1. Be ready to embrace camouflage (and DIY crafts).
I knew my outdoor venue was going to be hard to fill, being a huge pavilion, so DIY wood crafts and tents made from wood dowels and fabric from a local crafts store added décor that pulled the space together. I found some great camouflage tablecloths that served as a base for plates and napkins in shades of greens. Not only were they heavy-duty, but they were super authentic. In the invite, I also encouraged parents to let their little people wear something with camo.
2. Treat your child's friends with favors your child loves.
One of the sweet parents who brought her son to the party called me a "Pinterest Mom," and I secretly loved it. I never have the goal to impress, but I thrive on being creative and making things come to life. My Little’s birthday party was the perfect place to do this. I wanted to see his eyes light up, and for him to truly feel like we were camping. He was not disappointed! My son loves gummies and the occasional chocolate candy, so I created fun knapsacks to go along with hand-wrapped s'mores for favors.
3. Incorporate games that don’t require technology.
Camping should be simple, and your games should be as well. Grab some rope, tie a red bandana in the middle of it, and let the kids wear themselves out playing tug of war. We learned that the kids in attendance who were less outgoing enjoyed shooting bows and arrows at targets hanging on bales of decorative (and useful) hay. It allowed them to be active, and warm up to the others. Finally, since we chose an outdoor venue away from our home, we had the idea of hiding camp-related pictures around the venue for the kids to find during a treasure hunt.
4. Pick a location you are comfortable with that will allow the children to have “free reign.”
No, it’s not good to let your children run wild, however, what do you do on a camping trip? You have adventures! You run around! You’re loud! You get dirty! Make sure you choose a location where you’re not worried about keeping the neighbors up late at night (if you’re having a camping slumber party) or getting chocolate all over your furniture.
5. Choose food wisely.
Don’t go overboard. Grab a few colorful bowls for chips or popcorn, a tin cooler for drinks, and order a few pizzas. Don’t forget to create a cake that ties your theme together, reflecting the occasion the best way you can. Don’t forget to throw some hand sanitizer on the table for those busy, little hands!