The Pirate Party  -  Games


Back to the Pirate Party PageMusical Islands

The next stage was a trip outside to play musical islands (our version of musical chairs using cardboard shapes roughly chopped into islands).  We used steel drum music because we couldn't get hold of pirate music in time.  Once they were out -- and their island had sunk!

Back to the Pirate Party PageTresure Hunt

We then embarked on a treasure hunt, I used parchment paper and made 12 rhyming clues, then cut these out from around the edge leaving a treasure map in the inside.

The children had to find the clues (the tip was that a secret to the map was time), place them inside the map and turn it over to find a further clue (this rhyme was written a few words at a time on the back of each of the 12 clues) stating that they had to look under the "bones" of the pirate on the treasure island cake.

They dug up a strategically place plastic box inside the cake with the final clue and trick, a reversed clue which had to be read with a mirror. This stated the treasure had been under their table all the time. (The clues and most of the party were designed so we could have it indoors if we had really bad weather)

Back to the Pirate Party PageWalk the Plank Relay

PREPARATION:  Need two boards.  My neighbor had a scrap piece he let me have to cut in half to make two.  I thought about elevating the board on concrete blocks, but decided that with my group, the potential for an excited, racing kid to fall off and skin a knee was too great for my comfort.  If you want to elevate the "plank" you'll need some concrete blocks.  You could also draw a plank on a sidewalk with chalk and make sure the kids walked inside it. 

I balled up foil to make two balls for each guest - the ingots.  I made two treasure chests from four grocery bags.  I rolled a collar down on each bag as far as I could go.  I made two cardboard "hinges" from  the sides of a cereal box -- I scored each cardboard at the half and glued it to the inside of the bags.  I drew "wood" with a black Sharpie on the bags and made yellow construction paper locks and handles.  You also need two boxes or bags (one for each team).  You could stop there, but I also made two pirate "caves" to put the chests in.    

Pirate Cave directions:  For each dome, you need 100 sheets of double newspaper.  Spread four sheets of newspaper together as if you are reading it.  Begin to roll a tube of newspaper from a corner.  You can use a pencil to guide you, but don't try to roll it around the pencil.  Tape tube shut with clear packing tape.  Make twenty five tubes.  Cut off floppy ends.  Then make tubes all the same size.  With fifteen tubes, make five triangles and staple (heavy duty stapler) or tape together end to end. Take five tubes and staple or tape their ends together so the tubes radiate outward from a central point.  It will look like five spokes or perhaps a flower -- this is the top. 

Put the top aside.  Using the last five tubes, staple or tape tubes to join the peaks of the attached triangles together and have the last of the five tubes attached to the last peak and hanging off into space.  With another person, stand up the structure and form it into a five-sided thing.  Staple or tape it together.  Then get the top and attach the ends to each triangle peak.  Your structure will now stand and you can cover it w/tissue paper or leave it plain.  Kids up to about age 10 can crawl through an open triangles to get inside.

TO PLAY:  Make two teams.  The object is to be the first team to get all your silver ingots from your treasure chest to your team's box.  Set up planks.  Put foil balls in chests (two for each guest if a relatively small party, one for each guest if a large party) and put chests at end of route (or at end of route inside newspaper "caves").  At go the team members walk the plank, run to the "cave" crawl in and get a silver ingot, run back, put ingot into their team's box and tag the next player.  If a small party, each player will go twice.

Back to the Pirate Party PageHot Crab

We played "Hot Crab" which was Hot Potato except with a sand stuffed crab that I got at the Dollar Store. I used "We are the Pirates who don't do Anything" from a Veggie Tales CD as the music, because I think it is a hilarious song and it mentions our city, Tampa, in it.  [Other possibilities are "I am a Pirate King" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, or the theme from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride.]

As each child was eliminated, he/she got a skeleton head lollipop (I ordered these from Oriental Trading Company, but subsequently saw some at my local supermarket).  The winner got a lollipop AND got to keep the crab.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePin the X on Treasure Map

We then played "Pin the X on the Treasure Map".  I drew my own map on posterboard and drew the X's on circles of construction paper.  I pre-printed the children's names on the circles, so we'd know which X was whose. 

Each child got a stretchy skeleton, could select a piece of candy from the treasure box, and received "I played Pin the X on the Treasure Map" construction paper medal. 

