Buccaneer Party 6yr - Walk the Plank
allison in shreveport, LA, USA
My son wanted a pirate themed party for his 6th birthday, so here's what we did: For invitations, I found a clipart treasure map, lightened it up a bit and used it as the background. Then using an old style font called Vivaldi, I wrote Ahoy Buccaneers, Cap'n Stewart Invites Ye to Set Sail with Him in Honor of his Sixth Birthday. He'll need Shipmates to Swab the Deck, Raise the Sails, and Batten Down the Hatches. The Jolly (Last Name) will be departin from Pier 308 on Decatur Lagoon (That's 3xx Decatur Ct. fer ye Landlubbers) at Ten O'clock sharp on the Eighteenth Day of August in the Year Two Thousand and Seven. It be requested that ye send a message to the first mate (email address) to confirm yer desire to exercise yer sea legs and search for mighty treasure. Wear yer swimsuit in case you have to walk the plank! (Much of the wording was taken from other suggestions on this website.) Before printing, I soaked the paper in coffee and let it dry. I was not sure that my printer would take the paper that way, but it worked great. I printed the text in a dark brown on the coffee-stained paper and then roughed the edges with a match. The turned out looking like real worn messages or treasure maps.
For decorations, I have a friend who is into pirates, and she loaned me a huge Jolly Roger flag which I hung on the wall in the garage. She also loaned me a full-size skeleton with an eye-patch which I set out against a tree on the way to the garage, as well as several pirate signs with different messages which I posted around the garage and back yard. We also found some large black balloons with pirate symbols on them and grouped them with red ones in the garage and on the mailbox. On the main table, I had red table cloth and a small treasure chest which was filled with gold coins spilling out of it as well as some pirate paraphernalia for each of the pirate guests. I had a bandanna, eye-patch and earring for each of the children. When the pirates put on their props, they completed the décor. They looked great, and I took a picture of them all gathered in front of the flag making their best pirate faces.
I had several games planned for the young Buccaneers. First, they walked the plank. We set a 12 foot long 4 x 4 beam on two small stepladders set up on either side of our plastic wading pool. In the pool we placed several diving toys shaped like sharks, and we told the children to be careful not to fall to the sharks. We had children ranging in age from 3 to 8 (mostly 5-6), so some were challenged just to be able to walk down the plank, and some chose to try to do it blindfolded. My daughter (the only girl at the party) tried to do her gymnastics routine on it. The kids all loved it, and they entertained each other for at least 20-30 minutes just splashing in the water and walking the plank. Next, we divided the 12 children into two teams of 6. I had let them choose whether they wanted a red or blue bandanna when they arrived, so the teams were determined by the bandanna colors. The first team game was Swab the Deck. I gave each team a broom and 5 ball pit balls (red and blue by team). Each pirate had to sweep the 5 balls across the garage with a broom to a teammate on the other side, and the next one had to sweep them back the other direction. The balls went everywhere so quickly that it was very chaotic, but the kids loved it and wanted to sweep some more.
The next team game was Sink the Ship. Before the party, we drew two pirate ships on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and colored them in really well. One was blue, and the other was red (okay, it was pink!). Before the party, I had blown up about 150 large black water balloons and divided them into two wagons. We also had a large blue bucket and a large red bucket which we filled with water. Each team received a wagonload of balloon cannonballs, a bucket of water and 4 water cannons which were dollar store items that are basically a 2-foot long syringe that sucks the water up and squirts it about 15-20 feet. The goal of the game was to be the first team to sink the other team's ship by throwing cannonballs and shooting the water cannons to erase the chalk drawings of the ships. That was a real hit. The little pirates loved it!
The last game (whole group, not teams) was a treasure hunt that took a good deal of advance planning. I used picture clues to lead them to about 15 different locations in our yard and finally to the treasure chest which was a footlocker hidden behind the gate into the side yard (the only place I could think of that they wouldn't see it too soon.) I took pictures with my digital camera of the places where I would hide the clues (particular bushes, the sandbox, the mailbox, under the fence in a certain spot, etc.) Each picture was printed on a half sheet of coffee soaked paper with the edges frayed by a match just like the invitations. I rolled the papers and tied them with black yarn and placed them in emptied water bottles with the labels removed. I taped one end of the yarn into the lid of each bottle so that they would be easy to remove from the bottles, and I placed a bit of sand into each of the bottles. On each bottle, I taped a label that was printed on the same roughed, coffee-stained paper. Each label said Clue #1, 2, 3, etc. I hid the bottles in the specified locations except for Clue #1. That was all of the advance work. When it was time for the hunt after the sink the ship game was finished, I threw out a the Clue #1 bottle into the middle of the crowd. It had a note (on the same type of paper) tied around it. The note read: Ahoy there! Ahoy there, All ye Buccaneers, Here's news of a treasure that's been lost for years. This here bottle contains the very first clue. Find the next in a bottle that's hidden from view. So now Cap'n Stewart, go round up your crew. Let's hoist the sails and swab the deck, And set sail to find treasure before our ship wrecks. I read it aloud to the boys and explained that the whole crew needed to stay together and figure out where to go to find each of the clues. I told them that everyone should get a turn to open a bottle, and the ship would wreck if the crew got separated. The ran from one side of the yard to the other and back looking for the clues. The grown-ups had as much fun watching the commotion as the boys did running after the treasure. They finally found the treasure which was a footlocker loaded with Mardi-Gras beads and a smaller treasure chest for each of the pirates. The small treasure chests were baby wipes boxes spray-painted gold. There was another picture taped inside the top of the footlocker which had a picture of our basketball goal. The boys took their treasure chests and ran to the basketball goal to find a treasure chest pinata filled with treasures. They took turns with the pinata for a while, but it turned out to be so sturdy that my husband had to eventually knock it open. The pirates filled their treasure chests (names written on them to keep up with them), and the treasure box along with the pirate gear given to them at the beginning of the party was the party favor.
After the games were finished, we had cake and ice cream. I made the cake in the shape of a pirate ship like one I had seen on Familyfun.com. I made a cake in a large cookie sheet for the base and iced it in blue to look like water. I then made two 9-inch round cakes which I made into the pirate ship. I cut the rounds in half and stacked them together with the flat side on top and the rounded side on the bottom. These made the body of the ship. I put chocolate icing between the layers and around the outside, and made it look like wooden boards on the outside of the ship. I made sails out of the same coffee-soaked paper cut into rough squares of different sizes. One had a pirate logo printed on it. I placed the sails on two wooden skewers which I stuck down into the cake as masts. I put 3 candles sticking out from each side of the cake like cannons. Each was stuck into a Rolo candy and secured to the side of the cake with toothpicks. On the top, I made a cannon out of a Tootsie Roll, and two white Lifesavers (for wheels) on top of a small Hershey bar. I also placed 2 Playmobil pirates on the deck of the ship. In the water around the ship, I used several colorful gummy Sweedish Fish to make it look like shark-infested waters. It turned out really cute. (If you want to duplicate the idea, I saw several online examples by doing a search for pirate ship cake.) The cake was a real hit, and I really enjoyed making it. We opened gifts after cake and ice cream, and the kids walked the plank some more before they left. The all had a great time, and I think most of the parents enjoyed it too. I printed thank you notes on card stock (one quarter of a page each). The had a few pirate clipart pictures like a treasure chest and pirate ship. I used the same font and brown ink that I had used for everything else and wrote Ahoy _______ , I am so glad you set sail with me for me birthday. Thank ye so much for the _________. I love it! Your Matey ____________. I had my son write the names of his friends and his own name, and I helped him write what the gifts were. Thanks for all of the previous ideas on this site!
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