Real Party – Woodland Explorer Party

Real Party – Woodland Explorer Party

This week we’re excited to share a lovely woodland themed party from Jessica at The Woodland Wife. Here’s what Jessica has to say about her daughter’s 4th birthday party!

We have never thrown our little girl a birthday party for friends before, choosing to keep things really small with just family. It has always been so lovely doing that, however this year, for her FOURTH birthday, our little girl made it VERY clear that she wanted a party with all of her friends there! So, ‘The Woodland Explorer’ theme was born and as she is a Summer Solstice baby, we were able to plan for an outdoor affair… with the hope of limited rain!

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The main area I always like to focus on for birthdays is ‘the cake’, so this was something I started planning well in advance. All the other bits (the set up, the games and the food etc) I realised if I got them planned and ready ahead of time, there would be no ‘last minute’ panics there either!

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The week before the party, the UK heatwave hit, and although we live in the middle of the woods and have plenty of shelter from the sun under the trees, our garden faces South, and with absolutely no shade, apart from late in the afternoon from the oak tree I set about thinking of ideas to find shade. I sourced a lovely vintage looking scout tent from eBay and from there the explorer party really began to take shape.

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The next hurdle I faced was where to sit 17 children; I ideally wanted to keep everyone outside as much as possible, so I drew up some plans and headed to my husband’s workshop and asked him to make me two picnic benches that would sit against the length of the tent, against one of the walls. The week of the party was here, the weather was set to break and the sun would make way for rain… not ideal, but rain has never put myself or my daughter off being outside, the concern really was putting other children off staying outside!!

The morning of the party, the rain came, however, I set to work setting up the ‘Treasure Hunt’ in the woods and decorating the tent and tables, as well as putting out the party bags and balloons. During the afternoon, the rain stopped and it was a beautifully light, dry and incredibly happy day.

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Woodland Explorer Feast

No children’s party would be complete without a feast to feed the party girl and her friends; taking inspiration from the parties my mum used to throw for me and my sisters, I set about creating simple food, but with lots of ‘Explorer’ inspired tableware!

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The tables we made for the party were ideal for a child’s party, as they could all sit together and with the craft table turned into a table covered with party food on some really great plastic plates and plastic jugs full of squash, the feasting could begin. The Explorer feast tables were laid out with some really fun paper plates all sticking with the ‘wild explorer’ theme, each place had a fun woodland party hats, as well as party blowers!

Party Games

I created The ‘Woodland Trail Treasure Hunt’ as the first game for the children to play. The ‘Fairy Path’ in our woods which is lined by ‘Fairy Houses’, would be ideal, long and magical enough to keep 2-6-year-olds happy, but short enough for them not to start complaining! I designed a Treasure Hunt with 6 simple, black icons, each icon appeared on a ‘Woodland Explorer’ clipboard with a twig pencil and checkboxes, so that when they saw each sign on the walk, they could check each one off. The signs, I printed and laminated and hung from trees to grab their attention and keep their focus.

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At the end of the woodland trail, tied up and hanging from trees were brown paper bags with a little craft project inside for them all to take part in as the next part of the party.

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Once all the children returned from the ‘Woodland Trail Treasure Hunt’, half the tent was set up as a ‘craft area’, for them to make as much mess as they wanted! The craft project I created was ‘Make, Paint & Decorate a Fairy Door Craft Project’. The whole idea was for them to feel inspired by the ‘Fairies in the woods’ and to then create their own Fairy Door. I designed a very simple pack and designed the label to match the clipboard artwork. Each kit was in bits so that they could decorate and then assemble the doors themselves. I set up bottles of paint with pallets, plenty of paint brushes, glitter glue as well as lots of little trays of embellishments for their creations.

The whole idea of the day was to throw a wonderful party, but we didn’t want anything too rigid, as part of the fun was just watching the children enjoy the setting and their surroundings, so herding them off to games felt a little too restrictive. The Woodland Trail and the Craft Project were so lovely to watch as it was all very much at each child’s pace, however, as the afternoon wore on, it was time to play ‘Pass the Parcel’.

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I didn’t load the parcel up with sweets, as I always feel it ends up as a game where little ones get totally loaded up on sugar and half an hour later, they crash and things descend into chaos, SO, I found myself a ‘Pass the Parcel Kit’ full of fun little prizes for each layer, with one bigger toy at the end for the winner. Another hour of fun passed and we rallied the troops for a go on a Rainbow Pinata!

Party Bags

The week before the party, myself and my daughter set about putting the party bags together. I explained to her that these bags were a personal “Thank you” from her to all her friends for coming to help her celebrate her party, and she really did seem to enjoy putting each one together, making sure that each bag had each item in. I often feel that party bags are opened and the bits inside then discarded and eventually end up as landfill, so we chose some items together that she seemed to think her friends would like to keep! They included a Rainbow Pencil, a Flump Marshmallow, a Glitter Hi-bounce Ball, a GIANT balloon, Party Bubbles and a woodland pencil. Each item was dropped into a brown paper bag and sealed, I then tied coloured labels to each one to make them a little more colourful!

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Once all the games were played, the children started to get a little ‘wired’ and things started to unwind, so the cake was brought out, “Happy Birthday” was sung to my gorgeous girl, and as each person left, the day was over… and another small family party was to follow the very next day. You can read the full post and more photos on The Woodland Wife.

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