The one closest to the actual X got to select from two prizes (a Treasure Island coloring book or Dover Press sticker book about sharks -- the winner chose Treasure Island, by the way) and got a special "Closest to the X" construction paper medal.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePirate Canon Contest

For entertainment we had a pirate ship playground.  We recently tore down a wooden deck in our backyard so my husband used the scrap wood to make two pirate ships.  We purchased two large sheets of plywood traced our design and cut it to size.  The plywood was the bottom of the boats.  We then used the scrap wood to make the sides of the boat.  It was really simple.  The boat came to a point in the front, and was squared off in the back with the sides being straight. 

On one side we had an opening big enough for kids to walk into the boat and on the other side we made a plank coming out of the opening.  There was no top the the boat, just the bottom and the sides.  To the back of the boat we added PVC pipe to make a mast.  We had one pipe going straight up them added connecters to make a "t".  We added a small plastic flower pot to the mast by cutting a hole in the bottem and sliding it on.  I pained the whole thing brown and added names to the ships with black paint and stencils.  One was the Black Pearl and the other was the Jolly Roger. 

For some added detail we placed a blow up parrot in each of the planters to serve as the "look out", added a plastic pirate flag to the top of each mast, and added off white fabric to make the sails.  We made the sails look old and worn and kind of spooky looking.  We placed both ships on a large blue tarp (water) facing each other.  I then added a blow up alligater pool toy. 

For extra decorations around the party area I added left over plastic pirate flags throughout the area.    Game: I divided the kids into two teams and gave them the buckets of cannon balls.  When we said go they threw the balls trying to get them into the other ship.  Once all cannons were thrown we got the kids all out and counted the cannons.  The ship with the most cannons was sunk and that team had to walk the plank into the ocean with the alligator. 

We then divided the winning team in half and played again.  We did this until it was down to two kids and the last kid standing was the winner.  We also had a boy and girl winner for this game.  I awarded the last girl to be in the game since it ended up being two boys at the end.

Back to the Pirate Party PageMusical Islands

Musical islands.  I had cut out islands shaped from a large tan poster board and added double sided tape to hold them in place on the cemment slab.  As each kid was out they had to go walk the plank, which kept them from crying as they usually do with musical chairs.  This game also had a girl and a boy winner.

Back to the Pirate Party PageTreasure Hunt Puzzle

It was time to fill the treasure chests.  We went to the place where we layed them out to dry and they were missing.  All that was left was a scroll and a puzzle piece.  It was time for a treasure hunt.  I bought a puzzle game that looked like a treasure map and had several pieces that came out. 

For each piece I made a clue on a scroll that looked just like the invitations.  The frist scroll read : Attention all pirates, we've stolen your loot, its time for a treasure hunt, we're sure you'll have a hoot.  Here is your first clue:  If you were real pirates you'd sail the seven seas for your transportaion you'd need one of these.  We looked around and the kids finally spotted a blue boat we had out in the back yard.  We all ran over to the boat and there was our next puzzle piece and another clue that read: A pirates fort not need be grand, just as long as it is built on land. 

They quickly figured out it was the club house.  So we all ran over to the club house to find our next puzzle piece and another clue that read: A message in a bottle was a great way to send a letter you pirates today you've got it much better.  This was the mailbox, the next clue was: We pirates need to stay warm when the weather gets cold, we like to light a fire in a copper bowl. 

This lead us to our copper fire pit where we found our next clue: When pirates get tired this is where they lay, they rock back and forth in the sun all day.  We figured out this would be a hammock.  It took a while since we didn't have a hammock, but the kids finally figured out it was the swing.  Here we found our last clue:  Now that you've searched high and low and had lots of fun, go back to the place were you begun.  The treasure was with you all along, right under your noses, under the song.  The older kids figured out it was under the table with the CD player. 

While we were playing games I had my husband and mother fill the treasure chests up with pirate loot: pirates of the carribbean fruit snacks, candy necklaces, candy gem rings, small telescopes, small pirate treasure map, lots of gold coins and lots of different colored gems. 

The boys got each a small pirate figure and a composs, the girls got a big gem ring and a pearl necklace, and the babies got a pirate rubber ducky and a bottle of pirate bubbles ( the babies didn't get gems and coins as they posed a chocking hazzard).  These were placed in the wooden trunk along with the pirate ship pinata and a few helium balloons. 

When we lifted the table cloth there was the trunk with a big red X and the last puzzle piece.  We pulled it out, opened it up and out came the helium ballons.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePirate Cannon Balls

I then asked them "What do pirates ride the waves with?" and they all answered Ships.  "And what do pirates do when they meet other pirate ships?"  Fight them.  We headed down to the basement where they found two pirate ships.  (Two large appliance boxes painted and cut so that one of the corners was the bow of the ship, complete with mast and flag). 

