My girlfriend, Amy, and I went to lunch today, and while there, we brainstormed ideas for her oldest son's birthday party this year. We came up with such a good idea, I just can't keep it to myself! It started out as a beach theme, since the party will be in July. We were throwing around ideas for a scavenger hunt of some sort, but after looking through the Oriental Trading Company catalog she'd brought along, we started thinking about a Camping theme, and then saw some bug jar craft kits.
That totally opened the floodgates, and ideas were just pouring out of my head. For the hunt, Amy will make up bug jars for all of the participants (like what is in the catalog), and get plastic bugs.
She will set up a campsite in her backyard, with things like a tent, a picnic basket, a bucket next to a campfire, etc. Then, in select locations, she will put piles of bugs and a picture of the next location to go to. Each child will be given a picture of a location, and they will go collect a bug for their jar, and next to the pile of bugs, there will be a picture of their next location. Hopefully, the kids will be running around all over the place, collecting bugs, and whoever finishes first will be the ultimate winner, but everyone will get a jar of bugs to keep, and a prize of some sort for participating. Then, for food, in addition to cake and ice cream, she could have hot dogs on a stick that she could precook, and put on a stick to let the kids hold over the fire for a few seconds to "cook" it, chips, s'mores, and roasted marshmallows. I think it's a fabulous idea!
We're also currently working on a craft idea, like a picture frame with nature stuff glued to it, that the kids put together. She's got woods behind her house, so they could go on a nature hike to look for the nature stuff. When all of the kids arrive, Amy intends to get a group picture with the campfire setting as a backdrop. She can print those pictures before the kids leave, and put it in their frames. Not too shabby, and relatively inexpensive.