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Outdoor / forest birthday party for 9 year old - ideas?(13 Posts)
My DD would like to celebrate her 9th birthday in the woods. She doesn't want any entertainer or too much organisation. Something quite freestyle e.g. scavenger hunt, den building. I'm a little apprehensive (mainly due to having to be responsible for other people's children in the woods) and haven't agreed yet.
Has anyone done something like this? Could you advise or share your experience? What number of children would be the max, what activities are good, how many supervising adults etc etc.
What skills do you / other adults that will be supervising have?
Is there not a local forest school you could contact that could run this for you? My son has been to similar parties.. Even in driving rain....and loved them
I did one a number of years ago. We did bug hunting, I got some little boxes from one of the catalogue sites (yellow moon? But don't know if it still exists) which they decorated. Collected bugs in these and then released but they had the box to take home. They collected leaves/ twigs etc to make natural art butterfly. Don't remember if they did anything else, know we had a picnic back at home. This was before forest school was common so kids hadn't done this stuff before but they had a good time.
Go somewhere you are familiar with.
Keep the numbers smallish. I'd take up to one car load of kids per adult.
Set up HQ (ie just a location where an adult will stay) at the beginning. Tell kids the boundaries they can go to (e.g. Not beyond that fence, etc). At 9 that could be a widish area, but you know the group/location so make a sensible decision. Have a way to call them back to HQ - potentially a whistle. Practise the recall every so often, and reward with food (yes yes like a dog...).
Good activities (if they don't just work these out for themselves) are
- Hide & seek
- Capture the flag
- Den building
- Fire & marshmallows - if location is suitable
- Playing in stream, particularly anything involving damming stream...
- Nerf guns or similar
Scavenger hunt would also work, but I reckon you don't need anything more organised.
You could also do something crafty - make bows & arrows or make dream catchers.
(At 9, my kids & friends would have easily a km+ range of freedom, in a familiar location and where the group dynamic is known. They would free play for an hour at a time easily.)
And in case I sound like a nutter - the fire would be at HQ and if near beach etc the standing rule is no going in sea without adult :-)
What time of year?
Do you have some woods you could use?
Do you have any experience in this kind of thing?
I’d base it on den building and a treasure hunt based on tracking symbols, then a picnic with hot chocolate. I might think about if I had enough adults to safely make hot dogs and s’mores on a fire. I’d really like to do some campfire cooking, but that would depend on where I was and if I was allowed to make a fire.
Great tips. There isn't a forest school here (I'm not in the UK; a quick search on Google showed that in the UK there are quite a lot of party organisers who do this but I guess it hasn't yet become a thing here). It's a pity as we have a beautiful forest surrounding the city.
I am nervous about letting the kids out of sight in the woods, when they are not my children! Am I exaggerating to want enough adults to keep visual tabs on every child?
Den building and nature art are good as they keep the kids more or less in one place. :D I find hide and seek a bit more stressful for the above mentioned reason. As for my own skills I'm quite good at dens and art. I couldn't whittle a stick though or identify animal tracks!
Time of year is early October. It's possible it could be rained off but it's often lovely and we both love autumn in the woods. No, I have no experience. Child already asked for it last year but I chickened out! She's really set on a woodland adventure.
Kids will keep going through rain - unless it's relentless and miserably cold too.
If you want to keep the kids a bit more 'organised', is there a manageable hike with a destination you could do instead (hill with picnic at top, hike to lake or beach)?
Could you do a ‘camp’ theme? Big sign as they arrive, badges for everyone etc. Maybe pre-lay a trail to follow and position some adults so they’re always in view? Take some
Big canes they can lash together at top and drape dust sheets or similar to make teepee tents to eat in?
Loving the hike idea and the pre-laid trail. This is all great. (And I'm warming to the idea with your help.)