In each ship they found a bucket of cannonballs (balled up newspaper held together with masking tape) I had them number off 1, 2 and all number 1's were in one ship and number 2's in the other, each ship captained by a birthday boy.  The teams were Ryland's Rogues or Luke's Liberators, named after the birthday boys.     The game was called "Sink the Enemy" and the idea was that when they heard the whistle they had to throw as many cannonballs as they could into the other ship. 

When the whistle blew again all action stopped.  Cannonballs were counted and whichever ship was sunk (most cannonballs in the ship) that team had to walk the plank.  Walk the Plank was a board set up on crates with toy sharks, crocodiles, whales, fish, etc. scattered underneath. 

Of course all the kids wanted to Walk the Plank so we had to play Sink the Enemy 3 or 4 times! (We started adding variations to make Walk the Plank harder eg. Walk backwards, hop on one foot, jump over obstacles, etc.)

Back to the Pirate Party PageTreasure Hunt Picture Clues

The Treasure Hunt. Again the kids were divided into two teams, each team captained by a birthday boy.  Picture clues in envelopes had been hidden throughout the house, each clue leading them to the next.  Having a birthday boy on each team was important since some of the clues only they would know the answer. 

The teams were given their first clue (Team A's envelope contained a picture of a bandage (upstairs hall closet), Team B had a screwdriver - tool chest in the basement).  The teams also had helpers with them to prompt if they got stuck.  Clues were laid out so both teams would end up in the living room.  

The final clue for each team was a Christmas tree.  Boys birthday is in Dec. but I hold off putting up the tree until their birthday is over, so the spot where the tree normally goes is where a table sits. 

After a bit of prompting they were able to figure out that they should look under the tablecloth.  Once the cloth was lifted some balloons filled with helium were released and they found a cannonball pinata with a skull and crossbones on it.

Back to the Pirate Party PageWalk the Plank

Our first game was "Walk the Plank." For this game, 2" x 4" x 8' boards were laid out on the floor, end to end. Blindfolded guests were then challenged to walk the length of the "plank" without falling off. 5pts were awarded for reaching the end without falling off. 1pt was deducted for each time more than half a foot touched the ground. 

After the game, each crew totalled their individual scores and the crew with the highest score was awarded a bag of 100 "dubloons," which their pirate chief then distributed evenly among them. (To make the game easier, arrange boards in a straight line and/or allow guests to perform without the blindfold.

To make the game more challenging, skew planks so they meet at odd angles and/or set a time limit.)

Back to the Pirate Party PageSwab the Deck Relay

This hilarious relay race contest challenged crews to herd 5 ping pong balls across an expanse of floor using brooms. The captains split their respective crews onto opposite sides of the room. After one crewmate successfully shepherded the balls across the room, he turned the broom over to the next crewmate, whose job was to shepherd them back. First crew to swab their ping pong balls across the finish line won the bag of dubloons. 

If this sounds boring or easy, you haven't tried it! Thanks goodness we thought to give each team different colored ping pong balls, because they were rolling all over the place and separating yours from the other teams' was half the fun! (To make the game easier, use only one ball, or use larger balls. To make the game harder, mark one ball from each team as the crew "mascot" and challenge teams to steal each others' mascots while simultaneously racing!)

Back to the Pirate Party PageSea Battle

"Sea Battle," in which each crew earned points by hitting "targets" (clipart pictures printed out from the internet) with beanbags. The targets were ships (5pts each), islands (2pts) and seamonsters (deduct 3pts - it's never good policy to tick off a sea monster!). The catch is that the crews must launch the beanbags from catapults! (We found easy - and relatively inexpensive - catapult kits at a store that sold cub scout supplies.) After each pirate got a chance at the catapult, the crew with highest cumulative score won a bag of dubloons. (To make the game easier, place targets on floor and allow guests to throw beanbags. To make the game harder, use smaller targets!)  treasure? Even the adults enjoyed swaggering about for an afternoon, growling "ye' scurvy dog!" and "arrr, matey!"

Back to the Pirate Party PageTreasure Island Game

Preparation involved turning an array of 12 x 10 index cards into a single "treasure map", complete with islands, reefs, rocks, and - of course - a big red X marking the treasure. Cards were then turned over (we used a stamp to add a skull & crossbones design to the "plain" side of each card, just so they weren't so plain!) and hung in a 12 x 10 array on one wall of the party room (at least 1" space between cards). In the upper left corner of the array, two pirate ship "game pieces" (clipart cutouts afixed with double-sided tape) sat poised, waiting to weigh anchor.

