Planning kids’ birthday parties has become a little complicated thanks to crafters and DIY moms and Pinterest. That’s why instead of getting fancy, we think it’s a great idea to take it back to basics by planning a backyard camping party! What better way to unplug, unwind, and enjoy the simpler things in life without packing everyone off to a remote wilderness spot?
Setting the Stage
The setup for a backyard camping party is pretty simple and straightforward. You’ll need:
- - Enough tents for guests to comfortably sleep. We loved this fun teepee tent tutorial!
- - A fire pit or flame-free candles to sit around when it gets dark.
- - Seating – both folding chairs and tables (both picnic and card tables will work).
- - Optional: a fun chalkboard sign welcoming everyone to camp!
To keep things simple, you can ask guests to bring sleeping bags and flashlights. Then all you have to do is keep everyone entertained!
A Campfire Feast Fit for Royalty
Meals are quick and easy. Kids will love roasting hot dogs over the fire, or eating hamburgers or sandwiches. For breakfast the following morning, scramble some eggs over the fire or have some grab-and-go pastries on hand to give out as kids start leaving.
The real key to a successful campout is having plenty of snacks on hand. For example, the kids can enjoy trail mix as they’re out on their hike or scavenger hunt. They can make post-dinner dessert with classic S’mores ingredients. Then, they can relax by the fire with fresh popcorn!
Just have plenty of beverages on hand to help slake their thirst – water, tea, juice, or whatever your child prefers. As a special treat, they can sip hot chocolate as they sit around the fire and tell stories.
10 Camping Party Activities for Guests of All Ages
The most magical aspect of a camping party is how easy it is to keep everyone occupied until it’s time for bed. We took inspiration from kids’ summer camps and came up with 10 fun activities everyone can enjoy:
1. Create a fun guest book for attendees by painting a picnic table with chalkboard paint and letting everyone draw pictures or write their names. After the party, you can wash off the table and use again for your next outdoor event!
2. Make rubbings – find leaves, flowers, and other items found in nature and make your own works of art the kids can take home. Simply place a leaf under a piece of paper, gently rub a crayon over the surface, and watch an image of the leaf magically appear!
3. Have an arts and crafts station. The options are endless – you can let the kids make their own friendship bracelets and necklaces to give to one another. You can let them create their own camp t-shirts with some blank tees and fabric pens. Or, you can let them decorate their own walking sticks by giving each child a dowel rod and letting them add ribbons, paint, stickers, and more. The best part? The kids can take these things home as fun souvenirs!
4. Help everyone make q-tip bow and arrows, then set up a makeshift shooting range and let them “hunt” to their heart’s content.
5. Experience nature by taking a long walk or hike in your neighborhood, especially if there is a nearby park where everyone can play. Make sure to have enough adults on hand to help wrangle any extra-energetic kids.
6. Set up a scavenger hunt by hiding toys and natural objects (like pinecones) in random places in the yard. Split the kids up into teams and give each team a list of items to collect and a bag to carry them. First team to find everything wins!
7. Wear them out with tag. As it gets dark and everyone needs to burn off the extra energy from dinner and birthday cake, give one child a flashlight and set them loose! The child who is “it” chases other children and tries to tag the next “it” person with the beam of the flashlight by shining it on them.
8. As everyone is winding down, it’s the perfect time to tell ghost stories around the fire. If that’s too scary for your group, tell jokes or funny stories instead!
9. Have a campfire sing-along! Let the kids pick their favorite songs to sing, and teach them some fun ones from yesteryear too.
10. Get everyone ready for bed by relaxing and gazing at the stars before tucking them in.
Now you have everything you need to host a low-key birthday party in your own backyard. All that’s left to do is get outside and go wild!
What fun overnight kids’ party ideas have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments!