If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably saw little sneak peeks of Ethan’s 5th birthday party decor in posts and Instastories! Birthday party over the weekend was a success! Last year’s theme was dinosaurs and this year’s theme was camping/hiking/adventure/the great outdoors/all of the above! I like to do things more uniquely (I blame it on the only child syndrome) so I thought getting his friends together for a hike at his favorite hiking spot would be special and different. It’s always a gamble with a winter birthday but we sure lucked out! Weather was perfect! 75 degrees of beautiful sunshine!
As guests arrived at the trailhead, Ethan passed out little scavenger hunt snack bags to his buddies. This simple DIY project was created using a regular home printer and small kraft bags. You can certainly use colored bags to match party colors. I created the design/list with a design software program, loaded the paper bag one at a time, and sent it to my printer. I loved the little mountain graphic so much that I decided to make it his party “logo” and used it throughout the party decor. A great way to create visual cohesion!
The hike portion of his party was a little crazy with 15 kids, of which 8 were 4/5 year olds running WAY ahead of the group! Then you had the “me-do-it” two-year-olds wanting to walk the trail but at half the older kids’ pace. Fortunately, we all hiked the canyon part of the trail together and all the kids did great scaling the steep canyons! At the very top is a viewpoint overlooking a lagoon and ocean views in the distance. Totally worth the hike up! The kids LOVED it!
After the hike, we headed to the party space half a mile away for some pizza, small bites, and of course cupcakes! In a previous post, I shared about a DIY doormat I created to greet our arriving guests. Welcome happy campers!
The majority of the party design and decor was incorporated in the party space, which was the perfect size and layout for our group! The kids played in the main party room while the parents had the option of also hanging out in the adjacent lounge area.
As with all of my parties, I start my planning with a focal piece (aka the main party table). I was inspired by super cute camping style wrapping paper by Averie Lane that I spotted at a local makers market. I knew framing these sheets would help “fill” the table in both directions, horizontally and vertically. When I saw the black and white buffalo check pattern, I fell in love with it! It is on trend and immediately incorporated that pattern into the design palette. The party colors were: black, white, various shades of green, and brown.
Party planning can get expensive so if you can get some stuff for free, dooooo it! For example, in December when we bought our Christmas tree, I picked up leftover cut tree slices in various shapes and sizes. On our frequent neighborhood walks, I gathered pinecones. All of these were great pieces that brought a nature element to the party decor!
One of my crafting goals this year was to learn how to make and decorate with royal icing. I don’t normally make cookies without a reason so this was the perfect (and also a little risky) opportunity to try it! Luckily, they turned out pretty good! I used Wilton’s Moss Green gel food coloring for the #5 cookies. With leftover royal icing, I added little dots which created a fun textural look. To carry the buffalo check pattern, I painted horizontal and vertical stripes using Wilton’s Black gel food coloring mixed with vanilla extract. Pretty and tasty cookies! Check that one off my crafting bucket list!
For the kids’ table, I kept the decor simple because A) the kids will undoubtedly make a mess within 7.32 seconds of sitting down and B) we would be doing a craft later and didn’t want to crowd the table space. I had the light bulb idea of having my printer print animal tracks on a table runner (cut from a $1.50 Michaels’ kraft paper roll) but alas, I am just full of great ideas that just aren’t possible. Apparently my printer can only print sheets, not rolls. LAME. Well, I ain’t letting that stop me in my tracks (ha!), so I grabbed a Sharpie and black markers and colored in my own animal footprints! Take that HP Officejet printer!
Sometimes the simplest decor pieces are made with stuff already found at home! I saw these cute paper tents on Pinterest and with the help of my handy hot glue gun, I glued a piece of scrapbook paper to trimmed bamboo skewers. So simple and totally fits the theme!
I have two Tolsby frames from Ikea that is seen used all the time for events and weddings. It’s a great way to provide information like menu items or table numbers and pull in theme elements. In this case, I didn’t have anything important to share with the guests. They are kids 5 years old and under after all! And they can’t even read! Ha! I used the frames as a way to pull in theme colors and another excuse to repeat the logo.
Last but not least, the party favors! I try to focus on this piece a lot for kid parties primarily because it’s very common to get goodie bags with party store items that I end up throwing away after a month. Confession: I have thrown away some favors right after getting home from the party. T-shirt party favors is actually the first thing that popped to mind for Ethan’s party. I think it’s because it’s all I remember from going to tons of summer camps as a kid. Shirts are from Jiffyshirts.com, which has a great selection, the best pricing, and fast shipping! I will definitely use them again. My Silhouette CAMEO cut out the decals which I then ironed onto the shirts.
While the kids didn’t wear these during the party despite my husband’s request, we did pass these out as kids headed out from the party. Again, I reused the mountain logo with a little modification and added “Camp Ethan” in very tiny font on the side of the mountain. I’m hoping these will last for awhile until the kids outgrown them!
All in all, this might be my favorite birthday party I’ve thrown for my kids. Loved being outdoor with Ethan and his buddies! Happy 5th Birthday E!! We can’t wait to see all the awesome things you do this year!