Handwritten thank you notes are more important now than ever before. I remember XXX years ago when I would get a thank you note, handwritten, in the mail ALL the time. For volunteer activities, for gifts given or just someone thanking me for taking the time to do something special for them. Because of email folks have gotten lazy. And frankly our lives may be even busier. Regardless, I feel that it’s important that we teach our children the art of thanking people properly for gifts and special gestures.
To encourage my daughter to be excited about writing her thank you notes for her Halloween Themed birthday, I had a friend who creates stationery come up with these cards. Now, depending on the abilities and age of your child, they may or may not do the whole thing. You child may only be able to sign their name. Or they can write the note but you need to address the envelopes. Or maybe they can fill in the blank what they received. Whatever your child can do, I encourage you to have them do it. I know that after the planning and implementing of a party, we tend to be exhausted. Don’t forget to “tie the bow” on the package.
I LOVED these popup ship birthday invitations that I created for my son’s Pirate themed birthday party. I will say over and over the an invitation sets the mood for a party. So, don’t skimp!!! He was turning 5 and was in preschool at the time. We invited everyone from preschool so it was very easy to put the invitation in their boxes. If you were mailing these, I might put extra reinforcements in the envelope to insure they didn’t get messed up before the kids saw them.
I’m not going to lie to you, this too some time to make! And I didn’t make up the template. I found a wonderful artist who shares some basic pop up invitation templates and this is one of them. His web address is below. I made the card part blue like water and the ships black. Under the white sails you see here is a black sail that is part of the template. I drew off the 3 sails and then oriented my printer to print off the invitation on them. You can see the wording I used on the post just below if you are in the Pirate Party section.
After you print off the wording, just glue onto the sails. I also found these skull and crossbone stickers online that I added to the front of the ship so it wouldn’t look so plain.
The kids loved them! That is what is fun about it. Is the look in their eyes when they are opening and closing the card. Because I don’t know if you were like me but if we had nice pop up books, the kids weren’t allowed to put their hands on them because they would tear up. Well there is no worries here. Let them play with the invitations until they do tear up. What’s the fun of putting something like this on a shelf!
When you are creating a party invitation no matter if it’s for a birthday party or just for a dinner party, wording can be very important. It not only gives details for the party itself but it can peak your interest and make you excited to attend the party. I know it has become acceptable to use evites and such to invite folks to parties……but thing about yourself and your own reactions. Are you more excited about a party that you received an evite for? Or are you more excited or are your kids more excited for a paper invitation that came in the mail. I implore you to continue to send personal invitations through the mail. And if you are reading things I’m probably preaching to the choir!
For my son’s pirate birthday party, I created these pop up pirate ships which I talk about in another post. Below I’ve outlined for you what I included as the invitation wording. Since I wanted to be more creative with the invitation, I didn’t get whole lot of details on the sail. This is the party where we attended the How I Became A Pirate show and so there were several drop off and pickup details that I had to include in an insert for the parents. Don’t feel bad about doing that. And really, that is a great way to put the details because often the invitations get whisked away before the parents get a good look at them. But the kids don’t care much about a plain piece of paper with a bunch of words on them.
For our invitation the wording went like this:
Saturday, April 2
Set your Sails for a
Land Far Away.
Where only Pirates
Live and Play.
Come and Seek your Loot
Aboard Brad’s Birthday Sloop!
Looking down to the finest detail of mailing your birthday party invitations and thank you notes with the perfect stamp shows that you have planned your party down to the finest detail. I always say that the invitation sets the tone for a birthday party. Adding a stamp that follows the theme always looks nice.
My kids jump up and down anytime there is ANYTHING in the mail that is addressed to or for them. Face it, if it’s not a bill or junk mail I love to get mail too. Make it as special as you can!
Celebrate Stamp perfect for any Birthday theme.
The US postal service is starting to catch on. I just received an email where they actually advertised this page as stamps to use on birthday party invitations on eBay. As I’m about to plan my daughter’s birthday party in a few months, I was intrigued. There isn’t anything that is perfect for the theme we’ve chosen but I can see how several of them would still work.
By using a postage stamp that screams a special ocassion, you are making a first impression. Using ones that are already designed by the postal service is the most economic way to go. We’ve made our own stamps which I’ll share with you another day but these Celebrate Stamps work with all parties!
