Before I share this post with you, I want to say something about parties:
I love to plan parties for my kids. But, you'll probably never find me featured on a party blog. The reason? I believe in keeping things on a limited budget, and in helping the kids have a great time vs. making the parents ooh and aah. So you won't see any gorgeous dessert tables, or ten shops listed at the bottom where I shopped for supplies. I did the whole party for under $100 (mostly food!) and you can too!
(I do love those beautiful parties. It's just not something I could ever do. And I'm okay with that.)
That being said, last week we put on a camping-themed party for my soon-to-be six year old!
The invitations went out:
The decorations went up (red balloons and streamers, red and white checked tablecloths, and green plates with red and white checked napkins.
Here's our welcome sign out front:
A banner I cut with my Silhouette:
The food table:
The tent, of course:
And we were ready to have a great time!
First, as the kids arrived, I had them decorate binoculars, which they later got to take home.
Then, we went on a nature-themed scavenger hunt. When they filled up their bags with all the items, they got a little prize.
We did a fishing game next. I attached magnets to wood dowels, then had them collect a fish from our "stream". (Hey, this is the desert.) The fish were different colors. They took their colored fish over to the prize bags, which were color-coordinated to the fish, and got to pick a prize. *sorry for the smiley faces- I didn't ask permission to show these kiddos on my blog, so you'll only see my kids' faces.
Then, everyone played in the tent and jumped on the trampoline for awhile. Didn't you know there were trampolines in the great outdoors ;) ?
Then we did sleeping bag races. I had the kids go two at a time and race the length of our lawn, hopping in their bags the whole way. We did it tournament style- the winner of each race moved on to the next round until we finished with a final three. The kids loved doing it and cheering for each other.
The last game we played was "Bear-Catcher", which is really just a camping version of "Duck, Duck, Goose!" They all sat on their sleeping bags. I had the kids use animal names like squirrel, chipmunk, bird, etc, and then instead of goose, they would shout "Bear!" and run like mad. Good times, good times....
After games and more trampoline-jumping, we ate dinner. I kept it simple, since kids never eat much at parties. We had hot dogs, chips, and fruit (grapes, strawberries, and pineapple).
I served water only, with some cute labels on them.
After dinner, we opened presents. I know a lot of times kids don't open presents at the parties anymore. And I get it- I totally understand the reasons some parents choose not to do this at the party. But our family will always open gifts for a few reasons:
1- The kids spend time picking out a present for the birthday child, and they want to see them open their gift! It makes me sad when my son spends time picking out the perfect gift for his friend, and then you never know if they like it! And a lot of times, we don't even get a thank-you card, so who knows if they even got it?
2- It is important that my children develop good manners, and opening presents teaches them to thank the person, and react appropriately to different gifts! For example- one year he got the same bubble gun from three different people. But we've taught him to say thank you and be polite, and he handled it just great. These are important social skills to teach, in my opinion.
*climbs off soapbox*
The grand finale, and arguably biggest hit, was roasting S'mores. We had a little firepit and some roasters, and the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and eating their S'mores.
They didn't even want cupcakes, they were so full of marshmallow-y goodness! But some did eat them, or took them home for later. Good thing, because I thought they were pretty cute!
I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, then rolled the tops in crushed Oreos to look like dirt. Then I topped them with camping-themed pictures.
Finally the party had to end, and we handed out goody bags. I got some camouflage drawstring mini-bags from Oriental Trading, and filled them with mini-flashlights, small working compasses, glowstick necklaces, and a bag of S'mores mix made from Golden Grahams, mini-marshmallows, and chocolate chips. They also took home their binoculars.
It was a great party- we had lots of fun and got everyone tired out for the night--including myself!
I'm linking this up to some of these parties this week. Thanks for checking them out!