backyard camping party ideas

Ideas for a Fun Backyard Camping Party

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and bring the family together. And what better way to do that than with a backyard camping party? Whether it’s for quality family time or you’re planning a backyard birthday bash, you can’t go wrong with a camping-themed party.

You can even make it an overnight event! Here at Great Wolf Lodge, we know what it takes to get the family together for a good time and a backyard camping-themed party can’t be overlooked! Check out the post below for camping party ideas, along with a few pro tips and tricks.

5 Easy Camping Party Ideas the Whole Family Will Enjoy

Did Someone Say S’mores?

Ideas for a Fun Backyard Camping Party

You can’t have a camping themed party without some food! Create some mouth-watering S’mores and entertaining activities the whole pack will enjoy.

Want the ease of someone else party planning? Easily book a party during your trip to our backyard.  In the meantime, here’s a few of our favorite recipes for you to try out:

The Elvis S’more

Peanut Butter S’more

Samoa S’more

Chocolate Caramel S’more

Lemon Meringue Pie S’more

Grasshopper S’more

Want even more ideas?  Have the kids try some of these s’more recipes from their favorite Great Wolf Lodge characters!

s’mores recipe ideas for camping themed party

Now that you’ve seen some of our party favorites, make one to enjoy or create a delicious idea of your own. Don’t forget to snap a picture before you dig in. Have your mom or dad help you upload it to Instagram with the tag #GWLSmores for a chance to be featured on our profile.

Backyard Paw Print Twister


Nothing says party like turning your grass into a giant Twister Board. All you need is washable contractor marking spray paint (4 – colors) and a paw-print stencil you can make out of a cardboard box.

This is a great way to get kids moving outside and a fun DIY. Here’s how to set it up.

1. Print out this stencil and trace it onto a piece of cardboard. Cut out the paw with scissors or a box cutter.
2. Choose four colors of washable lawn spray paint. Using the stencil, create four lines of six paws.
3. Wait for it to dry, then you’re ready to play! Download the free “Twister Spinner Game” app on your phone if you don’t have the game at home.

spraying paws outside
blue pawprint
kids playing great wolf lodge twister

Shadow Puppet Performance

fun camping themed party shadow puppets

Just because you’re throwing a camping party doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time outside. While the family’s fireside or inside getting cozy, take advantage of the lighting and create some awesome shadow puppets from our simple print outs.

After you print, just cut out the shapes and glue them to popsicle sticks. Then string up a sheet and backlight it with a lamp or flashlights. Bonus points for whoever makes up the best story to go along with their puppet!

DIY Lanterns

diy camping themed camp fire lantern

Have some extra glow sticks for the camping party? Make great use of them with this super easy craft. Just insert the glow sticks into glass jars that have been cleaned and their labels removed. Fill the glass jars to just below their rims with water, put their lids back on and you’re done! Download the PDF here.

StarGaze with Printable Constellation Cards

Ideas for a Fun Backyard Camping Party

Just before bedtime, after the fire’s been put out, is the perfect time to search for constellations. Print and cut out the cards, then use them as a guide to easily find constellations in the night sky.  Grab all six cards here.

Want another fun idea? Using a hole punch, punch out the circles on the constellation cards. Hold a card up to a flashlight and shine the light through the holes. The constellation will appear on the wall. You can even ask family members to guess which constellation you are projecting.

If you’re throwing a backyard camping party with the kids, then these five ideas will be all that’s needed for a night of family fun.  If it’s a backyard camping birthday party you’re after though, there’s a few more party decorations and ideas you can add to the mix for the ultimate birthday celebration.

Backyard Camping Birthday Party Ideas

girl with balloons at the birthday party

Nothing speaks to the outdoors quite like a backyard camping themed birthday party.  Of course, transforming backyards into a campground is no small feat.  Luckily, we’re here to help you out!

Aside from a few standard birthday party decorations such as balloons and a pinata, there are a few things you can do to transform your backyard into the ultimate campsite. Let’s take a look at a few examples for the ultimate backyard camping experience.

(Don’t feel like putting this all together yourself?  Let us handle it for you!  Book your next family escape at the lodge and we’ll give you a celebration that will have your kids howling!)

DIY Camping Themed Birthday Party Invitations

camping birthday party invitations for guests

No birthday party is complete without an invitation.  Get the kids involved and let them create their own with these DIY camping tent invitations.  Just print out the PDF, grab some glue and scissors, and you’re off to the races!

Fire Pit S’mores Birthday Party Cake

campfire s’mores birthday party cake

If a camping themed party is what you’re seeking, then a Fire Pit S’mores birthday cake is what you need.  A campfire in desert form, the kids will love getting their hands on this tasty treat.