It’s all in the details. For this Pirate Party, I made pop up ships that you can see in another post. But I didn’t want to stop there. Because I wasn’t getting pre-made cards, I didn’t have envelopes. There are tons of folks on the web who sell envelops the size, shape and color you want. And you don’t have to purchase a ton. For the life of me I can’t find the site that I purchased mine from, but it really doesn’t matter.
The return address labels were fun. I had gotten in the mail an opportunity to make these for free from shutterfly.com. What timing? It was for one sheet only and I took advantage of it and the costs for this were minimal. Whatever shipping was which was like $3. The black labels didn’t show up very well on the black envelope, so I found these great round brown stickers at PaperSource.com that I placed under them to made them pop. Because my son was in preschool and we were inviting the whole class, I was able to just address them to the kids first names and slipped the invites in to their boxes at school. I selected this ornate gothic font to go with the theme. Again, details.
On the back of the invitations, I placed a jolly rogers flag. There is a great site, flagline.com where I was able to find some creative stickers for this. The kids notice every little detail so don’t miss things you might take for granted yourself.
Pirate Birthday Parties lend themselves to lots of creative ideas. And it’s a theme that is liked by young and old. This Pirate party that we went to, there were several different short activities which kept the kids on their toes. Actually, it was in the back of a pirate store in Portland, OR and one of their staff ran the party. What a great marketing idea for the store.
The name of the store was Captain Henry’s Pirate Store in the Lloyd Center mall. They had a table set up in the back where you could bring in cake and snacks and totally ran the rest of the party.
These were some of the activities that the kids participated in. I’ve talked about a few others in their own posts. The top photo is a pirate scavenger hunt game. The kids had to look around for these little arm bands and when they found them, they had to run over to the sword and place them on the sword. They may have been split up into teams but that isn’t necessary.
There was a time that each kid received their own tatoo. If there is a party built for tatoos it’s a Pirate Party. Let the kids put them on each other….depending on their age.
To be a proper pirate you must learn the salute. The captain had a whistle around her neck and any time throughout the party that she blew it, the kids had to stop and issue their salute and say “Aye Aye Captain.” Love keeping those kids in line. Captain didn’t always do it to get their attention. She did it between games. You might just do it for fun to see who is really paying attention.
Pirate Walk the Plank Game
To end the party, the mates were required to walk the plank. It was meant for them to exit the party and it was time to go and not really a game. Problem was the kids had so much fun “walking the plank” that they went to the back of the line over and over again. The plank was simply a couple of 2 x 4s nailed together. I can see this as a fun way to end all pirate parties!
Honestly, there are not many people children or adults that don’t like to see someone dressed up! I often wonder what it is. Do children and adults like to have one bit of fantasy in this reality world? Do we feel like we too could be a character with them. I don’t know. But no matter if it is a cow or chicken standing on the roadside or someone like this pirate, kids especially are drawn to them.
For one of your birthday parties you should have someone show up in costume. You can either hire a guy like this pirate or talk the favorite uncle into dressing up. You can probably get a deal on the costume if it’s not around Halloween. There are tons of cool ones that go with almost every party theme at the adult costume shops.
What do they do you ask? Well, really they don’t have to do much. They could read a book like you can see in another post we have. Lead the games. Bring a pet bird or other animal that fits within your theme for the kids to pet. Or just hang out like they are attending the party as well. The more they ham it up, the more the kids will like it.
I actually can’t take credit for this one. He was wandering around the theater we had my son’s Pirate Birthday Party trying to talk up a festival. None-the-less he was a big draw to our kids and we spent a lot of time talking to him and his bird.
Every time you are planning a party, you need to have a main event. Whether that event is going to some jumpy house place or the park or to a show!!! In Portland, we have a wonderful Children’s theatre. If you are luck enough to have one in your area. Keep tabs on what they are showing as it could lend a helping hand to planning the perfect party event.
Honestly, I knew that the musical was coming to town and would be showing during my son’s birthday. So, I kind of talked him into a pirate theme thinking that it would be fun to take the kids to the musical from one of their favorite books! Not only did they LOVE the musical but it kept me from having to think of games to play and really didn’t cost more than renting out a venue.
How I became a Pirate is one of my son’s favorite books and they would read it in preschool frequently. Since we were inviting all the kids from his preschool class, we also invited the teacher. Speaking of teachers…..if you have a good relationship with your child’s teacher, inviting them to the party can be a treat for them. They don’t get invited to many and if you are planning a show stopper you should go ahead and invite them. And because they know the kids so well, they end up helping. It’s great!
