Princess/Pirate Party -4yr- Princess Story
Jennifer in Charlottesville, VA, USA
Invitation: We used a princess template on an online photo service to create a princess invite that featured my daughter's face as a princess. On the invitation, we asked every one to come in princess or pirate attire. To tie in the pirates on the invitation as well, we made stickers of my daughter as a pirate for Halloween this year. Those went on the outside of the envelopes and read Ahoy Mateys!"
Decorations: For decorations we had guests "walk the plank" up to our front door. We had placed small rubber alligators along side of it and placed signs that read "beware of alligators." We also had a large stuffed Clifford dog dressed in my daughter's Pirate costume from Halloween out front with a sign that said "Ahoy Mateys!" We had done a Clifford theme last year and want to try to have some remnant of the prior party in the next one for fun. On the front door we had a sign that said "Welcome to (our last name)'s castle." Our challenge throughout was to tie these two themes together. Inside in our central room we decorated with pick and purple balloons white Christmas lights draped atop our curtains and pink streamers that hung down with cut-out paper stars that my daughter and I had glittered in the weeks prior to the party.
We also took various stuffed animals and dressed them up as princesses and pirates and placed them about---sort of like the "friend of the forest" idea. At one end of the room we had covered a large chair with purple velvet and shimmery pink fabric some fake flowers and Christmas tree garland to create a throne which worked great during gift opening. We also had an old wooden chest (to be used for the treasure hunt) decorated with paper chains and a golden lock that we had made from glitter and paper. This chest was perfect to put the presents on and that sort of concealed its purpose for the hunt later on in the party. Also Since I really didn't want the party to travel upstairs I made a sign to put on the gate that said "Rapunzel's escaped! Upper tower closed for investigation!" Parents loved the signs!
We decorated our adjacent dining room as "(our last name's) cove". We cleared out the dining room table and placed a blue drop cloth (which I taped down) in the center of the floor. Around it I placed four large beach towels---super easy seating for our 13 four-year olds. In the center was placed a mini-sandbox that I had created out of a wooden desk drawer. It was filled with sand a package of shells that I got for $3 at a crafts store old keys and coins. I also placed large shells full of sparkle large flaked glitter beads sharks teeth etc. Inside the sandbox I placed spoons for each child to dig with and fill their ocean bottle--once of the activities in the party. We turned the lights off in the room and I had hung a shimmering blue cloth over the window with green Christmas lights behind it and a few large goldfish pinned to the front. The lights created a cool effect almost like a net for the fish.
Outside the site of our story-play we put up to torch poles and draped them with satin fabric for the castle. My daughter decorated the tops of them with flowers from the yard. To the side of that we hung a piece of black fabric around a bush near our deck and a gray piece of fabric above that on a tree behind the bush. We pinned a pirate flag on top as well. This made the pirate ship for the story play. We placed chairs in the center for the parents to watch the story.
Activities: At the beginning of the party as folks were arriving we played classical music. My daughter and husband greeted people took coats and offered refreshments. We had crafts set up in our central (living) room. Everyone could make pirate flags using clip art from the internet glue crayons and paper flowers made from tissue paper and pipe cleaners. I also had some printables of pirates and princesses available for coloring. As every child was arriving dressed up I also had a large standing mirror that I had painted pink and glittered in a corner for them to see themselves. There was also a dress-up basket of more attire for those who wanted to accessorize!
These opening activities were great with varied skill levels and allowed for a relaxed beginning to the party. I didn't have to stress when people were coming at different times because these activities were less organized then the ones to follow. About a half hour in we turned up some ocean sounds (CD player) in the dining room and my husband invited us all to shift to the dining room or "Collier's Cove." The kids gathered around the sand-treasure box sitting down on the beach towels. My husband talked to them about the ocean and all the stuff you can find at the bottom of the sea while one of the parents and myself passed out glass tea bottles that I had saved up cleaned de-labeled and re-labeled with each child's name.
