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Pin a Face on the Pumpkin Activity

Pin a Face on the Pumpkin

Pin a Face on the Pumpkin


By cutting out various shape and size eyes, noses and mouths, kids can make their own scary pumpkin that is fun for any age since there is no cutting involved.

We played this game for a Halloween party at our home. This could easily be done during a birthday party or just a regular Halloween party. And it can be adapted for anything. You could do a ghost, scary face, pin the wart on the witch….lots of things come to mind. We liked the pumpkin as we bought small pumpkins for each of the kids to take home.

Simply have an assortment of the eyes, noses and mouths cut out and ready to go. We use small stick pins that would easily go into the pumpkin but would hurt too much if the kids got stuck elsewhere..:( With an orange blind fold and a little dizzy turn for the older kids or just walking the younger ones close to the pumpkin, they are ready to go.

It’s always amazing to me how kids love to be blindfolded to play an activity. Even if it’s not pin the face on the pumpkin finding an activity that includes a blindfold will insure the game is successful!

Pirate Birthday Party Games

Pirate Scavenger Hunt Party Game

Pirate Scavenger Hunt Party Game

 

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.

Pirate Tatoos

Pirate Tatoos

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.

Pirate Salute

Pirate Salute

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

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!

Real Pirates to Visit Birthday Party

Real Pirate at PartyHonestly, 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.

Pirate Birthday Party Main Event

How I Became a Pirate Musical

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.

 

Backstage at How I Became A Pirate

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.

Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

Downtown Pirate Scavenger Hunt

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.  
Treasure Hunt Map

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.

Pirate Skull Head Pinata

Pirate Pinata

Pirate Pinata

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.

Pirate Birthday Party Reading Activity

Reading "How I Became a Pirate"

Reading "How I Became a Pirate"


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!

Pirate Birthday Party Captain

Pirate Party Captain

Pirate Party Captain


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!

Pirate Birthday Party Warm Up Guy

Pirate Party Balloon Maker

Pirate Party Balloon Maker


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.

Magic Show Birthday Party

Magic Birthday Party

Magic Birthday Party


Magic Show Birthday Parties are becoming very popular. And what’s a magic themed birthday party without a real magician? For the right age kid, it can really be fun for them. This birthday boy is obviously having a great time.

I’ve been to several of these types of parties over the last year or so and really it doesn’t matter much how good your magician is. The kids seem to love all level of talented magician. There was one in particular that the adults didn’t really care for but the kids loved him. Then there have been others that both adults and kids love. The best way to find these guys is just by word of mouth referrals.

Magic Show Birthday Party

Magic Show Birthday Party

As you can tell by the faces of these kids, this magician was a bit hit. I will say that kids get to a certain age and they really try figuring out how the tricks work. You’ll have to base it on your child and their friends. But I think that the perfect age range for a magician is where the kids are from say 4 to 8…..maybe 9. At some point, they start heckling the magician and that’s not fun.

This particular magician was at a birthday party for a 5 year old and his name is Presto from Portland, OR. I’ll just say that the kids loved him.

Sometimes ya gotta let ‘em PLAY!

Play Time

Play Time

It really doesn’t matter the age of a child…..you give them a few balls or riding toys or a net and a gym and the kids will figure out something to play! This party was in a neighborhood gym and these parties really end up being the easiest parties that still let you put your own mark on.

Many times when I’m planning a party, I think of all the cool places that are out there that we could have a party at…..you know the places. But when it comes to being able to individualize the party, it’s really tough. Now, I’m sure that’s my own hangup and not one that my children share but it really does make a difference to personalize a party.

When you want to personalize a party it doesn’t mean that you have to plan and schedule every second of the party. Have the party at a location that lends it’self to free play. You can eat up 30 min to an hour with the kids just getting their wiggles out.

Don’t be afraid of the down time and let them make their own fun with free play.

Play!

Play!

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Birthday Pinatas don’t have to be traditional! It is much easier to find a pinata that matches the theme of the party you are having. But if you can find a unique decoration like this one, go for it.

The mom of the birthday girl found this decoration that a local store was about to discard. She took it, filled the center hole with candy and put some plastic in front to secure the candy. This party was for 4 year olds so she knew that her pinata wouldn’t be torn up that much. Even if it was, it didn’t really matter.