To play the game, each crew flipped a dubloon and moved their ship an appropriate # of spaces (heads = move 1 space, tails = move 2 spaces). Upon landing on a card, it was turned over to reveal that part of the map. Thereafter, crews raced each other to find where the treasure was hidden, with the first crew to find the treasure winning a bag of dubloons. (To make the game easier, introduce few obstacles. To make the game harder, create more obstacles - for instance, an island ringed in reef with only one way through; or, penalize crews for hitting hazards, reward them for good fortune.) 

Back to the Pirate Party PagePing the Flag on Pirate Ship

Pin the Flag on the Pirate Ship Station- each group rotated through this in the traditional way that pin the tail on the donkey is played.  The exception was that the flag was to be placed in the right position above the mast. 

Back to the Pirate Party PagePin Patch on The Pirate

I laminated the pirate head cutouts and used one for the game. I made my own paper patches, but you can use the plastic ones.Then the received their own eye patch to wear. WALK THE PLANK. I had a 2 x 4 plank that I put over a plastic pool. A 3 foot plastic alligator floated around in the pool waiting for someone to fall in.After their walk I gave them a paper pirate hat.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePop the Cannon Ball

I had black balloons and the kids raced across the lawn to sit and pop the balloons. Most kids bounced right off of the balloons.It was hilarious. We did this a couple of times or until all the balloons were popped. Then the kids helped pick up the balloon garbage. I made paper towel roll spyglasses and handed them out. (Easy version spyglass could stick them into their sash to hold them or you can by premade spy glasses.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePirate Bag Toss

I used a large pc of white poster paper (Dollar store 3/$1) I drew a large treasure chest with markers and then used water color to paint it. I cut out 4 big holes. This was our Bean Bag Toss. I attached this to a piece of cardboard to sturdy it. Then I had some old beige material and I cut out 10 little squares, about 3 x 4 and sewed them by hand. It made 5 bean bags. I filled them with beans and sewed them closed. Then I wrote ˘gold÷ on them to make them look like little bags of gold. Each child who threw a bag through any of the holes got one of the bags of gold that I had made earlier as a prize.

Back to the Pirate Party PagePirate Carnival

Once in, they were given instructions for our pirate carnival we were going to have.  We had seven stations for the children to choose from.  They included: 

1.  Crocodile hoop toss - The children would try to throw a hula hoop around a crocodile head (an alligator pinata can work).  Each child would get about 4 tosses. 

2.  Cannon ball toss - The object is to throw 4 foam balls, which had been painted black to resemble cannonballs, into a bucket.  The distance can vary depending on the ages of the children. 

3.  Digging for treasure - I took some plastic gold coins and numbered each from 1-6.  I had prizes that corresponded with each number.  The gold coins were then placed in a pool of sand and stirred around to mix them up.  Each child was given a opportunity to dig for a coin.  Once a coin was found, the child would give it to my nephew and receive his or her prize - depending on the number. 

4.  Walk the plank - I made a plank out of an old fence board that I mounted on a couple of 4x4's.  I then place the plank at the each of my patio.  Each child had to walk to the end of the plank where they found a pirate flag sitting on a large orange cone.  They had to pick it up and bring it back without falling off.  There next task was to place it back on the orange cone, once again, without falling off.  I made some buttons that said,"I walked the plank at Captain Logan's Birthday Party."  The first time that each child tried to walk the plank, my wife pin this button on them.  If they successfully completed their task, they also received candy. 

5.  Jewel Pickup - Each child had about thirty seconds to pick up as many jewels (marbles) as they could and place them in a bucket.  The catch was each child had to use their toes.  This was very difficult for 5 year olds, but they could do it.  For each jewel placed in the bucket, they received a candy. 

6.  Musical Islands - I placed 6 colored disc on the ground.  I figured it would be easier for 5 year olds to identify colors, over numbers.  Up to six children could play at one time.  Each child would start on an island (disc). When the music would begin, they all start walking around the circle, going island to island.  When the music stopped, the children would stop on that island.  My mom would then draw a ball from a paper bag to see who would win.  Children who did not win were allowed to play again.  If you did not have six children playing, a ball would be drawn until someone wins.  I found this to be a better option than the musical chair version. 

7.  Face painting - No explanation needed.  The children were allowed to play whichever games they wanted, as many times as they wanted.  Each of them had a bag with their name on it to help hold their loot.  At all the stations, except the face painting, children almost certainly won something.  They were allowed to play for about 40 minutes.

Back to the Pirate Party PageGolden Egg Hunt

My wife and I had decided that we didn't particularly like younger children swinging a bat at a pinata.  Also, we didn't feel confident about having children search for clues around our house and yard.  Instead, we came up with an idea to have a treasure hunt that would be similar to an easter egg hunt.  With the assistance of my family, candy was scattered around my backyard, as well as on the playground.  I also spray painted a couple dozen plastic eggs gold. 

