Pirate Party 6yr - Passport to Adventure
Kristen in Latham, NY USA
First, I just wanted to say how influential this site was in making my son's birthday party such a success. For his sixth birthday, my son wanted a Pirate Party. Here's what we did:
The invitation For the invitation I wanted to make a message in a bottle, but I also wanted it to fit inside of an envelope. To start, I cut a bottle-shape out of light blue construction paper. I then cut the exact same shape out of clear contact paper, and then cut a rectangle of contact paper. I stuck the contact paper rectangle to the contact paper shaped bottle sticky side to sticky side starting at the bottom of the 'bottle' and going just up to the neck of the 'bottle'. I then stuck that to the construction paper bottle so that the edges of the contact paper stuck to the construction paper except where the rectangle was placed at the bottom through to the center of the bottle (now the opening and slot for the invitation). I put a brown construction paper cork in between the layers at the bottle top. I made the written part of the invitation out of manila drawing paper. Using Blackadder font, the invitation read Ahoy There Me Matey! Ye be invited to set sail on a 2 -hour Pirate Adventure!
Captain (my son's name) will be celebratin his Sixth Birthday with a Buccaneer Bash filled with swashbucklin fun. He be needin a hearty crew to help him swab the deck, walk the plank, and hunt for long lost treasures. Raise up yer flag if ye be attendin and chart yer course for the Port of (my street). Ship is docked at slip (my house number) and will weigh anchor at (time of party) sharp on (day, date of party). At the bottom of the invitation in Goudy Old Style font I wrote, Landlubber Translation: The party will be at (my son's) house, (my address), from (party times) on (day, date of party). Please respond by (rsvp date) to (my name, my husband's name) at (our phone number) if you will be able to join us. Parents are welcome to stay for the festivities. I soaked the paper in tea and then crinkled it. I left it to dry and then tore the edges. I tried to burn the edges but couldn't get it right. The tearing turned out to be a good alternative. I then rolled the paper into a cylinder, tied it with a red ribbon, flattened it, and then put it inside the bottle. The bottle then went into an aqua colored (to simulate the ocean) legal size envelope and we put a pirate party sticker on the back to seal the envelope.
To get the house ready for the party, I bought several dark brown masonite boards and gold hinges and hinged the boards together to make a pirate ship. Essentially what we had was a couple of long tables placed end to end with benches on either side. Surrounding the tables and benches was the masonite board in the shape of a rectangle with a peak at the front. There was an opening on the side for the kids to get in and out of the ship. For the flag, I decorated poster board with a picture of my son's head and balloons (kind of like a skull and crossbones, but with his face and balloons instead). I attached the poster to the business end of a rake and clamped it into a heavy-duty Christmas tree stand (things we had around the house). We put this at the front (peak end) of the ship. The table was covered with a plastic tablecloth with a map design on it. We hung a fish net from either side of the ship's walls to the ceiling. At the back of the ship we had a wooden captain's wheel made by a friend attached by rope to a peg on a wooden stand. We also decorated with jolly roger triangle flag garland which we strung several times back and forth, a stuffed parrot on a perch, Styrofoam skull garland, and a plastic anchor. In the front of the house we roped off the entrance to porch with twine and hung a sign reading, boat house closed, dock entrance around back Using black and white craft felt I made each child a black pirate vest with a white skull and crossbones on the front. I also cut out pirate sashes using a red shiny fabric I found on the clearance table at the fabric store.
