My boy is 5. FIVE! We celebrated with a Camping Party (due in part to our ohRV adventures and our Stone Mountain weekend). I had this whole awesome play-outside-with-real-fire-wood-and-bows-and-arrows-and-slingshots alas, everything had to be moved inside because it was pouring down rain. *sniff*
But as every good camper knows, that’s what camping is all about–braving the elements! And we still had the most fun time ever!
First, lemme tell you about a very special gift from God to Asa for his birthday. We’re doing God’s Little Explorers curriculum for school (which I super love) and this week, totally unplanned by me, the theme is “T is for Tent” with a study of Abraham following God’s command to leave his home and begin a new nation. So, all week during homeschool, we’ve been doing tent and camping activities! How perfect is that?
I used all that to my benefit by letting Asa make stuff for his party! He made all the thank-you gifts during school (a dollar store flashlight with a little tag attached to it, signed by him) and we all made this fabulous sign from a pallet together. My husband saved some pallets from work for me and I just knew I’d be all Pinterest-y and make some awesome home decor with it.
As usual, it’s been sitting in my garage for months. Then I suddenly realized how perfect it would be for a camp sign! We grabbed some sticks in the woods, some black paint and a high temp glue gun and made that thing in less than 20 minutes. I kinda love it.
I got so excited about the pallet, I decided to do another one for inside the house! This one greeted all the campers as they arrived and housed Asa’s birthday book (The Dangerous Book for Boys) for all the guests to sign as a memory for him.
And HOLY CUTENESS at Asa’s outfit. Do you see his camo boots? And how ’bout that headlamp. I can’t stand it.
Now, onto the food.
Remember, this was supposed to be an outdoor party with lots of choose-your-own-adventures including roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. I didn’t have a lot of food or food-decor planned. When we moved everything into the house, I grabbed this red and white checked tablecloth (a wedding gift!), my giant blue canning pot (which I’ve used only once) and all the jars I’ve collected over the years to use as cups.
We made a punch complete with dry ice, scattered some plastic bugs around and had Bug Juice! The picture doesn’t do the creepiness justice. One of the little boys wouldn’t even try it!
The cake, as always, was divine. My super special BFF, Staci made it and I couldn’t love it more! How cute are those trees?! And that campfire?!!
We also had baked beans, hotdogs with chili and all the fixin’s. And my new favorite, Lazy S’mores (I made up that name. It’s really just a S’mores Dip. But Lazy S’mores sounds more fun to me), which is essentially sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and marshmallow creme all mixed together. It kinda tasted like Cadbury Creme Egg frosting, if there was such a thing. SINFUL. I bought Teddy Grahams to dip in it, but my dad, ever the chef, cut up apples and used that to dip up the awesomeness. I didn’t get a picture because it was too yummy. And I don’t want to be reminded of all that sugar.
Of course, there were also honest-to-goodness S’mores, too. I collected every marshmallow known to man (strawberry, pumpkin spice, chocolate/vanilla and even toasted coconut) along with chocolate bars and peanut butter cups.
We had to roast them over a fire pit in the pouring rain, but even rain doesn’t stop a good s’more!
Now, for the activities!
Well, we had to move our giant 9 person tent into the big room. We strung a few lights around it, added some of Daddy’s walking sticks and threw some sleeping bags inside.
The kids loved going in and out, in and out then, running around inside and then running around inside again. It was pretty fabulous. The funniest part was when I poked my head in with a camera and they all stopped what they were doing and posed. Ah, the new norm–kids having their every move documented!
We also had another tent (muuuuch smaller) set up in the kitchen area. Inside were supplies to make some fancy shmancy toilet paper tube binoculars with camo duct tape. This craft was the prerequisite to going on the Camping Scavenger Hunt!
When this hunt was going to be outside, they were going to collect actual nature items in their bandana-stick thingies. (What are those called?) But with the rain, I had to improvise. I found a printable nature scavenger hunt online and printed a card for each kid.
I printed one additional card, cut out all the pictures and then hid them around the room. The kids used their wooden crayons (something I bought in the Dominican Republic) to mark off each item as they found it. Once they finished the hunt, they received their very own Duck Dynasty tattoos! (OK, they weren’t really Duck Dynasty, but I can’t figure out why there would be duck and deer tattoos in the party section!)
Then we did a little lashing and painting with rock and twig tic-tac-toe. This was one of those we planned when we saw the weather forecast. It was really cool (and a great take-home) but it was one of those where the kids kinda watch you work. Oh, well.
OK. And now for the best part of the whole day—the Songfest! You may not know that I went to camp my entire life and even graduated from the CILT program (Campers in Leadership Training). I know and have led so many camp songs, you wouldn’t believe. So, of course, we had to incorporate this into the party!
I convinced my brother (also a CILT) to play guitar and we led the kids in The Bear Song and then Happy Birthday. I was very…dramatic. And I think the kids thought it was really fun. Or maybe they were just in awe of my sash. (Yes, my real sash with real badges that I really earned.)
Then we blew out candles and opened presents in the tent!
Happy Birthday, sweet Asa! I love you and can’t wait for 5!
See all my fabulous party posts here!
And visit my Camping Party Pinterest board for more fun ideas!
affiliate links included.