I can hardly believe that my first-born turned EIGHT this August. I know it’s so cliche, but it truly does go SO FAST! I’ve always loved celebrating my kids’ birthdays, despite the fact that they are a bit bittersweet as well, recognizing that my little ones are getting older. However, my creative side loves to prep and plan each party to suite the interests of each individual child, and together we have a lot of fun with it!
I would say my party-planning style is 2-parts-DIY, 1-Part-Buy! I really do love a good DIY, and I often find myself thinking, “I can make that”, when I see an idea I find particularly inspiring. However, as a mom of four, sometimes it is just easier to pick-up the things I need – especially if I don’t have to compromise the quality of the theme in the process 😉 So, all that to say, I really do believe that anyone could replicate any of the parties I’ve thrown, whatever your party-planning style may be!
This year, Isla decided she wanted a “Glamping Birthday Party”. Glamping = Fancy Camping. We tossed around several potential themes, and this was the one she settled on. I think in her mind a Glamping Party would most definitely have included a backyard sleepover – and maybe in a few years I would entertain that option – but for this year, we toned it down a little and just focused on what decorations, food, and activities we would want to incorporate. It’s a good thing we had so much planned, because as it was, the day of the party it was really really cold outside, so our plans for a backyard party had to be moved inside.
The decorations most definitely had the biggest impact on the party theme. The night before the party, my sister, Isla and myself created a beautiful balloon garland using the colours of the party itself. I had never made one of these before, but my sister had, and with her help, it was actually extremely easy. I purchased 6 bags of balloons for the project – two of each colour, in both 12 inch and 9 inch sizes. The only other material we needed was fishline, and we were able to create a really high-impact piece for a very low price-point.
Another decorative element that really brought the theme to life were the two boho-inspired tents from a local maker, CanvasMoon. When I chatted with her about my vision, she immediately jumped on board, and created the most lovely tents, perfectly suited for indoor or outdoor play. We used the larger, 5 ft lace tent as the focal point of the living room decor, and the small 4 ft canvas tent as a secondary play-area and for storing the presents. These tents are honestly so well made, and I know the kids are going to enjoy playing with them for years to come.
Other decorative items included some paper lanterns, tassel garland, pom garland, little white lights, and all the decorative throw pillows we could find around the house! Luckily I was able to bring all of our outdoor pillows inside, and they matched the theme of the party perfectly. It was fun watching the girls crowd around on the floor as though they were truly camping under the stars.
Treats & Good Eats
The next area of the party where we were really able to implement the theme of Glamping was in the food we served. Because the party was originally intended to be an outdoor party, we had planned for a hotdog roast with s’mores for dessert. However, with the rainy weather cramping our glamping style, I decided to improvise.
We still had hotdogs as the “main course” of our supper (fried unfortunately, not roasted), which was easy enough, but I knew the s’mores were going to be harder to recreate inside. That’s when I decided to make s’mores cupcakes instead. Honestly, this was the easiest DIY theme dessert ever! I made a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing, and simply added a graham cracker, a piece of chocolate, and a marshmallow which I roasted using a handheld lighter. The most intensive aspect was obviously roasting each marshmallow slightly, but even that took very little time, and had a huge impact on the overall theme. They were also extremely tasty!
Another special treat we incorporated were some beautifully decorated cookies that a local baker/artist created for us (yes, she is truly an artist when it comes to icing design!) Jaecreatez took some pictures I sent her from Pinterest and came up with the cutest little camp-inspired sugar cookies, which the girls ate as their after school snack at the beginning of the party. I actually had trouble letting the kids eat them, they were just so pretty! LOL!
The final treat we provided was in the form of the takeaway treat bags. Instead of having them prepared ahead of time, we purchased several different types of candy and set up a “Tuck Hut”. This probably needs some explaining, but our family attends a family camp every summer, and there they have a “Tuck Hut” – which is essentially a canteen where you can buy candy and treats. Anyway, Isla’s favourite part of camp is always Tuck Time, so she asked if her glamping party could have a Tuck Hut. I thought this was a really cute and clever request on her part, so we decided to set up “Isla’s Tuck Hut” and her friends all got to go and pick candies for their treat bags before leaving.
Ok so this is really the one aspect of the party that was really disrupted due to the weather. Our main activities were going to be an outdoor nature walk combined with a scavenger hunt for items like flowers, leaves, twigs, pinecones, etc. We were also going to roast hotdogs and marshmallows and sing camp songs around the campfire for a portion of the evening, followed by a craft using the collected outdoor items.
I truly hope we get to try this theme again because there are SO MANY amazing camp-themed activities out there, but because we were in a crunch, we decided to watch a classic camping movie indoors instead. After getting permission from all of the parents for their kids to watch, the girls all settled on the floor, among the pillows and blankets, to watch an all-time favourite, The Parent Trap. While I wouldn’t normally incorporate a full-length film into a birthday party, it turned out to be the perfect activity for this group of girls on a rainy day, and with the addition of snacks, supper, cake, presents, and the Tuck Hut, there were more than enough activities to fill the time.
So there you have it! Our take on a “Glamping Birthday Party” for an eight year old and her friends! If you have any additional questions about how or what we did, please feel free to comment below! I would also love to know what you would add to this theme in the future? I truly do hope we get another chance to throw a party like this… and with three girls in the family, I have a feeling we just might!