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Camping Party Ideas

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Calling all happy campers! Report to this camping-themed celebration for a day of outdoorsy fun and adventure.

Invitations

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
These tent invitations are a cute way to ask guests to your camping-themed party. And they are pretty easy to make, too! Simply fold a piece of cardstock (or colored paper of your choice) into the shape of a tent. Print the party details on another sheet of colored paper, and cut it to fit beneath the flaps. These can be made in any color combination you like, and embellished with details of your liking, such as a the little camping sign at the top and pieces of twine on the tent flaps. Of course, you can also find a variety of camping-themed invitations from party suppliers. Or you can go with a less traditional approach, such as:
  • A mini flashlight with a tag attached that tells the party details.
  • A piece of cardstock cut into the shape of something associated with camping, such as a sleeping bag, canoe or pine tree.
  • A package that contains the ingredients for smores, with a recipe card that outlines the party plan.
  • A photo of your child inside of a tent.

Decorations

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
Turn your party space into a campsite with a few of these ideas:
  • Tents: Whether you pitch a large camping tent in the yard or create your own blanket teepees, party guests will enjoy playtime inside these camp-inspired structures.
  • Camping gear: Items such as lanterns, flashlights, cast iron pots and aluminum cans are functional pieces that also enhance the décor of a camping party. A cast iron pan, for instance, adds that rustic charm, but also works as a serving piece for party food.
  • Camping signs: Camping signs can be made from cardboard and paint, and attached to wooden stakes to mark different areas of the party space.
  • Tent place cards: Smaller versions of the tent-style invitation may be used as party table placecards.
  • Faux fire: Build a campfire that is safe enough for a kids party. Just add some “flames” cut from orange paper to a pile of wood. Gather your guests around the faux fire for some campfire songs and storytelling.

Activities

A few camping games and activities to entertain your little campers include:
  • Magnet fishing game.
  • Flashlight tag.
  • Making shadow puppets.
  • Musical sleeping bags.
  • Relay races, such as potato sack, three legged or wheelbarrow races.
  • Telling ghost stories.
  • A hayride.
  • Hiking.
  • Camping songs sing along.
  • Scavenger hunt.
  • Lantern making.

Food

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
Camping food is traditionally cooked over a fire, so consider serving some food cooked on an outdoor grill or an old-fashioned weenie and marshmallow roast (over an adult-supervised fire). Additional suggestions for camping party food:
  • Smores.
  • Smore sundaes: set up an ice cream bar with crumbled graham crakers, chocolate squares and mini marshmallow toppings.
  • Smorepedos.
  • Burgers.
  • Hot dogs, or pigs in a "sleeping bag."
  • Marshmallows.
  • Campfire platters: Arrange grapes as the rocks, pretzel sticks as the wood and cheese or carrot sticks as the flames to create a campfire on a plate.
  • Campfire cupcakes.
  • Any food that can be served on a skewer, such as fruit and cheese ka-bobs or mini meatballs.
A fun idea is to create a dessert or buffet table where the various foods are set up beneath tents (made from cardstock paper).

Favors

Image ©Christine Gauvreau
The first thing that comes to my mind for camping party favors is some kind of take-home package of smores ingredients. There are many ways to do this, including stacking a chocolate bar and bag of marshmallows atop a box of graham crackers, and tying them together with a gingham-check ribbon. Mason jars are a pretty way to display opened packages of the ingredients, as are clear gift boxes or cellophane wrappers. Additional suggestions for camping party favors include:
  • Flashlights
  • Hobo-style treat bags: Wrap treats in bandanas and tie to sticks
  • Lanterns: give out mini lanterns or have kids take home lanterns they made at the party
  • Backpacks
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