party (Indoor or Outdoor) For our daughter's 5th birthday she asked for a camping theme. In November in Indiana, we had to accomplish this inside.
Invitation: I used scrapbook paper that looked like birch bark. Folded in half and cut in the shape of a canoe. I used the log/twig letter stickers also from the scrapbook store for the front to say "Come to a Camping Party!" Inside I wrote the details with color coordinated marker. Also decorated the inside and outside with camping themed stickers.
Decorations: We made room in our family room for our big (real) tent. It sleeps 5 so there was enough room for all the kids to play inside. We got all our woodland plush animals and set them around the room and suspended the birds from the ceiling. We also got out all our camping toys. For the one long wall we made construction paper trees and my daughter make squirrels and owls, etc. which we attached to the trees. It was fun having her involved with the decorations. I also bought a forest sounds CD to play in the backgroud.
Food: Hot dogs were perfect for the camping theme. We considered roasting them in the fireplace, but decided not to take the risk of someone getting singed or a weanie bursting into flames! Mini canteens were used to hold beverages. But the really fun food was the "candy stew" we made. All of the children were assembled in the tent and each was given a candy stew "ingredient" in a baggie. Malted milk balls (or unwrapped tootsie rolls) were the meat, mini marshmallows were the potatoes, orange Mike & Ikes were carrots, red Twizler bits were tomatoes, green M&Ms were peas, green Mike & Ikes were green beans, yellow M&Ms were corn, etc. The kids absolutely LOVED this part! I got out my plastic witch's caldron we use to hand out candy at Halloween and one by one each child added their "ingredient" to the stew. After each child had a chance to mix up the stew, they got a heaping spoonful placed in their baggie to take home!
For a cake I opted for commercial cake decorated with a camping theme. However, one could easily make cakes in the shape of tent, camp fire, canoe, and decorate accordingly.
Games: We could have done a scavenger hunt in or outside along with this theme but the party did not seem lacking without it. Another game idea would be to have a relay race using backpacks and lots of bulky/heavy camping gear. The kids would split into two teams. A player must pack the backpack, race to destination and unpack. The next kid would pack up and do it all again. One could even do a canoe paddling relay race with the children scooting across the floor on their bottoms!
Favors: I decided to give just one nice gift to each child along with their baggie of candy stew. The gift I decided on was a real compass-whistle-magnifier-key chain I purchased at Meijer (super Walmart type store) in the camping aisle...they had several items designed for kids. The big hits were the candy stew and playing in a real tent in the family room. The parents were all impressed by the canoe invitations.