Made with Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, graham crackers, marshmallows, cookies ‘n cream, and some candles for the campfire flames, this camping themed party cake will be a hit to all of the kids.

Parents be warned though, there’s a 60 minute prep time that goes into this cake, but once it’s done, you’ll realize it was totally worth it.

Backyard Scavenger Hunts

Ideas for a Fun Backyard Camping Party

A camping themed birthday party isn’t complete without some games, and what’s better than having the kids embark on a scavenger hunt?  With a camping themed scavenger hunt for the backyard, the kids will have to find all the items on the checklist such as rocks, pinecones, sleeping bags, tents and more.

Want to kick it up a notch at the party?  Have the kids play when it starts to get dark out and have them use flashlights to find the items!

Build a DIY Tent

You can’t have a camping themed party without a tent.  To make this activity a little more fun than just setting up a regular ‘ol tent, why not let the kids build their own in the backyard?

This is a fun activity both boys and girls will love where they can use their imagination to decorate the outside of the tent using permanent markers.  You can check out a great guide on how to do that here.

If weather doesn’t permit, you can always take the camping party inside and have the kids make a tent in their bedroom.  Plus, there’s fewer materials needed for this one!  Some pillows, sheets, a couple of chairs and a few other small items and you’re good to go.  The children can even create their own signs at the party to hang up outside of the tent.  We show you how in this post.

diy camping birthday party teepee tent

Camping Themed Party Food and Drinks

You can’t have a camping birthday party with just a cake and some s’mores.  Here’s a few of our favorite party favors:

Campfire Cupcakes

birthday cupcake from violet

Every birthday party needs some cupcakes.  These campfire inspired chocolate cupcakes are not only delicious, but they only require 20 minutes of prep time.  With campfire inspired icing, pretzel rods for wood, and tiny marshmallows to top it off, we have a good feeling these won’t last long on the dessert table.

Trail Mix Bar

Dried fruit and nuts trail mix with almonds, raisins, seeds and apples in a wooden bowl

Let the kids go wild at the birthday party by creating their own trail mix concoctions.  Create a trail mix bar with all sorts of options to choose from such as M&M’s, pretzels, dried blueberries, popcorn, gummy worms, and more.

Stuffed Campfire Burger

It’s not really a camping party if there aren’t burgers involved.  Plus, if you ever plan on getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, you’ll probably want to cut down on the sweets just a little bit!

This camping themed burger is the perfect dinner solution for everyone attending the birthday party.  This Stuffed Campfire Burger wraps two patties of beef and bacon goodness around cheddar cheese, with more bacon thrown in for good measure.  The campers will most likely need a rest after eating this tasty goodness.  Learn the secrets of how to make it here.

Camping Themed Party Games

The last thing we need for the ultimate camping birthday party are some games to keep the kids entertained.  Aside from the scavenger hunt mentioned above, here are a few classics to try out at the party:

Sleeping Bag Race

camping party sleeping bag race

Similar to the classic potato sack race but with sleeping bags instead, split the kids up into teams for a relay race and let the competition begin.  Whoever jumps to the finish line the fastest wins!

Mosquito Bites

mosquito bites party game

This game is usually a party favorite amongst the campers.  Using a sheet of red-dot stickers, pick one or two words that the kids will say often such as “camping”, “birthday”, or “tent”, and make those words forbidden for one hour.

If any boy or girl at the party is heard saying the forbidden word during that hour, they get a “mosquito bite” in the form of a red-dot sticker placed on them.  The player with the fewest mosquito bites wins!

Magnet Fishing

birthday party magnet fishing game

Camping trips aren’t complete without adding in a bit of fishing to the mix.  Backyard birthday parties can put their own spin on this by using paper cutouts in the form of a fish.  To play, make the fish different colors and attach a paper clip to each fish.

To make the fishing rods, get some sticks and tie some string around them.  Then attach a magnet to the end of the string.  Place the fish in a baby pool or something similar and let the kids try their luck at catching a fish.

Have a basket of toys as prizes with a color attached to each prize.  Whatever color fish the kids catch, they get to pick a prize out of the basket of the same color.


Whether it’s a backyard camping party with family members or a camping themed birthday celebration, hopefully now you have plenty of ideas for a fun filled experience.

At Great Wolf Lodge, we create family traditions, one family at a time. These days, we’re looking to take that mission out of the lodge and into your home. Make sure to check back in with us again soon to learn about more at-home activities the whole family will enjoy!

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