Anyway, we purchased tickets for all the kids to come to the show. Had the parents drop them off at a certain door so they wouldn’t have to park and gathered all the kids in the lobby. Since we were expecting about 10 kids, we arrived at the theater early and ended up meeting some of the cast, getting a signed poster and my son was able to go “backstage” as you can see in this photo before the musical. What a treat that we did not expect. Businesses and events are generally thankful if you are bringing a group of people and will often show that in kind ways.
So, next time you are planning a party, just look around in the newspaper, on your street and at the businesses and universities close by to help those creative juices flow when planning the main event for your next birthday party.
My son felt like there should be rules for the Pirate Party hunt. They were in preschool and accustomed to walking the city streets and every time they went out, they had rules. So, after our show and before the scavenger hunt we revealed the Pirates Code of Rules for the party. So, here are Pirate Harris’ Birthday Rules!
I. No hitting each other. (remember, these were made up by a 5 year old)
II. No doing bad stuff.
III. No saying bad words.
IV. No arguing.
V. Say “Arrrrr” whenever you want to. Arrrr means Please & Thank you.
VI. HAVE FUN!
That was it! There were many other things I thought of like, stay on the sidewalk and don’t wander away but those were shot down. At some point, you do have to realize that the party is not for you but for your kids so you have do what they want…..at least some of the time.
I just wrote the rules on some tissue paper. Would have been cool if it had been an old looking parchment or something but I didn’t have anything like that that this idea was somewhat last minute…They best rule that he came up with was to HAVE FUN!
Many birthday parties could have a scavenger or a treasure hunt. But the activity just lends it’self to pirates and looting.
At my son’s birthday party, we needed a way to get from point A to point B in downtown Portland. You could plan this activity no matter if you are in your own backyard, in the city or even on your block with a couple of houses/neighbors involved.
To prepare for the walk….aka….treasure hunt, I took my kids and we walked it together one afternoon. I plotted out where we might hide the treasure bags that you can see in a different post. I plotted out the number of blocks and how far it was. But MOST importantly for me, I wanted to make sure my kids could walk it while being safe and without getting tired.
The birthday party started at a children’s theater show and ended at a Ben & Jerry’s in downtown Portland. The hunt was a GREAT way to get the kids from one place to another. They were excited to look for treasure and they NEVER whined about it being too far to walk.
If you tried to do this in your backyard, it might be a very quick activity….unless you could actually bury buckets of loot. Which could be super fun. But I can see how a neighborhood/block one would work nicely hiding in and around houses, trash cans, work sheds or other out buildings.
I wanted the map to look more old fashioned. So, I didn’t draw it on my computer to print out. Rather I hand drew it and didn’t even use a ruler. Then I made copies on old paper for the kids to each have.
Since we were having our Pirate’s treasure hunt in a major city, we didn’t trust that folks would leave the loot bags alone. To keep everything safe, my husband went ahead of us a few blocks and would deposit the loot bags at the designated points. Because the kids were 5 it worked. If they were 9 or 10, he would have had to be more inconspicuous.
In the end it was a perfect pirate party activity and the kids loved it.
This is a photo of part of the loot that was in the scavenger hunt that we had for my son’s party. The first thing the kids got was a bandanna that I made from black polka dotted fabric. Depending on the age of the kids, you may want to make yours bigger. I made mine 22″ square. And honestly, I went the quick route. I didn’t hem them or anything. Just cut the size and ripped the fabric. The little pirates looked so cut walking down the street all wearing their pirate bandanas. And years later, this is the one thing that my kids still play with.
In addition to the bandana, the kids searched for coins, tatoos, hats, jewels and other items. The long black thing in the photo above was an inexpensive telescope that I found. At the beginning of the hunt, we gave them all pirate backpacks that we ordered from Oriental Trading. You can see it in the background of the above photo.
The below photo was a take away bag that my kids received from another pirate party that they went to. I don’t know what it is about little, please excuse me, crap……they just love it. And the more the better. I try hard in this blog to give you favor ideas that are things your guests will just to home and throw away. But sometimes you just have to relent.
Pirate Loot Grab Bags
At party stores or even Oriental Trading you can get all kinds of inexpensive loot items. The jewels we got at the craft store and they were “crystals” or just rhinestones if you are an adult. You could even put rocks in there and call them pirate moon rocks. Kids imaginations are just wonderful.
Pirate Bandanas were made from fabric that you can find at any fabric or quilting store.