When each child arrived at the party, they received a Passport to Adventure. The passport to adventure was a little booklet, about the size of a passport that I made up with all the activities I had planned for the party. I used cardstock and connected the pages together with brass fasteners. Each page had an introduction to the activity along with a space for a completion sticker that the child would receive once they completed the activity. The first activity was Only true pirates be allowed on this adventure! Ye best find some garb! Each child received a vest, sash, and pirate bandanna to put on. The next activity, Done some pillagin and plunderin have ye? Show off yer conquests with a chain full of skulls! The children sat at the tables inside the pirate ship and made skull necklaces using plastic lace, red and black beads, and white skull beads. As each child completed their necklace, they moved on to the next activity, Such a handsome pirate ye make! Join the crew and have yer photo taken for the Captain's log! At this point, each child posed for a picture in front of the Captain's wheel (to be used later to send with the thank you card). Next, was a game, Avast! It's mutiny! Find an island hide-away and hope ye don't get discovered! Using construction paper (blue for the ocean, tan for the island, brown and green for a palm tree) we made (prior to the party) an island for each child and put a number on it. The same numbers were put inside a bag. We laid the island on the floor. Each child was asked to sit on an island and remember the number they were sitting on. As my son pulled a number out of the hat, that child was told, Aargh, you scurvy dog! Walk the plank! (another activity in the passport). The plank (more like a balance beam) was a landscape timber raised up by a set of cinderblocks. Underneath the plank was a blow up alligator pool float. The last child discovered won a prize and had the option of whether or not they wanted to walk the plank (of course he did).
The next activity, Only one key will unlock the treasure. Whose will it be? Was essentially a piratey version of pin the tail on the donkey that I made. Each child was given a key made from card stock and they had to try to come closest to putting it in the keyhole on the treasure chest that I made out of oaktag. The winner won a prize. Our next activity was, It's time to put ye to work! Swab the deck! For this, I took a small foot stool and hung a stiff felt skull and crossbones from the front. The kids had to take a broom (without the handle) and try to hit the skull and crossbones with a ball. For the next activity, Try yer hand at being Captain. Take the helm and bring the ship to port, the children were given a Styrofoam hot/cold cup, a bendy straw, a piece of paper with two slits, and crayons. They decorated their sail (the paper) and then slipped it onto the straw through the two slits. To keep the sail standing, we just bent the straw into an L and put the short side on the bottom of the cup. As the children completed their ships, they came over to a large plastic container (one of those under-the-bed boxes) that we had filled with water and rocks from the yard. They put their ship in the water on one end and had to try to blow it across to the other end without tipping it over or getting stuck on the rocks. This was an individual event no racing.
Then we stopped for cake. I find it easier to make cupcakes for kids parties so I baked a bunch of cupcakes in gold foil wrappers. I decorated the top with frosting and crushed graham cracker to simulate sand. I put a palm tree in each cupcake (a pretzel stick with green frosting at the top) and a gold coin sticking out of the sand The cupcake at the center of the platter had a treasure chest candle in it. We also served juice and mini ice cream cups. I wanted to call the juice sharks blood but were afraid the kids would be grossed out.
After cake, the activities continued The next event was the start of our treasure hunt, Ready the cannonballs! Find a clue and help the crew! Prior to the party, I wrote the first clue on a piece of manila construction paper and cut it into sixteen pieces (the number of kids coming to the party). Each piece was placed inside a black air-filled water balloon (it was an inside party). Several more of the same balloons were blown up enough to fill one of those large beverage tubs. Instructing the kids to find only one clue please, we dumped the balloons in middle of the room and let the popping begin. After each child found a piece, we put the first clue together which was a clue to the location of the next clue, etc., etc., etc. We had about eight different clues. The final clue read, The treasure is buried in a pile of sand, dig it up now, by shovel or hand. At this point, the kids earned the last sticker in their passport, No pirate adventure would be complete without a treasure hunt. Ye best be on yer way! It was hidden in the sandbox in the backyard. Our sandbox has a domed top so we didn't actually bury the treasure, we just put it in the sandbox and put the top back on it. I made the treasure chest out of a Styrofoam cooler. I wrapped it in black electrical tape to look like the straps on a chest and used yellow construction paper to make the brass lock. Inside the treasure chest were the goodie bags.
I made the goodie bags out of brown lunch sacks made to look like treasure chests: filled, folded down, and again, wrapped with black electrical tape and yellow construction paper to look like the straps and lock. As the children collected a treasure chest of their own, we had them sit in the middle of the room while my son opened his presents. As my son opened up each present, the gifter was brought forward and presented with a wooden name plaque die-cut with their name and a captain's wheel (generously donated by a friend of the family in the die-cutting business). The party was 2 hours long and timed out perfectly. The children went home with the pirate garb, skull necklace, styrofoam boat, treasure chest goodie bag, and name plaque. It really was a great day.
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