As we passed them out we filled them with bluish-green ocean water. The kids were very quiet and focused in this and I believe caught up in a little magic of the idea of creating a mini-ocean bottle. With the plastic spoons in the sandbox they filled their bottle with sand shells beads old keys etc. One note: make sure you leave space for a little water displacement! Luckily we did but it could have been a lot more messy. The kids stayed focused in this for about 15 minutes! As the kids finished up we hot glued the metal caps onto the bottles as distributed them as the kids left to go home.
Then we transitioned to do a story-play outside. We told the kids we love to tell stories and that we had very special story about princesses and pirates. My husband then took the pirates downstairs where they picked up a balloon sword and sash to hold it on with and then headed outside to their places on the deck. I took the princesses out onto the deck and into the back yard. On the way I picked up the basket of flowers they had made during the craft time. Each princess was given a flower to hold and use in the story-play. I took a moment to tell the kids a little about the story and to remind them that it was all pretend (in case some might get scared of my husband as the dragon!) and to let them practice singing "Twinkle Twinkle little star" which would occur in the story. The parents were invited to watch. When all the kids my husband the parents and I were all in place we began the story.
The story was essentially about our princess __________(child's name) and all her princess friends who one day while they were out planting their flowers received news that the dragon had stolen their jewels. They set out on a mission to find the evil dragon but as they do they are captured by him and thrown into a cave. The kids loved being chased and chasing the dragon (my husband) around the audience of parents at the different times during the story. (My husband was dressed in a big piece of green fabric for wings green glasses from the pipe cleaners and a St. Patrick's plastic hat we had on hand. We called him the "Paddy Dragon!") While the princesses are in the cave they sing their song louder and louder until finally a group of pirates "having experienced a slight downturn in the treasure acquisitions due to re-regulation and public discontent decided to come ashore and investigate this beautiful sound." The pirates are then attacked by the evil bubble blowing dragon. They pop all his bubbles with their balloon swords and chase him off. They free the princesses and head off after the dragon for the jewels--the final chase.
Finally the exhausted dragon drops the jewels and flies off. The Princess is so happy she invites everyone in for a feast of cake and icecream. Next we had cake and icecream after which my daughter opened her gifts while sitting on her throne. Lastly when things were about to get very wild (the cake was kicking in!) my husband arrived as a pirate with a treasure map he had just found. He gathered the kids around and together they went on a search for the treasure which was their goody bags hidden in the wooden chest. We did a color clue search with rhymes that directed the kids to look for all the colors of the rainbow. When all the colors had been found they added up to be a rainbow and then everyone looked for the last thing which was a rainbow picture taped over the gold (paper) lock on the chest. The kids removed the picture "broke" the lock and then opened up the chest to find their goody bags! They were so excited. My husband stayed in character the whole time---very funny!The kids and parents had a great time. It seemed by really knowing what and where everything and everyone was going during the activities helped to cut any chaos. We actually had some fun too!
Party Snacks: We had a lot of fun in this category. We placed out snacks on the table with signs to correspond with each. There were "Polly Wanna" Crackers Cheese-"plundered from the far off regions of the world pink and white princess food" (yogurt covered peanuts and raspberry yogurt covered pretzels) dried snack peas with a sign that read "Hey it beats being under a mattress Under the eye-patch" olives "Poisin-free" apples and "princess and the TEA." Pink and dark purple cups plates and napkins from the local $ store.
Cake: This was my gift to myself---someone else made the cake! It was black forest cherry with pick---very princess---icing. We also had little vanilla cupcakes available for the non-chocolate folks. Neapolitan icecream seemed princess and pirate like to us!
Party Favors: The Goody bags were filled with things for pirates and princesses: Pirate Booty (crunchy corn puff treat) princess notepads and pencils princes/pirate rubber duckies wands stickers and gold hershey's kisses. These were all in brown paper bags that my daughter and I decorated with each child's name a glitter hand made star princess and pirate sticker and a hand stamp that read "argh!" and a BIG thank you for coming to the party!"