You don’t need to drive for hours—or even own a cottage—to host this woodsy fete that brings the great outdoors to you.
Gather three rectangles of variously coloured and textured paper, two twigs and a piece of twine. On the smallest rectangle, write or print out your party details. Arrange the layers from smallest to biggest and glue together. Glue one twig to each end, roll together like a scroll and fasten with twine.
Start with decorations. Pay a visit to a ravine or forest (make a family hike out of the occasion, perhaps?) and collect birchbark and an assortment of wood pieces, acorns, pine cones and leaves. Arrange your findings, along with some flashlights and lanterns, on wooden crates around your room or backyard. To make this sign, on a piece of scrap wood or birch bark, paint a phrase or direction to help set the mood or guide guests around your party. Use a hot glue gun and attach twigs around the border to frame your sign.
Next, set up a trail-mix bar. Fill glass jars, which you can get at your local dollar store, with a variety of nuts (opt for seeds if this is going to be a nut-free mix), dried fruits, chocolates and candies. At the party, hand out paper bags for the wee guests to use to create a personalized trail-mix treat.
For lunch, grill fare like hot dogs and hamburgers. Proudly haul out your incredibly impressive watermelon BBQ with candy skewers.
Some sweet-and-salty ice cream sandwiches (find the instructions here) will round out the day-at-the-cottage experience.