Whew!  What a week I’ve had!  Yesterday was my son’s 9th birthday and he asked to have a backyard campout with a few of his friends.  Originally, I planned to keep it very simple, but three days before, decided that I should put a little effort into making it feel like an actual campout.  And so, let the craziness begin!  It took me three full days of frantic shopping, crafting and cleaning, but I pulled it off!

Tidbits & Twine Backyard Birthday Campout


It all started about four weeks ago when I ordered some invitations off of Etsy (this is the one and only thing I planned in advance!).  I chose this particular design because it included a trail map that could be customized for the party so that the guests could see exactly what we were going to do.

Tidbits & Twine Campout Invitation


Instead of mailing them, we decided to hand-deliver them along with a snack bag of s’mores, which consisted of Golden Grahams, mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.

Tidbits & Twine Campout Invitation with Smore Bag


For other party printables, I found this fantastic {free} download for Camping Party Printables from Printabelle via Catch My Party.  It’s awesome and includes signage, food cards, cupcake toppers, bottle wrappers and more!  Click here to download.

Tidbits & Twine Free Camping Printable


I also created several trail marker signs using a wooden fence board cut into thirds hammered to a wooden stake.  The sign at the front door led guests into the house for Camper Registration.

Tidbits & Twine Camper Registration

And I was so lucky that this owl landed on the sign just in time for me to snap a photo!

Tidbits & Twine Camper Registration 2

Just kidding – it’s fake!


Once the kids arrived, we took them to a local miniature golf place and let them golf and play arcade games for a few hours.  We had a BBQ when we returned home, followed by a neighborhood trail map scavenger hunt.  For the scavenger hunt, I hid colored shapes and prizes at different locations around our court (with the homeowners’ permissions, of course!).  I’ll post more about the scavenger hunt at another time.   After the scavenger hunt, we had a pinata and a silly string fight, and then it was time for the dessert table.

Tidbits & Twine Backyard Campout 3


For the table decorations, I used just a simple white tablecloth with a piece of burlap over it (I already had the burlap since I plan to use it in my guest room).  I then used extra burlap to make the banner that hung above the table.  I also added the menu cards using pinecones glued to cardboard (for stability), with moss and sticks.  Lastly, I added a length of burlap around a mason jar and created a handle to make a lantern out of it.

For food, the dessert table included a s’more station…

Tidbits & Twine S'more Station


…strawberries on a log and popcorn…

Tidbits & Twine Strawberries on a Log


…worms in dirt (pudding with Oreo crumbles on top and gummy worms) and Red Vine lassos…

Tidbits & Twine Worms in Dirt


…and a trail mix station.  I used my two-tier basket to hold the trail mix items on the bottom and miscellaneous party toys on the top (in this case, silly string, glow bracelets and punch balloons).

Tidbits & Twine Trail Mix and Party Station

Tidbits & Twine Trail Mix and Party Station 1


We set up tents on the lawn and my wonderful husband, who is such a good sport, slept outside in a small tent next to the kids.

Tidbits & Twine Backyard Campout


Instead of a birthday cake (which we did on his actual birthday), we lit giant marshmallows on fire and sang Happy Birthday while they burned.  And then began the process of trying to get all of the boys to go to bed.  I’m sure you can imagine how well that went…. :)  The next morning, we made pancakes and my son got a special “9” pancake for his birthday.


When the kids left in the morning, they each got a knapsack that was a red bandana full of goodies that was wrapped up and tied to a stick.  I used the Printabelle cupcake toppers as thank you tags tied to the bandana and wrote “Thank You for Coming” on the back.

Tidbits & Twine Goodie Sack

Tidbits & Twine Goodie Sacks


I think everyone had a great time, but I am exhausted!  Now it’s time to gear up for the first day of school tomorrow!

Tidbits & Twine Backyard Campout Birthday Party




Tidbits&Twine - Signature





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  1. I am looking to do a party very similar to this for my seven-year-old son. I was wondering if you could email me information about the scavenger hunt you did. I need some ideas of how to do this. If you could email I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks and have a blessed day.

  2. I love these ideas for outdoor parties. What great ideas. These make me want to be ten again and camp out in my backyard!! On my way to share right now.

  3. I just love your site, and I am so excited to , create this birthday theme for mt 9 year sons big day. I am having a very hard time finding the invites that can be created with a map etc . If you could help, that would be terrific.

    Thank you, keep up the greatness

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Tammy,

      Thank you so much! You’ve probably seen in the comments that I’ve been asked a few times about the invitations and I haven’t shared the source, but I should probably address this issue for future reference. I *LOVE* Etsy and am happy to support the many talented and creative vendors that I’ve worked with. If you’ve looked at any of my other posts, I love giving shout-outs to vendors because I do truly want to support small businesses. In this case, though, I didn’t list the vendor because I didn’t have a great experience and can’t in good conscience refer other people to purchase these invites, especially when there are so many other great vendors out there! I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for. If your heart is set on these particular invites, keeps searching – they are out there! As an alternative, you might try this vendor who has a similar camping invite that includes a map: https://www.etsy.com/listing/191957625/camping-badges-rustic-campground-first?ref=sc_2&plkey=8d29840ca6ca95dd322a51f67ddd89050411d27d%3A191957625&ga_search_query=custom+camping+birthday+invitation&ga_page=4&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

      Good luck with the party!

  4. Hi,
    I love your outdoor camping party, this is exactly what my son wants for his birthday. Can you please send me the link for the invitations aswell.
    Thanks in advance

  5. Could you send me the link to the invitations as well?
    So cute!

  6. So sorry, hit reply to quickly. Do you happen to have the link to the Etsy store that sells the invitation you used. I hope you see this, I didn’t realize this party happened last year.

    Thank you so much.

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Catherine – Thank you so much for your kind comments! It sounds like you have a fun event ahead of you! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that I received your messages. I’m away right now but will look up the link and send it to you this evening.

    2. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      I just emailed the info to you!


  7. Thanks so much for sharing. My oldest daughter is turning 10 and we are doing the same type of party. A trip to the local mini golf course and then a sleepover at home. I really like the invitations you used! I couldn’t quite figure out how to include the golf course and I think the “field trip” idea is so clever- should have thought of that since I teach! :) With only a handful of girls attending, we are making t-shirts and boxes of smores to deliver to them. PS- your photos are lovely.

    Thanks so much for sharing,

  8. Love this! Thanks for the ideas! Did you give the bandana/stick to the kids when they left as a goodie bag?

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Shelley – Yes, I kept them by the door and handed them out as the kids left. :)

  9. What a fun party. I don’t know of any 9 year boy that wouldn’t like this. I’m sure you are exhausted. I’d love to share this on my facebook page tomorrow!

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Dawn – I haven’t quite caught up on my sleep but we had fun so it was worth it. Thanks so much for leaving a comment and for sharing on your page!

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