Camp Andrew: A Backyard Summer Birthday Party

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Of course there was much more to this party than just food! Since there were so many kids attending and since we were outdoors, lots of fun activities were in order. My always-brilliant friend Amanda suggested an obstacle course, and I loved the idea! I wanted to keep it cheap, versatile, and simple, since most of the kids were fairly young. We made a sort of tunnel from foam noodles in weighted buckets, used play tubes we already had in our playroom, made a couple of balance beams, put out some hula hoops, and used the little basketball goal from our playroom. We were also going to have a bowl of water balloons at the end but Andrew bombed them all in approximately 30 seconds. Not so much with the sharing sometimes. (And just in case you were wondering, I agonized over what to name the course for days. Nothing that sounded good made sense and vice versa, but as usual, The Office came to the rescue with the Michael Scott Rabies Fun Run. Bam.)

Fun Run

We also wanted to do a fishin’ pond (just a kiddie pool with bath toys) but as the day went on, it became a plain old swimming pool, and Andrew kept calling it the “water hole”. Haha! (Side note: Our yard might as well be the desert. We need rain!)

Fishin' Pond

I’d say the kids enjoyed themselves.

Fun collage

Caroline celebrated in true Hoosier style and played some corn hole. Too cute!

Corn hole

S'mores platter

As the sun started to go down, a bunch of the kids reminded me of the s’mores platters that had been sitting inside taunting them all evening. I quickly brought them outside and they got to work. I wanted to make these s’mores extra-fabulous, so I went for homemade marshmallows (vanilla bean and salted caramel varieties), homemade graham crackers, assorted chocolate, sliced strawberries, peanut butter and hazelnut spread. Aaand, we’ve definitely found what I’ll be serving for dessert for basically the rest of the summer. It was so fun trying different flavor combinations.

Eating a s'more

S'mores collage

Raspberry chocolate squares make s’mores that are out of this world. Try it ASAP. I’m not kidding.

mason jar lights

You know I couldn’t throw a party with out somehow involving mason jars! I made some mason jar lanterns to help light up the area when it began to get dark. I loved the way they turned out. They added a nice ambience and were so easy to make. We bought a few trellises and I painted them with leftover paint in the garage to make a nice backdrop for the table.

Trail mix

As guests left, we had a basket of “trail mix” to-go bags. I use the term trail mix loosely here, because what I really mean is caramel corn mixed with candy-coated chocolates, honey-roasted peanuts and raisins. Not exactly a healthy trail snack...more like a drug with addictive properties. You’ve been warned.

Blowing out the candle

All in all, my buddy had a totally fabulous time at the party. After everyone had left and just family was left sitting around the fire pit, he said, “Mom, thanks for the party. I just love my birthday.” Seriously, this kid melts my heart every day. I feel unbelievably lucky to have him in my life. And to make a perfect end to his perfect day, he, Ben, and Uncle Steve camped out in the tent that night...and I got the king-size bed all to myself :)

This post is part of the BlogHer Summer Entertaining series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Home Depot and BlogHer.

Do you have any great birthday party ideas for kids? Share them in the comments below.

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