The “Crystals” were found at a local craft store. Most of the time are sold in little bags. These weren’t cheap so we didn’t have many of those.
Then for the backpacks, hats and such: www.OrientalTrading.com
At my son’s pirate party, we were downtown in a bigger city. After the main event at the children’s theater we had about 6 blocks to walk with preschool age kids. So, I wanted to keep it exciting for them along the way. They each got small bags to carry their “loot” in. But along the way, we had these bags strategically placed with booty inside them.
To make the bags, I took some velvet and made a simple bag. Actually, you can’t tell but the fabric was a dark dark green that I had left over from a dress from years ago. But purchasing some inexpensive black fabric would do just the same. I didn’t want to make ties at the top. The simple the better. So, I basically took the width of the fabric and cut lengths of 23″
I made 3 bags but you might be able to get away with one if you have someone refilling the bags and going ahead of you on the hunt. Depends on what kind of scavenger hunt you have. To make the bag, all I did was folded the fabric in half allowing the edge of the fabric be at the top…..because I don’t want to have to hem anything….sew up the sides and you are done sewing.
Use Transfer Art pages to transfer the image to the bag. (Note that I enlarged the template before copying it on to the transfer page.) I printed off the design, cut it out and ironed it on. This can be tricky. You might take a scrap and practice before doing a real one. Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple.
Then since I didn’t want to sew in a drawstring, I purchased some trim with fake coins on it to tie off the bags. Simple enough! And by the way. There are smaller bags to be found on the web but at the time there wasn’t anything large enough to put “stuff” in, thus the reason for making my own loot bags.
These thank you notes to my son’s 5th Pirate Themed Birthday Party were as simple as a photo graph. The photo was taken during the party. I simply went through all the group photos and picked the one I like. This one was during the treasure hunt through downtown Portland, OR.
After selecting the photo you like, print off enough for thank you notes and you are done. Now, if you don’t have a group photo that you like, select different ones for each kid. No one sees them but the recipient anyway and they are the ones that are most important.
I just wrote on the back of these like a post card. You can find postcard backing stickers if you wish. Or at Office Depot you can get stickers that are the size of the photo if you don’t want to write on the slick photo paper. AND if you don’t want to send these through the mail as a post card, you can slip them into an envelope. But, I think it’s fun for the kids to see it in the mail and not have to open it. It’s amazing how your kid will be drawn to the photo right off the bat.
Because my son was 5, I still wrote the thank you notes for him. One day he will be old enough to do it himself but not yet!!!
This pirate party birthday cake decorated with a skull & crossbones was just the best. The best part about it is that I didn’t have to make it! Don’t get me wrong……I LOVE to make the party cakes. Mostly because my kids know that I’ve made them and that makes the party special. BUT I’m not the best decorator. There are tons of other folks out there who can decorate cakes better than I can. And it seems like I’m up ’til all hours the night before the party when I need to be getting sleep!
This party was held in the downtown Portland, OR area. I want to the Ben & Jerry’s that was about 5 blocks from a show that we were seeing and asked if they could come up with a pirate style birthday cake. The cake designer was so excited that she was able to be creative and that I just let her go. This can go both ways of course but I had seen some of her work and knew that she was talented. So, I let her go and that took one big job off of my plate.
Now, having said all that…..if you want to create your own skull & crossbones or pirate birthday cake, you can certainly take this design and tweak it to make it your own. Loved the colors and loved how it turned out.
This was an ice cream pirate cake. I think I’ve said this before, but please please take it out of the freezer in time to let it soften or it will NOT cut. Ask the ice cream store what they recommend as all types are a bit different in hardness. They will be able to advise you. Also have a cup of warm water to dip the knife in and this will help as well but won’t solve it being hard as a rock.
Getting the wording just right for your child’s birthday party invitation can be daunting. It certainly makes the invitation more personal if you can come up with at least one line of creative writing. No need to make it up yourself! Use ours. I doubt any of the children coming to your party came to this one!
Wording goes like this:
Shiver Me Timbers
Captain Carson is Turning 7!
Join us for cupcakes and Gorg
As we celebrate his big day!
Sunday, October 24th 2:00 -3:30 pm
Captain Henry’s Pirate Store
At Lloyd Center
(Located on the 2nd floor next to Eddie Bauer,
and near the ice skating rink.)
RSVP Ye Landlubbers to 503-222-5555
Invitation from Paper So Pretty out of Dallas TX.
