What better way to celebrate your child’s graduation from middle school than with a backyard camp out! Invite her best friends over for a fun filled night of campfire favorites such as gooey s’mores or grilled hot dogs, scary ghost stories, and nature crafts. Design hand made tent themed invitations with mini-flaps that guests can open to reveal that date, time, and location.

Make a Tent Invitation

Use a ruler to trace a triangle onto some cardstock and then cut the triangle out. Then trace the cardstock triangle onto a piece of construction paper and then cut it out from the construction paper. Cut a line up the center of the triangle, dividing it into two halves. Write important information such as the party date, time, and RSVP phone number onto the center of the cardstock triangle. If the party will be a sleepover event, make sure to add instructions for parents on items to bring such as a sleeping bag and change of clothes. Gently bend the diagonal sides of the two construction paper triangles halves back to create tabs. Glue the tabs onto the diagonal sides of the cardstock triangle and then set your invite aside to dry. Then hand them out to friends!

Do a Nature Craft!

Invite each guest to choose a flower or plant from a selection of natural materials that you've collected. Make sure that these are fallen nature items, and haven't been picked specifically for this craft. Pour a variety of paint colors on a palette or tray and then ask your guests to use a twig or stick to mix a signature color (one per guest). Each person should have their own piece of cardstock. Have each guest dip their flower or plant into the paint and press it onto the piece of cardstock. Pass the cardstock on to the other guests. Each time, the guest will make their own flower/plant signature print and sign his or her name. See what each person's looks like! Repeat until each paper has gotten back to its original owner. 

Make Some S'Mores!

Make sure you have a responsible adult around to help out. Be very careful when working near an open flame or a fire. Place marshmallows on a cleaned stick from outside. Heat the marshmallows over a real campfire, grill, or other source depending on what you have available. If you do not have a heat source that will work, simply place the marshmallows on a heat resistant plate and warm in the microwave (minus the stick). Place the marshmallow on a graham cracker then add a piece of chocolate and a second graham cracker to complete the s’more. For some added tastiness, you can add peanut butter onto the graham cracker, or sliced strawberries or bananas. Get creative and see how many different ‘fancy’ s’mores your child and her friends can come up with!

Play a Camp Out Game

Seat the guests in a circle around the campfire. If you don't have a real campfire, give each guest a flashlight. Place the flashlights, with the lights on, in the center of the circle facing up to create a mock campfire. Ask your guests for a real story from middle school. This should not be gossip about so and so. Instead, ask for a real situation. Did a favorite teacher spill coffee all over the classes’ term papers? Was one of the guests constantly called by the wrong name by the same history teacher all year long? Start with the real story, and take turns making up a scary ghost story or spooky urban legend based on the facts. When the story telling is over, you can write down the story while your child and her friends enjoy the party. Type the story and make copies to give to each guest before they leave the party.