So, when thinking of having a birthday party pinata, think outside of the box and don’t feel like you can only use a pre-made pinata. Or even have your kids make one…….who knows.

Birthday Party Music

Birthday Party Music

Birthday Party Music

Setting the mood of your birthday party is just as important as with an evening cocktail party. Besides everyone being incredibly visual, folks are also auditory. I know that I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know! But when you are planning a birthday party, especially for kids, you get all caught up in the minutia of the party and forget about some of the other important details.

Now that Ipods are so popular, providing your own music can not be easier. Really you can’t go wrong with background music. We’ve been to parties where the music is all kids oriented and others where the music is more along what the parents like. And to my surprise, the kids love much of the adult music as well. As long as it’s up beat, the kids will love it.

If anyone is interested in play lists, let me know and I’ll get my husband on it. He’s the one in charge of music in our house! Just let me know.

Outdoor Birthday Party Games

Outdoor Birthday Party Games for Kids

Outdoor Birthday Party Games for Kids


When it comes to outdoor Birthday Party Games, the old faithful seem to win out over all others. Pretty much any game that can be played inside can be played outside. But not vise versa….. We’ve been to several birthday parties and the best games and activities are the ones I played when I was little! And I’m not even going to begin to tell you how long ago that was.
Outdoor Birthday Party Games

Outdoor Birthday Party Games


Having a water hose attached to pretty much anything can provide a long span of fun for almost any kid. Especially if it’s hot outside. If you plan to do this, it’s always helpful to give the parents a heads up to bring a bathing suit. But even if they forget, up to a certain age, the kids can just strip down to their skibbies. Why not?

I’ve seen all variations of pin the tail on the ??? You fill in the blank. In our outdoor bug party, they pinned the spots on the lady bug. I had at a winter party, pin the parts on a snowman. Use your imagination here but these can be fun for many ages. I will admit that kids that are about 5 or 6 and up have more fun with this game. The little ones don’t seem to get as much out of it and lose interest pretty quickly.

Outdoor Birthday Games

Outdoor Birthday Games

For older kids, sometimes all you need to do is to carry along a bag full of sports equipment. At this party, they had 3 hula hoops set out. This is a skill that ages 5 or 6 and older have got down but much younger they don’t. And throwing a ball back and forth takes too much effort on a parents part. But for older kids, it’s a great time filler. Our super hero party that we’ve highlighted, had an obstacle course outside. I’ve seen duck duck goose done effectively. Face painting. Don’t let the outdoor party part of it throw you. Let your imagination go free and enjoy being outdoor for your kids’ birthday party!

Sleepover Birthday Party Idea

Making Pizzas at a Sleepover Party

Making Pizzas at a Sleepover Party

This idea is a great way to kill two birds with one stone! At this Almost Sleepover Birthday Party, the girls got to put the toppings of their choice on their own pizza square. It was a great idea to get the girls involved in the party AND it took up some time which can be a mom’s worst nightmare…….what am I going to do with all these girls for 4 hours…..

You can buy pre-made pizza crust at many grocery stores. Roll it out yourself and place on the baking sheets. Let the kids put on the sauce or it might be easier for the mom to do it. Then have bowls of cheese, pepperoni slices, peppers, mushrooms….anything you think the kids would like. Then one at a time, let them prepare their own slice just the way they like it.

Send them to tear up your daughter’s room and a few minutes later, the pizzas are ready!

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

Almost Sleepover Craft Table

Almost Sleepover Craft Table


I don’t care the age, I don’t care the sex, I don’t care what kind of party it is or just gathering for that matter…….having an organized ice breaker at the beginning always starts the party off right. Now, I’m not talking about a silly ice breaker. I’m talking about a planned activity that is ready to go as folks walk in the door. I’ve watched adults and children hesitantly walk into a room when there is a great deal of commotion and it takes them a while to warm up. Then I’ve watched the same kids walk in and immediately sit down to a project with other kids and they are engaged right off the bat.

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

At this almost sleepover party, the hosted had the idea to let the girls decorate their own craft supply caddy to take home. It was very timely as it had just been valentines and my daughter for one came home with a box full of craft supplies! So this was a great idea for her to keep all those supplies right where should could use them when she wanted.