What was also fun was when the invitation had a pirate sticker covering up the fold of the envelope. So, you knew when it came in the mail something great was inside. How often do we get exciting things in the mail these days? And can you imagine what a kid feels like when they get mail? Start the excitement with the envelope!
You know Pinatas are really fun for kids to have at birthday parties. And having a pirate skull head is the best!
I don’t believe the hostess made this one but there is no reason why you couldn’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve personally made a pinata but maybe I’ll endeavor one and give you a run down. But this one looks super simple. Just a balloon and some paper sticking out for the cross bones would be all you need for this pirate paper mache pinata.
Speaking of making the pinata for a pirate party….why not have your kid be involved in making their own pinata for their birthday party. My daughter is in first grade and she just did paper mache in her class and did a great job. It may not look like a professional but if your child is like mine, she love to be involved in the planning process……when I let her……I know that’s terrible.
What ever you decide, kids never tire of smacking something like a pinata with a bat. Might as well be something you don’t mind them tearing up. Fill it full and don’t forget to hold some back for the kids who aren’t as aggressive and don’t get any candy.
Ar….There is nothing better for a birthday party than a little story time activity. Especially during a Pirate Birthday Party that can easily get out of control, a story being read will calm those crazy energy bugs down!
The great thing about this activity during a Pirate party is not only that this type of party can be crazy. But there are some great Pirate books out there that can be read. You can even have the kids participate by repeating the words that the crew does.
My favorites are: How I Became A Pirate and Pirates Don’t Change Diapers. I think you would be hard pressed to not find this author. And if I’m not mistaken, I think there is another coming out. These stories are very fun and a great activity for a Pirate Party!
Let me hear you say “Arh.” These were common words to hear coming out of this captain’s mouth. At birthday parties, moms and dads are often busying around with the party and all the details that go with it and aren’t enjoying the party itself. Whether it’s a pirate party or another theme altogether, you are going to have the same experience.
Just like you might hire a caterer or servers for a dinner party, hire a party “captain.” This gal was part of a package that the birthday boy’s mom purchased at a local store that sells pirate garb. But even if you are having your party at home, you can still do this. Now, I’m not talking about an entertainer. I’m talking about a person who takes the planning that you have set into motion and carries it out. This leaves you to pay attention to the pirates or to other moms.
A college student would be perfect but really any responsible kid could carry it all out. My daughter “big kid helps” at my son’s preschool. She is only 7 and totally guides the little ones in the activities for the day. I don’t see why she wouldn’t be able to carry out the basic functions of a birthday party if she were allowed to be in charge.
Regardless or not if you have someone else run the party for you or it’s you yourself running the party….don your favorite pirate captain’s costume and it will make the party all that much more fun for the kids. And it helps you get into character as well!
We recently went to a Pirate Birthday Party at one of our local malls. The store was a Pirate themed store and in the back they had an area for the kids table and room for activities. What a great idea to generate extra revenue for those guys!!!
Anyway, during party times and peak times, they have a “warm up” guy out front of the store to greet the kids. He makes all kinds of balloons into swords and hats and whatever can be dreamed up. I can see this being a fun addition to the beginning of any birthday party. Really not even just Pirate parties. There are tons of clowns and balloon guys around who could do this to warm kids up and set the tone for the party.
So for the next Pirate or other type of Birthday party, consider just having a balloon maker come to warm the kids up or to be the primary entertainment.
So, as you all know the Build A Bear stores are all in the malls. That is a good and a bad thing but when our kids want a certain type of party we make do with what we have…..right?
This party ended with the kids having a snack outside the Build A Bear store in the middle of the mall walkway! They so don’t care. And if it’s a mall that has tables around, you can just move a few in front of the store. Now depending on your mall, you MIGHT have to talk with them and let them know what you are doing. But I don’t think it would be a problem. People are eating out in the mall hallways all the time.
There are several positive aspects about this. You have control over the food and cake. Often when you go to certain party places, they require that you use their food and cake. Not the case here! And it’s indoors. So, no matter what time of year it will be warm and dry. Always a plus. I had a party for my son last year that was FREEZING in May and it was outside. Disaster.
Anyway, even though you are thinking of having a party at a particular store in a mall, don’t let that box you in. No matter if it’s Build A Bear or some other store, think outside the store and use your surroundings.
Hi! I'm Holly with my daughter Anne. We are pleased that you too like to organize creative birthday parties for your kids! Learn Why I started this Blog.
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