Famous. Last. Words. Just kidding folks 🙂 My son wanted to have a sleepover for his 10th birthday (in October) but we live in a tiny house so I said maybe he could have it early (in the summer) and have a campout in the backyard. Boy, did he like THAT idea because A. it meant her would have his birthday early and B. camping out is his favorite thing. Add a bunch of 8-10 year old boys and it is a recipe for fun…or disaster…I’m not sure which LOL! So if you are reading this blog post hoping to see a professionally photographed party you can stop right now. It was such chaos that I didn’t even dare to stop supervising the madhouse to take a picture until 8:30! Luckily I took a photo of my lovely S’mores bouquet before the yahoos arrived:
My son said to me “Mom, I hope you aren’t going to put that out until it is time for s’mores, otherwise we’ll just hog down all of the candy” straight from the mouths of babes. The S’more fixin’s went out at 8:30, that’s when I spotted my camera and thought “Oh no! I have not taken one picture of the party!”
I only took 2 photos that night…and I left my camera out in the rain…
BTW I put the marshmallows on barbecue skewers, they look great but are a bit short for roasting marshmallows. On the upside they were too short for the kids to stick them into the flames and make dangerous marshmallow torches with. Small favors.
We also made doughboys (AKA donuts on a stick) at the party. I bought 6 dowels at the lumber yard (smartly I realized that I did not want more than 6 kids around the fire trying to cook at once) and some refrigerated biscuit dough. I bought Grands biscuits by Pillsbury but any brand will work. The original seems to work best. Cut the one biscuit in half and stretch it out and wrap it around the end of the dowel and cook it over the campfire. Keep it in the heat but out of the flame. It is done when it puffs up and it sounds hollow when you tap on it. The full size grand biscuit will not cook, just use a half. Then roll the doughboy in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Yum!
I also came up with a Vegan/Kosher s’more. Roast a piece of banana over the fire and place it on a graham cracker that has been spread with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Top with another graham cracker.
Another fun activity to keep the campers entertained were homemade marshmallow shooters:
The idea came from the blog Come Together Kids. I used 12″ balloons and large plastic cups. Buy an extra package of balloons so you can repair the shooter if need be. I put out a bag of mini marshmallows and that was plenty, I had the kids re-use the ammo so I would not have a yard full of marshmallows to pick up (or for my dog and chickens to get sick eating LOL!) Here is a quick video on how to make them:
If you are still reading, thanks! I originally thought I’d let the boys stay up until 10 and then have them settle into their tents to chit-chat and read. (I also thought that the boys would be sitting around the campfire singing folk songs but that didn’t happen either!) but by about 6pm I realized that these boys will be going into the tents at 9. By the time the boys had all used the bathroom, brushed their teeth (hopefully?) and settled into their tents it was about 9:30. At 10 it started to rain…pour actually…and the tent was leaking! Camping in the rain, why that’s my specialty. I tarped the tents and got the boys settled, again. All in all the boys were asleep around 1am.
My son and I silkscreened T-shirts for the guests. All the boys made it though the night and I did too! They all had a blast and they were all good kids but If I told you that having a campout party was a piece of cake I’d be lying. I’m keeping it real, folks.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the quest list was small compared to the other birthday parties. Jackson invited 9 boys in his grade. It being summer I was not sure if they would all make it to the party. I invited siblings to come over for a cookout supper and smore’s. I wanted to have a little party favor for them when they left and made these, I got the idea from girl scout swaps:
I made a wood grain stamp with my Stampmaker and used it to stamp on tags, then stamp a little tent and the word thanks. The flashlight pin was made from golf tees cut short and painted, then I glued on a gold pony bead (for the light) and scrap of funfoam for the switch and a pin back so it could be worn.
So, if you are STILL reading you are probably thinking about throwing your own backyard campout. Here are some tips and friendly advice:
- Keep the party small. 6 kids is a good amount. Put 3 each in a tent and they might get to sleep before midnight. Maybe.
- If by some lapse of reason you decide to invite more kids enlist some other moms to help. Maybe have a few organized games to keep the kids from running wild.
- Get emergency contact info from every parent before the day of the campout. Find out if anyone is on medication, needs an inhaler or has any food allergies.
- Also I asked that pocket knives and video games be left at home.
- Don’t forget the prefect invitation! I used free tourist maps to make envelopes and the printable Backyard Party Campout kit for the interactive invitation.
Well, that’s how you host a backyard campout sleepover. And I lived to tell about it…I think I should have made myself a T-shirt too, ha ha! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!