Idea No.

11324

Pirate Splash Party -5yr- Cardboard Pirate Ships

Award

Date

June 2005

From

Sparki in Lincoln, Nebraska USA

Special Mention

Backyard Splash Party

Pirate Splash Party   My son wanted a pirate party for his fifth birthday, which is in July. We decided squirt  guns in the back yard sounded like a good idea.  

We saved regular half-liter water bottles for the invitations. The labels were removed  and the bottles washed and dried. I printed invitations on parchment paper with a  map on one side (complete with compass, lines, funny names like point of despair  for the state prison, Kingdom of Burger for a particular restaurant up the street, etc.)  and the instructions on the other. Avast ye mateys! Pirates will be gathering at _____  Harbor on the occasion of Dread Pirate (Name)s Birthday! We shall hunt for Long  John Silver's treasure and there promises to be a Pirate Battle at Sea, so come about  for squirt gun and splash ball fun! Wear yer swimming suit and sunscreen. Please  pack a towel in yer tackle and dry clothes lest ye shiver yer timbers. If ye be fond of  yer own squirt gun weaponry, be ye armed when ye arrive.  I burned the edges of  each invitation, rolled them tightly and tied them with twine to keep them rolled. Using  a funnel, my son put a spoonful of sand in each bottle. Then we added a penny, two  small seashells and the invitation. We screwed the caps on and sealed them with  black electrical tape. Then we added address labels, giving each guest a pirate  name, like Buccaneer Brandon and Bluebeard Jake. The post office accepted  them, no problem, with a little extra postage. 

The week of the party, I went to an appliance store and got two refrigerator boxes,  then went to a carpet store and got two 6-foot tubes that they roll carpet around, about  8-inches in diameter. I turned each fridge box on its side and cut away part of the box  and taped it with packing tape so that it came to a point like a rowboat. Then I cut 12  portholes along each side and a hatch about 2 feet by three feet in the top so that  boys could pop up and squirt each other. I left the bottom of the box (the back of the  boat) open. I cut a hole just large enough for the carpet tube to go in down through  the center, and anchored it with cardboard scraps. This was the mast. Into each mast,  I drilled four holes and slipped a 4 dowel through, one near the top of the mast and  one just a few inches above deck. I used an old white sheet and made a square sail  for each boat, which I stretched on the dowels. Then I stapled a plastic Jolly Roger  flag to the top of each mast.

The boys and the parents were all very impressed with  these! We set them facing each other in the back yard with a plastic wading pool filled  with water between them, and the boys naturally divided up into teams and tried to  take over each others pirate ship! Each ship had a supply of splash balls for the  boys to use as cannon balls on each other.  The boys each got a pirate tattoo as they arrived, then filled their squirt gun and went  to work.  I sat near the outdoor faucet and kept refilling squirt guns. Most of the boys  brought their own and we had some extras, so I always had two filled up and ready.  When a boy ran out of ammo, he'd come to me and Id trade him a full gun for his  empty one, then refill. 

When the pirate war died down, I suggested the boys look for a buried treasure. I  gave each one of them a plastic sand shovel and told them to have at it. Originally, I  was going to bury the treasure in our sand box, but I was sneaky and buried it in a  corner of our garden instead, marked with two large white sticks crossed in an X.  They loved looking all over for it, and they loved digging it up! It was a wooden box  filled with plastic gold coins and bejeweled rings. They shouted, We're rich! We're  rich! And divvied up the booty, then when back to the ships to pretend to steal it  from each other.  Eventually, with all that water, the boats capsized, but the boys  thought that was hilarious and jumped up and down on them victoriously. 

Then I brought out snacks  juice pouches and treasure map sandwiches. These  were tortillas upon which I had drawn a treasure map with food coloring markers. I  spread a little cream cheese inside, sprinkled it with cheddar shreds and laid on a  piece of lunch meat before tightly rolling it up and securing it with a pirate-sword  shaped toothpick. The boys loved those swords! I also had sliced fruit, baby carrots,  etc. As boys finished, they got a chance to color a paper parrot and then play Pin the  Parrot on the Pirate  using two eye-patches as a blindfold.  Then we had the boys finish drying off and herded them into the house and up to my  sons room to change into their dry clothes.

When they came down, it was time for cake! I followed the Family Fun directions and baked two round cakes, sliced them in  half and set them on the curved side to look like a boat. Sales were paper threaded  onto bamboo skewers. Cannons were Rolo candy with the candles sticking out  sideways. Cannon balls were malted milk balls. I put a plastic Playmobile pirate on  deck and frosted the board blue to look like the ocean. The kids were very impressed,  and I have to admit, it was the coolest cake I've ever made. 

As guests were leaving, each one got a treasure box. I made these out of plain,  natural-colored cardboard boxes, about 4x4x6 inches. I used a black marker to draw  wood grain on them, as well as an inlay with each guests initials, then my son  helped me glue plastic jewels on the boxes as decoration. Inside, we put shark fruit  snacks, a giant ring pop, a pirate eye patch, a small plastic compass, a small plastic  telescope, another pirate tattoo, some root beer barrel candy and a handful of  Hershey golden nuggets candy.   The thank-you notes were a picture of the pirate with a parrot on his shoulder  squawking Thanks! We also included a snapshot of each boy enjoying the pirate  ship squirt gun fight!

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