Man vs. Wild Birthday Party
-or- An Afternoon Spent Rolling Around on the Ground and Eating Beef Jerky
When birthday party time rolls around, we try to pick something the kids are really into that year and turn it into a theme. We’ve done Ewoks, Cars , and Carnivals. This year, it was Bear Grylls and Man vs. Wild.
This party was a bit of a challenge. It’s fairly unconventional and there wasn’t a lot on the internet to look to for inspiration. We wanted to keep it fun for the kids and have a slight bit of wildness to it. Now I joke that I’m one of those types who appreciates the “idea” of nature, so you can imagine, thinking up survival games would be a, ahem, challenge. So I headed to our public library.
There, I met up with my friend, and librarian extraordinaire, Jean. She loaded me up with all sorts of helpful books.
After flipping through, Dave and I came up with a party plan. Here’s what we did—hopefully, this will give you a few ideas should you want to throw a Man or Woman vs Wild party of your own one day:
Since we were outside, we didn’t need much in the way of decoration. We lined a picnic table with brown kraft paper and then used faux fur remnants to put favors on. Party favors included: gummy worms, glow in the dark snakes, and nylon drawstring bags. Woodsy snacks were presented in mason jars and surrounded by moss.
Guests had to parachute the birthday boy safely into the drop zone. The drop zone was a large circle made of sticks. As simple as this activity was, the kids had an excellent time playing with the parachute guy.
After the parachute game, the kids received a lesson in tucking and rolling. Everyone got a turn.
In order to survive in the wild, one needs to be resourceful. Guest were told to scavenge for materials that could be useful later: nylon drawstring bags (purchased from an arts and crafts store), trash bags, sticks and length of string. After finding the materials, the kids hiked through the woods to find special leaves that contained gummy worms. Here’s a link to what inspired the leaf activity.
Bow and arrow making. After a brief lesson in knot tying and bow making, the kids made their own bows and arrows out of sticks and string. Not sure who enjoyed this one more—the kids or the dads. Once everyone had a bow and arrow, we went caribou hunting.
Shelter and Rescue. The kids learned how to fashion a makeshift shelter out of a garbage bag and practiced using a mirror to signal a plane.
After being rescued, the survivors headed back to the foraging station for cupcakes. Yum!
I’d say this was one of the best parties we’ve thrown. It was simple, didn’t require a ton of prep and it was fairly inexpensive. Most importantly though, is that the kids and parents seemed to enjoy themselves. I mean, what’s not to love about running around in the woods, rolling around on the ground and eating cupcakes? Truly.