I’m not sure where these boxes were purchased cut with “storage” and organizing being the thing right now, you can find a myriad of things out there at hobby shops and scrapbooking supply stores. Provide the storage box and a little permanent paint and the kids provide the creativity. Honestly this could be done for any age kindergarten and up.

Halloween Costume Contest

Halloween Costume Contest Winner

Halloween Costume Contest Winner

Having a Halloween Party or a Halloween Birthday Party? Make it more festive by encouraging everyone to dress up…..even moms and dads.

We had a kid Halloween Party and to encourage everyone to dress up, we gave prizes for the best or most creative costume. Funny enough both winners (mom and kid) were pirates!

For the moms we gave an orange spatula and I can’t even remember what we gave the child winner but just about anything works. It’s all about the fashion show and suspense of who wins!

Resources: We found the orange spatula at William Sonoma. During the holidays they have lots of fun items. If not, Halloween is just about the easiest time to find holiday items that would be fun prizes!

Playdough Recipe

Kids Making Playdough

Kids Making Playdough



Making playdough can be a rewarding activity for kids of many ages no matter if it’s at home or during a party. I make playdough with my kids all the time. They love working with the dough. I just make sure to plan the activity on a day that I don’t care if my kitchen gets messed up!!!

Following are some recipes that I’ve accumulated. My favorite is recipe #1. I would recommend you try them all and see which one works best for you. All the recipes for the playdough are very similar. Only slight variations but as with baking, slight variations will make very different playdough.

Play Dough Recipe #1

Directions:
Mix together dry ingredients:
2 Cups White Flour
1 Cup Salt
4 tsp Cream of Tarter

To 2 Cups of Boiling Water, add:
4 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 tsp Food Coloring

Pour liquids into the dry ingredients and stir well. When slightly cooled, knead for a few minutes until smooth.

Hint: Use and electric mixer and it’s sooo easy. If you are doing it by hand and the kids are helping, you might choose to put the food coloring into the dough after it is kneaded. And the better or more concentrated the food coloring is, the brighter the color of play dough you will get.

Play Dough Recipe #2

Directions:
Mix together:
1 Cup Salt
3 Cups Flour
4 tsp Cream of Tarter
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1 1/4 Cup Boiling Water
Food Coloring

Makes 4 small plastic containers of Play Dough

Play Dough Recipe #3

Directions:
Mix Together in Saucepan,
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
3 tsp Cream of Tarter
2 1/4 Cups Water

Cook above over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes until batter is like mashed potatoes. Pull of stove and let cool. Add food coloring into the mixer or add later when the kids can knead it in.

Be sure and keep the playdough in an airtight container or a plastic storage bag and your playdough can last up to a month!

Kids Making Playdough

Kids Making Playdough

Kids Making Playdough


I’m about to share with you an activity that did not work out so well…..but only because the kids were a little young. For my daughter’s 3rd Creative Art Birthday Party, we decided to have an activity for the kids to do when they arrived at the party. And what could be more fun than making playdough?

Well, it was not so much fun for this age. I recommend you consider this as a GREAT activity but do it for ages 5 and up. At 3 they were still a little hesitant to get their hands goopy.

I had little containers already measured out with the dry ingredients. All the kids had to do was to dump the playdough ingredients into bowls and add water. Mix with your fingers and add a little food coloring. Easy craft or activity for a kids party. Maybe a little messy but super fun.

My kids are older now and they just die to help me make playdough. And love that they’ve done it themselves!

Resources: We have several playdough recipes that we’d like to share with you.

Princess Theme Party Puppet Show

Princess Party Puppet Show

Princess Party Puppet Show


Once all of your guests have arrived to your Princess Theme Party, a great idea is to have a puppet show set up in another part of your home for the kids to move to. This idea is great for younger children as it’s all really magical for them. Most cities have puppet show artists that you can hire. Super easy and you don’t have to be in charge of too many activities or games!

The puppet production groups will often have multiple shows that can fit within your party theme. If they don’t advertise one that you think will work for you, feel free to ask them if they could put one together for your particular theme. These folks are often very creative and can come up with a show very easily.

Resources: The puppeteer for this party was Penny’s Puppet Productions for Birthday Fun.


Photo taken by Amy Hall Photography, Portland, OR.