This weekend we celebrated our girls getting a whole year older with a Camping Party. I know this is weird coming from someone who has never voluntarily gone camping in her life, but stranger things have happened and I’m all about pretending – without having to actually do it.
Anyway, the weather was perfection with a lovely sunny day and all in all it worked out really well. Here’s how it all went down.
So, the question I got asked a lot, is how we got to this theme. And well the short answer is that I saw it on Pinterest and then I kind of “sold it” to the girls so that they were totally invested in it. It worked! They were stoked about it and I think it was the smore’s that really sold it though. I mean really. Smores!
Let’s talk Camping Party decor
Half of the fun of doing these parties for my kids is trying to make the area look like it’s really part of the theme. In fact I’m totally invested in it. Maybe a little bit too much. I get it though, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but let’s be clear, it’s totally my cup of tea. I dig it. A lot.
So obvs for a camping party you need tents right? What kind of camping party would it be without it? So we had a combination of cool tents to make the day so much more memorable. The two big Range tents are from Hey Pioneer. They recently moved out near Robertson (one of our favourite little towns) but they were coming down to Cape Town for the weekend and hooked us up with the big tents. They are such friendly, lovely people and I would highly recommend booking them out for any big events (think weddings, 30th’s etc). If only I had know about them last year for my 30th I think I would have broken my no camping rule.
Then the littler Teepee tent is from Totem Teepee. They make these brilliant little teepees in a variety of colours and styles. They can be used in your playroom and are even so pretty you can keep them in your living area if you don’t have a playroom (like us). They are based in Durban and if you are lucky enough to live there and are wanting to have a camping party you can actually hire a fleet of up to 12 teepee’s for your party! Flipping awesome.
Camping Party Food Table
The other fun part that I end up thinking about the most is the food. How can I make it fit in with the theme? So we had a range of things
- Bear Poop – Chuckles and Date Balls (that were so soft and realistic that some of the Aunties picked them up and put them right down again hahaha)
- Twigs – Pretzels (thin ones from Pick n Pay)
- Earthworms – A combination of the jelly snakes and sour worms
- Marshmallows on sticks – Mini marshies from Woolies and pretzel (thin ones from Pick n Pay)
- Tree stumps – Mini lamington swiss rolls from Woolies
- Cupcakes – Little bear heads (Woolies), trees (my mom made them) and marshmallows on sticks
Then the cake of course. Guys, I usually make the cake myself. But not this year. I just couldn’t. I had to face reality and know that I just didn’t have the time. So I bought two of the “party” cakes from Woolies, popped them on top of each other and then iced them with my own chocolate icing.
Seth and I then made the tents with a combination of Chocsticks and fondant. The campfire is cut up sweets, pretzels and candles. My favourite thing about decorating our own cakes is that no matter how badly it turns out, the girls faces are priceless when they see it. So special.
“Gourmet” Smores Bar
One of the things that sold this party was the smores. So we went all out. We had a range of biscuits, from tennis biscuits in different flavours (normal, cinnamon, choc mint and caramel), marie biscuits and chocolate covered digestives. Then you pop in your marshmallow and add the chocolate of choice – Rolo, Topdeck, 70% Lindt or good old dairy milk chocolate.
After you’ve chosen all your favourite things then you wrap it up in tinfoil and pop it on the fire. They went down a treat even though some of them got a smidge burnt.
Keeping them busy – let’s talk Camping Party Games
I didn’t really want to spend the entire party facilitating games (let’s face it, having so many people in our tiny house at once is stressful enough because of all the things you need to cater for and be producing). But also, I don’t think the kids need that much guidance. Sometimes the best parties are just playing with your friends. However I did prep two activities:
I bought a whole bunch of white t-shirts online in a size 8 and size 10. Then Seth designed a little logo and I stencilled them on the shorts for them to paint. I got the paint from the cool educational toy section at Mambo’s. Not everyone wanted to do this activity and not everyone RSVPed when I asked them to (as freaking usual right?!) and so we have about a million shirts left over. So guess what Knox is doing for his party 😉
Trying to get the kids together to listen to how to play the game was like trying to herd a flock of cats. Flipping impossible!
Bop – The Game
One of the games that I loved playing as a child was called BOP. Why was it called that? Well, I’ll get to that later. Suffice to say that it is a way to work out all the energy and sugar they had consumed up until this point.
Rules of BOP
- There are 4/5 adults that hide away. They each have a name. In our case we had Nurse, Clown, Butterfly, Cowboy and Rabbit.
- Each kid is given a piece of paper with the name of one of the adults on their paper. But you mix it up so that they don’t all start with the same adult.
- Once you say go, each kid goes to find their first name. When they get to the Clown, they (the adult) always refers them to the Butterfly by writing Butterfly on the paper, when they get there, the Butterfly always refers them to the Cowboy etc. So in essence they go around in a circle. And with them all having different names to look for your shouldn’t have everyone flocking to the same adult.
- The first person with all 5 names on their paper comes to the main leader (in this case me) and they win.
- Here’s the catch. There is another adult that has a stocking filled with flour. If he BOPs you with it, you need to stop and give him your piece of paper and he will give you a new one and you have to start again.
- You don’t have to do this, but at each adult stop they got a little gift that was part of their party packs – crazy straws, badges, sweets, magic beans (that turn into animal shapes in the bath) and glow in the dark bracelets.
I think it didn’t go down exactly as I’d planned but that’s mostly because of my inept explanations. Thank you to my long suffering friends and family who indulge me and volunteer (uh, get coerced) into helping me out.
Blowing out the candles
This year we didn’t have separate candles on the cake and despite initially being slightly miffed, they ended up being OK with it as it was the basis of the camp fire and made it all “real”.
Also I couldn’t help but take some pictures while everyone was singing because it was such a great sight to see. All out family and friends looking so happy and singing to our girls. Special.
It was a really great party and we enjoyed having everyone over to celebrate with us. Here’s to many more fun parties in the future.
And of course, there are a few extra pictures. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
This is the cover art for the next boy band album.
The debut of the Playmansion. It’s still not finished (even though they started building it in December) but Seth worked really hard to get it safe for the party. There will be a whole long post on this once it’s eventually done, but I thought I’d put it in her now as a bonus for making it so far down in this very long post 😉
Today we celebrated our girls with a camping themed party and despite a few last minute freak outs I think it turned out a smashing success. Some highlights: 1. This theme is the bomb – so much potential. 2. We didn’t make the actual cake but we did decorate it. It was our quickest and easiest cake ever and I think it turned out relatively well all things considered. 3. We had all different food, from tree stumps to earth worms and bear poops. They went down a treat. 4. We had a Smores bar kitted out with dark, milk, topdeck and rolo chocolate that you could put inside a variety of biscuits. 5. We also painted T-shirts which was hectic and I don’t know if id ever do that again with that amount of kids around. 6. All in all they had a super day surrounded by family and friends. We are grateful to each and everyone of them for being part of our lives. 7. All the work Seth put into getting the playmansion was worth it. There were kids in it the entire party. 8. I’m am now completely exhausted.
Other parties that we have had or been to with a cool theme:
- Spy Party
- Paw Patrol Party
- The Faraway Tree Party
- Superhero Party
- Rainbows and Kites Party
- Shaun The Sheep Party
- Bling Party
- Butterfly Party
- Dinosaur Party
- Murder Mystery party (this ones for the adults)
- Cowboy Party
- A Baking Party (one of my favourites)
- Mister Maker Party
- Alice in “one”derland party
- Mermaid Party
- Sixties Party (also adult but doesn’t have to be)
- Princess Party
- Circus Party