Neverland Adventure -6yr- Sink the Ship Game
Josh in Eugene, OR USA
Never Land Adventure Party 6-year-old We created a Never Land-themed party for our daughter that relied more on creativity than dollars. It was also fairly easy to put together. Total cost, from decorations, props, and cake to the goody bags for 11 kids was approx. $70. Party length: approx. two hours. The challenge: Throw a birthday party on Memorial Day weekend when many people are out of town and still have a decent turn-out. We accomplished this with a good invitation.
The invitation: We sent out invitations extra early to build excitement with the hopes that the kids would beg their parents to stay in town so they could attend the party. It worked and all but two showed up. We created the invitation on the computer, used Never Land images grabbed from the Internet, and e-mailed the file to Kinko’s for color output (if you have a color printer, that will save you this step). It read: A little pixie dust and a whole lot of fun! Think happy thoughts, dress as your favorite Never Land character, and come fly with Savanna on a 6th birthday adventure to Never Land. It then gave the particulars and ended with Sorry, Tink doesn’t have enough pixie dust for siblings! To avoid space problems.
The premise: Our idea was to create an adventure through Never Land centered around a search for Hook’s treasure. Kids would progress through different areas of Never Land, from The Nursery to Crocodile Creek to Pirate’s Cove to Mermaid Lagoon to the Indian Camp to Skull Rock and the treasure. At each stop, there was a computer generated sign (again using Never Land graphics from the Internet) so kids would know they are at the right place. There would also be a poetic/cryptic clue that would tell them where to go next. Also at each stop we had appropriate theme music mostly from the original Peter Pan soundtrack. We just split up the soundtrack and burned different CDs for the different areas.
The Nursery: Arriving guests were greeted by a full size Jolly Roger pirate flag hanging at the porch ($7 online). When they entered, they were welcomed by Wendy (birthday girl’s mom dressed in a thrift store silky blue gown) to The Nursery (living room). The Nursery was decorated with things from my daughter’s room: stuffed animals, toys, books, etc. and had the first few tracks from the Peter Pan movie playing. Wendy read the story of Peter Pan to the children until everyone arrived. She then said to them: Children, Father said this is our last night in the nursery. Tomorrow we have to grow up! Let’s fly to Never Land and find Hook’s treasure! At this, Hook (birthday girl’s dad) made his grand entrance and bellowed amidst gasps from the kids, But only if ye can find me treasure. I’ll give you the first clue!
At that, Hook read the first clue: Off to Never Land, just follow the pixie - down through the green, but then it gets tricky. Along the creek, walk single file. Sit where you like, and watch for the crocodile! This directed them down the stairs to the lower level of the house. But before they went, the birthday girl, dressed at Tinkerbell, sprinkled pixie dust (gold glitter) on everyone and told them to think happy thoughts. Down through a green wall of streamers and green lighting, the kids made it to the next stop: Crocodile Creek.
Crocodile Creek: The tables were set up at Crocodile Creek for an art project: making crocodiles from clothespins. The crocodile song from Peter Pan was playing. Crocs were painted green, had googly eyes, a magnet on the bottom (cut up Realtor and Pizza parlor magnets). For the teeth, we had used a squiggly scissors and pre-cut squiggly strips that the kids could just glue on to the croc’s mouth (top and bottom, both sides). Each kid had a paper plate that they wrote their names on, so their project could have a safe place to dry on and we could move them easily and use the tables for eating later.
Hook then gave the next clue: Avast ye, mateys, ye made a fine croc. But there’s more danger in store that doesn’t tick-tock. Head for the sea, that’s a good tip - You’ll find your next clue on a pirate ship. Pirate’s Cove: Here we played sink the pirate ship. We had taken two big boxes and cut up a third to create pointed hulls in front (taped together with packing tape), then painted the ships with brown tempura paint. Each ship had a computer-printed pirate flag (again grabbed from the Internet). The ships faced each other about four feet apart. Two kids in each ship at a time tried to sink the other ship using ping pong sized whiffle balls from the dollar store. Each team got 12 and one team at a time got to try and throw as many balls into the other ship as possible while the defending team tried to bat them away. The team that got the most in sunk the other ship and the losing team was told they had to swab the decks. Here we used the ship battle track from Disneyland’s Pirate’s of the Caribbean.
