Last week, our youngest had his 7th birthday. I had asked him several times already, what kind of theme he wanted for his birthday party and the list was long. Basically anything boys his age like. Currently, that’s mainly Pokémon, he’s still into dinosaurs, Star Wars, Skylanders, dragons and many more.
But as you could read two weeks ago, I was on a small shopping spree at Søstrene Grene in Eindhoven. And there, I found the cutest pirate stuff. As the little guy still could not decide which way to go, I decided then and there that it had to be a pirate’s party. With loads of fun and cool accessories, like skulls and stuff.
Luckily, he was over the moon. Boy, I was glad he liked it all. Cause somehow, I was a bit anxious he wanted something else and would not agree with my plans.
We first thought about going to an indoor playground, as it’s not always a lot of fun being stuck inside with a bunch of wild boys, when the weather is bad. Yet, we did take the risk this year and planned a party at home. We would take the boys to an outdoor playground, if the weather was good. We were lucky enough last week! The sun was shining, it was about 20°C, perfect outdoor weather. And the birthday boy did not want to stay at home.
But what if it had been bad weather? I did come up with a back-up plan, with a lot of pirate’s games. Good thing is, that these can be done inside as well as outside.
Good or bad weather, we started by unpacking al the presents, while eating delicious pirate cupcakes and sipping on some refreshing fruit juice. The fun stuff I bought at Søstrene Grene came in very handy. Once everyone had arrived, we drove to the playground.
If you’re planning your pirate’s party at home, there are a lot of fun games you can do. And you don’t have to buy a lot of stuff, you probably have most things at home already.
This is actually a plain bowling game, just a bit adapted. Use a regular bowling set or, if you don’t have bowling pins, fill a couple of plastic bottles with water or sand (any bottle size will do). The fun thing is to use a real coconut for this game. A coconut is not perfectly round, so it’s a lot harder to hit the pins. No coconut? No problem. Take a ball and wrap it with newspaper and tape. Same result!
Tin Can Toss Game
Who doesn’t know this game from the fair? You can just use cans as they are of you can pimp them by painting them. Or check out Pinterest for some fun free printables you can glue on the cans.
Ball Toss Game
You can play this game in many varieties, but how much fun is it to toss a ball through a gaping shark’s mouth? Examples of a shark’s moth can also be found on Pinterest. Take a piece of cardboard or a cardboard box and draw the open mouth of a shark on it, with big sharp teeth. Cut it out and paint a grey shark head around it and paint the teeth white.
You can tell a fun story to introduce this game. Especially the bigger kids love this. Tell them that the ship’s cook wasn’t always to be trusted. So he always had to taste the food in front of the crew to show the food was safe. The ‘cook’ will be blindfolded and then you let him/her taste different things and he/she will have to guess what it is.
For the smaller kids, you could use yogurt, candy, a piece of bread, sausage. For the bigger kids, you can make it a bit more exciting, by letting them taste something sour of hot, strange textures.
What is that?
This is always hilarious, and just for the kids. Take a cardboard box and cut two holes on the top or on the side, where your hand fits through. But don’t make them too large to prevent them from seeing what’s inside. Then put some items with different textures in it. For most, it’s creepy to reach in a box and don’t know what to find. Let them guess what they feel. Take something soft, hard, fluffy, wet, grainy etc.
In a toy store, I found a plastic hook (just like Captain Hook has). If you can’t find one or don’t want to buy one, you can make one yourself by using a coat hanger and wrapping some tape around the hook. Now let them try to fish the pretzels out of a bowl. Be sure to use the small pretzels, that’s a lot harder!
Tug of war
Tug of war is a real classic. Build a pirate’s story around it: you’re trying to board each other’s ship and you have to ‘bring in’ the crew from the other ship.
This needs some prepping. You can draw a map yourself, but there are numerous examples to be found online. Hide all the clues, let one lead to the next. At the end, they find the treasure. Be sure to have everything out of sight, so they won’t see any clues upon arrival. You can set this up inside as well as outside.
Finally, a few tips:
- In order not to have them wait too long for their turn and start running around, divide them into smaller groups (depending on how many adults there are to lead). Take turns at the different games.
- There are always kids who are better/faster/smarter at the games than others. To prevent the same kids to win all prizes, you can build a story around this as well. Pirates always hand over their loot to the captain. The captain will then divide everything evenly among the crew. Instead of having real prizes at the games, you could use plastic gold coins. The kids can take the divided treasure home in their loot bags.