Inside of the eggs I had lots of candy, coins, necklaces or paper with numbers on it.  The numbers corresponded with larger gifts.  In addition to the candy and eggs, we also had mardi gras beads for the children to pick up.  The children were then led outside where they were given another paper bag with their name on it.  On the signal, they were allowed to begin picking up anything they could find.  It only took about 5 minutes to clean up everything, but they loved it and each of them got a bunch of stuff. 

Back to the Pirate Party PageSwab the Deck

They had to get down on their hands and knees and pretend to scrub the floor STARBOARD SIDE: Run to the right side of the deck (building) PORT SIDE: RUN to the left HERE COMES THE CAPTAIN!: stand very still with out moving in a salute MAN OVERBOARD!: find a partener and grab onto them And so on and so on. You can make up more actions out of pirate slang, just make sure they are VERY CLEAR on them before the game starts.

This is how it goes: The girls habve to do exactly what i say for example if I say STARBoard Side! They would run to the right side. But if I say HERE COMES THE CAPTAIN! right after(before they reach the other side), they have to stop arubtly in their tracks and do that action. People who continue doing the same action as before are out of the game. The game goes on untill one peson is left, who is named the first mate.

Back to the Pirate Party PageTreasure Hunt Competition

I divided them up into two teams, and gave them a list of three things to find. the list looks a bit like this, without the brackets: Find: One round rock painted yellow (hidden by the lake around the water park) blue sand (hidden in the sand box, just sand with food coloring) The last item is a clue: "BANG! BOOM! BASH!" those are the sounds you used to hear from me souring out into the crowd though now i am only dry and empty although I used to be filled with loud Go there to find your next clue! (the awnser was an old bandstand.

The next sheet like this was hidden there)  There were three sheets and the last one led back to the building, where i checked their items. If they were all there, i gave them a clue on how to find the treasure chest(buried in the dry part of the park)The first team to find it, not only got first dibs on the prize, but had the loosing team serve them lunch!

Back to the Pirate Party PagePin the Parrot on the Pirate

For this,  I had traced a parrot sitting on a pirates shoulder coloring book page off of the internet by making an overhead transparency and tracing onto bulk paper.  I colored this in with marker.  Then I made numerous parrots--one for each child--with their name on it.  Using the black fabric I had leftover, I made a blindfold and each child tried to pin the parrot on the pirate.  The reward:  A toilet paper roll "telescope" my husband had spraypainted black.

Back to the Pirate Party PageCannon Ball Pop

The night before the party I placed slips of paper inside black balloons as I was blowing them up.  5 Slips said "You are a winner", the rest said "Sorry".  Kids had to pop balloons and read paper inside.  The winners collected Parrot Hats (Dollar Store) as the reward.  Other participants, got a party "blow out" pirate favor.

Back to the Pirate Party PageTreasure Hunt

Each child was given a plastic compass--Dollar General $1 for 4 to help them "find" the clues.  I made two treasure hunt boxes filled with Mardi Gras beads from Oriental Trading Company and fake money.  I placed 5 clues around the house that each team had to find and read the clues:   Time is Passing….tick, tock The next clue is… the rock  A Famous Pirate saying is "Swab the deck" This is where you'll find The next clue!  Hope these clues aren't a bore, Because the next clue is Hidden by the door  The AC holds the final clue So go get it, Your team needs you!  Look in the vacant lot for a BLACK    "X" Look in the vacant lot for a RED "X"  The last clue place had 2 plastic shovels, one for each team--the teams had to physically dig up the treasure and my husband buried it kind of deep, so it took about 10 minutes to dig up.

Back to the Pirate Party PageWalk the Plank Game

"Walk the Plank":  supplies:  blue plastic table cloth, shaving cream, blindfold.  Lay out the table cloth and make your plank with the shaving cream.  The ages of the children would determine how wide you make the space between each line of shaving cream.  The idea of the game is to walk the plank (the space between the shaving cream) blindfolded without touching the shaving cream.  We had everyone take off their socks, just in case.  I had 2 tablecloths, and good thing because this could get messy.  Everyone watched and took turns with this game.

Back to the Pirate Party PageCannon Ball Pop

"Cannonball Pop":  supplies needed:  black balloons, yarn.  blow up each balloon and attach a yarn string about 3 feet long.  When it is time to play, attach the yarn to each childs ankle, knots work better than just tying in a bow.  Object:  say "go" and each child has to break the others childrens balloons without having their own popped.  Once their balloon is popped, they are out. 


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