Her Pirate Party 4yr - Pirate Party Games
Rebecca in Austin, TX USA
4 Year Old Pirate Party - There isn't much I love more than planning our daughter's birthday parties!! We always try to find a good co-ed theme, as her friends are split about 1/2 boys and 1/2 girls. This year she decided she wanted a pirate party, which worked out just perfectly! Her birthday is just 2 weeks after Christmas, so we tend to go all out to make her birthday party special and have it really stand out from the holidays.
The first thing we did was search for the perfect invitation. We went back and forth between several ideas, but eventually decided on a cute pirate child diecut with an attached bandana on its head. Before sending the invitations, we decided on "Pirate Names" for each child and included those on their invitations. The invitations read, "Pirate Sealegs __________, Ye be invited to High Seas __________'s 4th Birthday Bash. Chart yer course for ___________________________ on the ___th day of ____________, 2005. We be meetin' at 2:00 p.m. fer some swashbuckling fun, grub, and kiddie spirits. Call me mum: xxx-xxxx." Some of the names were Sealegs _______, High Seas _______, Cannonball _______, Wild-Eyed ______, and so on. There were 22 children, so it took quite awhile to come up with the names!! Included with the invitations were pirate "treasure" maps to our home. I purchased gold parchment paper and copied a hand drawn pirate map onto each sheet. I used stick-type drawings for landmarks (duck pond, park, etc.) and a big X for our house. I burned the edges of the paper and folded them to be included with each invitation.
Once the invitations were sent, I made pirate costumes for each child. The birthday girl had a full costume, including a red/white striped skirt with jagged edges, a white peasant-style pirate shirt with jagged edges, a black sash, gold hoop earring, eye patch, bandana, gold necklaces, black boots, sword, hook for her hand and a parrot for her shoulder. For the rest of the kids, I made baggy pirate shirts with jagged edges out of the red/white striped fabric, as well as the black sashes and pirate bandanas (Oriental Trading Company). I also purchased a Pirate Accessory Kit for each child from Deadmentalenotales.com that consisted of a sword, eye patch, compass, spyglass and hook.
As each child arrived, they were welcomed by a life-sized skeleton in the front yard holding a sign that said, "Beware of Pirates". We had Skip Henderson's "Billy Bones & Other Ditties" cd playing outside as they approached the door, and another skeleton was holding a Jolly Roger flag at the front door. Upon going inside, each child was given his/her costume to put on and then taken to the "tatoo parlour" to have temporary tatoos and scars or mustaches painted on their faces. Once that was done, they were each led to our Pirate Lagoon to have a photo taken with the birthday girl. Our dining room was completely emptied out and decorated as the lagoon. One side was the sea where we had placed a huge pirate ship from purchased from Birthdayshindigz.com. My daughter was inside as the "Captain" and each child got in with her for a picture (which we included with the thank you cards sent after the party).
The other side of the room was the island lagoon where we had an 8 foot palm tree, a sand bar, skulls, a treasure chest full of treasures, a 10 foot plank (hand made balance beam painted red w/ black letters that said "WALK THE PLANK"), a fishing net with shells, large plastic crabs and lobsters, another skeleton, etc. We had 2 large cardboard pirates taped up to the walls "guarding" the treasure chest. After having their photo taken, each child was led to the kitchen where we had set-up a craft table for them to decorate their own treasure chests (kits purchased from Oriental Trading Company). The table cloths used in that room were the same red/white striped fabric as their shirts. I also had replica vintage treasure maps on the walls and large parrots hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen. The snack table was set up in the kitchen as well, with bowls full of sweedish fish, goldfish crackers, gummy worms, goldfish snack mix (similar to chex mix), pretzels, a veggie tray, etc.
As everyone arrived, the kids completed their crafts and snacked on the food. Once everyone completed their craft, we started the "Pirate Carnival" games! We had the entire downstairs of our home decorated with all kinds of pirate stuff - flags, skeletons, parrots, palm trees, etc. and we had games in several different rooms. I had made "tickets" that the kids would get upon completing each game. I simply tore rectangles out of colored construction paper - a different color for each of the six games. Once you received all 6 tickets, you could go to the large treasure chest and exchange them for treasure (each child could get 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small treasure from the chest with their 6 tickets). We did the games carnival-style, where the kids could go from game to game at their leisure. We allowed 30 minutes for the games and it worked out great. With more than 20 kids, it simply wouldn't have worked to have had each one sit and watch as 21 other kids played a game. This way they were all active and playing something the entire time. It was GREAT!!!
The games were:
1 - Pin the patch on the pirate: I purchased a set of 4 large pirate faces and cut patches out of black construction paper.
2 - Cannonball toss: We had 3 buckets placed at different distances and they had to throw styrofoam balls that I had painted black into each bucket.
3 - Ring Toss: I found this perfect Pirate themed ring toss game at Pier One Imports and simply used that.
4 - Hook the Treasure: This was a race where there were 2 treasure chests at one end of the room and silver and pearl beaded necklaces scattered across the floor. Two children played at one time and they were each assigned either the silver or pearl necklaces. The kids had 20 seconds to use a hook and pick up one necklace at a time - run and place it in their respective treasure chest, and go back to get more. Whoever had the most in their chest at the end of the 20 seconds won.
5 - Burried Dubloon Hunt: We had a large bowl filled with uncooked rice and 200 pennies. The children were blindfolded and had 30 seconds to find as many pennies as they could - by feeling through the rice with their hands. This is actually quite difficult, but the kids LOVED getting real money!
6 - Walk the Plank: The kids walked our red, balance beam plank - removed a jolly roger flag from one end and had to return it to the other end without falling off. The kids enjoyed trying it backwards or with their eyes closed. It was great!! Each child got a ticket for playing each game, whether they won or not. The treasure chest they got to pick from was full of all kinds of goodies (Jolly Roger playing cards, real Spanish treasure coins, jeweled rings & bracelets, Jolly Roger pencils, necklaces, yoyos, parrots for their shoulders, etc.) The kids all loved their prizes and enjoyed putting them in the treasure chests they made when they arrived. After the games were done, we moved on to having the cake.
I made 2 cakes in the shape of 2 different pirates - one with a peg leg and one as Captain Hook. One was vanilla and the other chocolate. We served the cake with Ben & Jerry's Phfish Food Ice Cream. Once the kids had finished their cake, we had a treasure hunt where I had made clues that, when solved, would lead the kids to the next clue. I did each one as a little pirate poem and they eventually led us outside where we had a second large pirate ship where the final clue was found. Before reading the final clue that would lead us to the treasure, we had all 22 kids stand around the ship together in their costumes and took some GREAT photos!!! The final clue led us back inside to another treasure chest in which I had placed a small fabric sack filled with more treasure for each child (chocolate coins, necklaces, etc.).
We then opened gifts and finshed the party off with a large treasure chest pinata. I purchased a basic one from a local party store and hot glued jewels, beads, etc. coming out of the lid. It was a really neat effect. The pinata was filled with more treasures and candy. The kids got to take home their costumes, pirate accessories, treasure chests and all of their treasures! It was an amazing party and 3 months later people are still talking about it!! We are already planning her next birthday party which is still 9 months off!!