Next clue: Poor boys and girls, some of you got sunk. Your ship no longer sails and now it’s just junk. So swim out to the lagoon and you’ll get your three swishes - A chance to bring home one of those girl fishes. Mermaid Lagoon: Out to the back deck to the hot tub! Floating in the tub were dollar store mermaids (the size of Barbie) of various colors. Kids lined up and got three chances with a fishing net to catch a mermaid that they then got to keep. If they didn’t get it in three, they could go to the end of the line and try again. Boys could trade their mermaid in for a more masculine toy. The track from the mermaid lagoon in Peter Pan played.
Next clue: Blast you, yer getting closer, but you haven’t found me gold yet.. It’s time to go wild and see what you get. Follow the leader, and take steps to the right of thee - you’ll capture your next clue in the home of sweet Tiger Lily. The Indian Camp: The clue led them down the steps to the back yard where we had set up an Indian teepee left over from our days in Indian Guides. To the music tracks featuring the Indians in Peter Pan, the kids got to go into the teepee and get their faces painted (look for clearance face paint after Halloween or at craft stores). After the last was painted, they got the last clue: So you made it this far, but don’t brag or talk - No one has ever made it to the last stop at Skull Rock. Up the ship steps and along the deck crickety-crank to get old Hook’s treasure, you’ll have to walk the plank!
Skull Rock: We laid an 8-ft. plank (supported by buckets and wood) over an inflatable pool that was filled with water and a rubber croc. Kids had to walk this plank in order to get to the treasure. Though they hesitated at first, the kids were breezing through this step by the end. So we had a back-up plan and made them go back to the start of the plank and this time walk it with a cannonball balanced on their heads (black balloon filled with bird seed). This made it more challenging and they all made it. Skull Rock was set up with a life-size skeleton (from Halloween he actually moved his mouth and had a spooky laugh. He was also wearing a pirate costume from a garage sale. Clenched in his bony hands was a treasure chest ($3 styro ice chest painted to look like a treasure chest). To either side were skulls, bones, and crows (all from Halloween). The birthday girl got to pry the fingers from the chest and open it. Inside were the goody bags filled with treasure.
We took squares of burlap and tied them with twine to make these inexpensive bags. Inside were jewels, sucker rings, skull pops, jeweled necklaces, gold coins, and jewel rings (all from Oriental Trading Company). Hook read one last message: Arrrgh, ye found it, yer better pirates than me own. You’ve taken my treasure, and now leave alone! If it’s real riches yer after, head back to the croc’s lake. ‘Cuz better than silver ‘n gold is Savanna’s ice cream and birthday cake. With that, they all walked back over the plank and to the Croc’s area, now set up for eating.
The cake: This looked elaborate, but was also very easy. We created a cake that looked like Never Land. We baked two 10x15 sheet cakes (check allrecipes.com). The bottom and center was frosted with chocolate frosting, the top with green-colored vanilla frosting. Before frosting the top layer, we cut the rectangle shape into an island shape, leaving room for Pirate’s Cove, Skull Rock, and Mermaid Lagoon. The parts we cut out were used as mountains and frosted over with the green frosting. We made a teepee with construction paper, Hangman’s tree with a stick and string, used a skull from Halloween for skull rock, and a pirate ship from a playset we had. A black dotted frosting line led from the ship throughout Never Land and finally to a big x where there was a tiny treasure chest on the cake.
We had put all of this on a large glass cutting board that we lined with blue construction paper (for water color) and covered with plastic wrap. We served the cake with green mint chip ice cream and used the trick candles that never blow out, blaming it on too much pixie dust. The kids then gathered for present- opening time, then played pirate with Capt. Hook until the parents arrived. All in all, a great success!
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