For her son Teddy's fifth birthday party, our editor-at-large, interior designer and fashion stylist Estee Stanley, threw a camping-themed bash right in her own backyard. Inspired by a recent family trip to Idaho that had been a hit in Teddy's book, Stanley decided to re-create the experience herself: "I'm not really a themer, but I thought it would be a lot of fun for all the kids. I wanted to make it feel like you're really outdoors and not in the city."
This meant that in addition to the tents Stanley made—which Teddy decorated with handprint designs cut from sponges and dipped in paint—there were authentic Pendleton blankets, little faux campfires, and real marshmallow-roasting using their outdoor fireplace. And since the kids were busy with camping-related activities like creating mini terrariums, the adults in attendance--parents and friends like Ashley Olsen--were able to actually enjoy themselves, too.
"Parents would like to be able to go to the party and relax a little bit, so I tried to keep the kids entertained as much as possible," says Stanley.
Each little camper walked away with a goodie bag—in the form of a Sketchers backpack—filled with hiking essentials like Little Ducks Organic Trailmix, Wave Bars, and Brownie Brittle. To help you prep your own kid-friendly camping excursion, we've picked out all the tools you'll need for survival.
|Heroic Chief Blanket, $228, Pendleton Woolen Mills||Pendleton Thomas Kay Camp Stool, $298, Urban Outfitters||Bucky Deer, From $13, Perpetual Kid|
|Birch Logs, From $53, Firewood||Grill-and-Go Camp Stove, $40, Barnes & Noble||Joshua Stripe King Sham Cover, $42, Pottery Barn|
DIY Tents: What You'll Need
|Canvas Drop Cloth, $11, The Home Depot||Deck Mate #8 Wood Screw, $10 (One Pound), The Home Depot||2" Dowel, $9, The Home Depot|
|Staplegun, $9, The Home Depot||Sure-Wood Forest Poplar Board, $7, The Home Depot||Acrylic Paint Set, $12, Utrecht|
1. Drill a hole about 8 inches from one end of four of the wooden slats. The hole should line up and be large enough to accept your nut.
2. Criss-cross two of the wooden slats, lining up the drilled holes. Add bolt and nut; repeat with the other two slats. Be sure to cross the slats at a reasonable distance to achieve the right height and width.
3. Drill holes towards the bottom (about an inch from the end) in each of the four end slats. Using wood screws, secure the remaining two poles between the two ends of your tent. These are support beams.
4. Place dowel in the "X" at the top of the front and the bottom.
5. Hang your drop cloth over the bar.
6. Use your staple gun to attach drop cloth to wooden slats at the bottom and along the sides to keep it from slipping off. For more creative, kid-friendly ideas, visit Dude Mom.
Photographs: Kenny Hurtado.