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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Summer Spectacular: Try a Backyard Camp Out Party

Jan 07, 2008 12:00AM

Summer is a big season for entertaining, and birthday parties are no exception.

But if you are trying to come up with something more creative for your child’s party, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!

Want an easy party solution? All you need to have a successful backyard camp out are a few kids, some tents, a couple flashlights, an open pit for roasting marshmallows, a little imagination and a few supervising adults! (And of course, your backyard.)

Here’s where to start:

  1. Prepare invitations dictating the theme. You can purchase themed cards or have the birthday child draw his own using lots of trees and hills, camping tent, a night owl and perhaps even a coyote.
  2. Figure out how many children will attend and set up the tents accordingly. If you don't have enough tents, don't go out and purchase more—simply ask a neighbor or a parent of a child attending to bring you one when he drops of his child. Encourage kids to bring sleeping bags, or have extra blankets and pillows on hand.
  3. What would camping be without roasting marshmallows? You can find an open pit at the local home remodeling store or you can simply bring around your grill. If you don't have either, simply roast them over an open flame on a gas burning stove.
  4. If you have the kids start arriving around 7 p.m., you don’t have to worry about dinner. Simply provide tons of finger snacks such as chips, crackers, nuts, candy, and popcorn. If you do decide to provide dinner, go the easy route and barbecue burgers or hotdogs, sticking with the camping theme.
  5. Since the kids will be running amuck, skip the punch and sodas and head straight for water bottles. And let’s not forget that no camp out would be complete without hot cocoa!
  6. As for entertainment, keep it fairly simple. A few lawn games such as flashlight tag, scavenger hunts or craft sessions should do the trick. Crafts can be themed towards nature, or try scavenger hunts around the neighborhood with a few volunteer neighbors, or in your own backyard.
  7. Have the parents come for their kids around 9 in the morning. You can serve the kids donuts, juice, and milk on the grass or patio before they leave.

A backyard camp out is the perfect party theme because the kids will love their outdoor adventure, and you can relax knowing you’ve created an easy, low-stress party!