Camping Party 5yr - Smores & Marshmellos
Melissa in Crystal Lake, IL USA
Camping Party - For my son's 5th birthday we had a camping party indoors, as it was too cold to play outside. Some ideas came from this site, and others were original.
The invitations were made on light blue card stock. I layered different pieces of paper and glued to the card stock to look like grass, trees and I used brown paper from a grocery bag to cut out a tent shape. The doors of the tent opened to reveal the party info, "Join us at the (Last name) Campgrounds. Listed the date and time. "Please call 555-5555 to reserve your campsite." The party started at 6 pm and ended at 8:30pm. This allowed the party to take place while it was dark outside, but without having 12 five year olds sleep over.
We moved out all the furnature in the family room and set up a tent. I set up some real logs to lokk like a campfire. Under the logs was a small desk fan facing up and turned on. Attached to the front of the fan were strips of red and yellow cellophane that were blowing around and looked like flames. We played a tape of nature sounds, hanged glowing stars from the ceiling fan and turned in on low speed. This looked great when the lights were off. As each child arrived, they were given a glow stick. I found inexpensive mess kits at a discount store and wrote in permanent marker each child last name on all five pieces of the mess kit.
They ate hot dogs, chips and gummy worms off of their mess kits and drank kool aid out of the cups that came with them. After dinner, we made campfire ice cream by using any ice cream recipe and placing it inside a covered can. Tape the lide well with duct tape and place inside another larger bucket. Suround the small can with layers of ice and course salt and cover the large can with a tight lid. Then let the kids roll it between them for about twenty minutes. They made some kind of game out of it, so it wasn't a chore. Meanwhile, I was rinsing out the mess kits.
The cake was made using four of the ice cream log cakes in the freezer section of the supermarket. I stacked them to look like a campfire. They were lightly frosted with brown icing and then I streaked them with a little gray icing to give the texture of wood and look chard. I melted together cinnamon and butterscotch candies and broke them into shards to look like flames. At the last minute, I stick these into the cake and it looked great. I always make my kids cakes and this was the easiest one ever. Given that the cake was premade in log shape and required very little frosting, it was super easy. It also had the ice cream built in, just in case the homemade ice cream did work out (which it did). We made smores under very controlled conditions (I was worried about fire with 12 five year olds and did not want to light the fireplace). I got two little sternos and my husband and I supervised while they used BBQ skewers to roast the marshmellos.
They opened presents in the tent and we played a find the snake in your sleeping bag game. They each brought their own sleeping bag and I then dropped a plastic snake into each one. We laid them all out, turned off the lights and they had to climb into their sleeping bag and find the snake. My favorite part of the party were the goody bags. I had gathered enough long sticks from a nearby wooded area. I cut off any sharp thorns or branches. While the kids were just playing around for the last ten minutes of the party, I assembled the bags I gathered a bandana whith their name taped on it around each mess kit, a little container of worms in dirt (gummie worms in oreo crumbs), S'mores candy bar, and my favorite, dehydrated ice cream sandwich from the camping section of the sporting goods store. It had a picture of a hiker on it, but there is also a brand that has an astronaut on the package, which would be great for an outer space party. I tied the bundle with twine and then tied each to the end of the stick.
They all looked like little Huck Finns as they were leaving. The thank you notes were made from light and dark brown craft foam and a tablet of white post-it notes. The tablet of sticky notes and the dark brown foam cut it a wavy circular shape were sandwhiched between two light brown foam squares. This looked like a smore and the thank you was written on the first few sheets of post-it paper. The kids loved the party.