Today we are celebrating my little boy’s second birthday. A day where he is no longer my baby, but now, a full fledged little boy who likes to chase lizards, play ball, and look out for all modes of transportation. While we spend this special day with our little guy for his first beignets at Cafe Du Monde and visit to the Louisiana Children’s Museum, I thought it would be fun to share how we celebrated at his second birthday party.
After Andrew’s first birthday bash, I swore to myself I would keep it small for his second. This year, the party was less involved and was more like a play date with a bonus! In fact, this concept would be perfect for a fun play date that can easily be altered to suit your needs!
After all of the fun Andrew had at our first family camping trip, there was no doubt that a Camp Andrew birthday party was the appropriate way to celebrate. The best part was that it didn’t take much time at all for me to plan because we already had all of the decor! The party pretty much planned itself and that took a huge load off my shoulders.
Creating Camp Andrew
Once I had the ideas in place, I set off to design invitations and printables. Instead of spending money on invites from a vendor, I bought some clip art online for $5.00, and Pam helped me come up with adorable invitations that were inspired by a summer camp postcard. From there, I used the graphics to design postcard thank you notes, favor tags, and labels in Photoshop. Because I had oodles of card stock leftover from last year’s birthday extravaganza, I was able to print off all of these items at no cost. We decided to keep the guest list small and only invited family and a few close friends; this kept us within budget and also was great because Andrew was not overwhelmed.
When it came to decorations, we didn’t have to do much. We already had plenty of lanterns, fishing lures, and other outdoorsy gear and those items were perfect for adding a special touch. Repurposed tin cans, a brown sheet, and wooden storage crates were great for adding a little something extra. Also, with the help of Pam & Photoshop, I was able to create the Camp Andrew banner for $5.00, thanks to an online special.
Because I am all about noting his milestones, I created a bulletin board where I tacked some prints I ordered off my phone so that our family could see how much he had grown in the last year. We also reused a chalkboard from last year’s party and listed his current stats and favorite things.
Back in April, after discovering how much Andrew loved camping, I decided to build him a simple A-Frame tent using this tutorial and has proven to be great for pretend play, whether indoors or out. I decided it would be perfect for “party pics” along with a faux “campfire” and adorable photo props for additional fun. The best part, though, is had the weather not cooperated (which, in the days prior, I was concerned with a tropical disturbance), we could have brought the mini tent inside and we could have made it work. Anyone else have fond memories of making a “tent” as a kid and playing? I know I do! If you were planning on throwing your own party, a regular tent could work, too!
Because we have a pool and it is August, we decided a swim party was the perfect way to keep the kids cool and give them something fun to do. We even named it “Lake I’mTurningTwo!” Also, what would camping be without some fun games? We set up some of our favorite camping games for both the adults and kids. The Bean Bag Toss & Ladder Ball were both big hits, as well as a scavenger hunt for the kids to discover the joy of nature. I created the scavenger hunt card with some help from Myndee, and the kids had a great time checking off all of the cool things they could find so that they could collect their prize at the end – a compass! I also provided camping themed color sheets and of course, the party favors were the biggest hit – some simple mini-lanterns! Sometimes, the simplest things are the most fun for our little people!
When it comes to camping, the menu pretty much planned itself. Hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and fruit were on the kids’ menu, while the adults had a variety of chicken sausages and pasta salad, all sourced at the wholesale club for under $100. We followed with lots of s’mores for dessert. Instead of doing traditional s’mores to avoid lighting a fire in the August heat and to keep it safe, I made Happy Camper Crunch (S’mores Snack Mix) and Dipped S’more Sandwiches for a fun spin on our favorite camping dessert along with a cake and cupcakes.
Camp Andrew = Happy Boy
Of course, the star of the show, Andrew, loved every minute of his party from “shwimming” in the pool with his family and friends and “campin” in his tent. There was no shortage of smiles from my little guy as he ran around our backyard with his cousins and friends in his adorable Camp Andrew shirt, swam in the pool, and noshed on some of his favorite foods – beans, chips, hot dogs, and cake. After his party, he was all smiles for the rest of the day. When we all gathered to sing Happy Birthday and he dug into his cake, we knew he was having a great day. That night, when we told him good night and asked if he had a good day, the giant hugs, “love you” and smiles were all we needed to know that he loved his party!
Everything you Need to Throw Your Own Camping Theme Birthday/Playdate:
Graphics – My Grafico
Banner – Vistaprint
Camp Andrew Tee – Design a Latte
Photo Props – Let’s Party NOLA
Cake, Cupcakes, Food – Sam’s Club
Cake Decorations – Haute Tart
Favors – Target Dollar Spot
Phone Pictures – Postal Pix
Printables – ME (with the help of other bloggers) (see bottom of post for a free scavenger hunt printable)