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
Use this Skull & Crossbones Decal on your loot bags.
Easy to apply Skull & Crossbones decal. We used these on our loot bags for a birthday party but they can easily be used on anything. T-Shirts come to immediate mind but anything fabric would work. Feel free to use our Free Template for your personal use. Once you download it you will see that you’ll want to enlarge it on a copy machine to the size you require.
Resources: Avery T-Shirt Transfer paper found at most office supply stores.
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!
What kind of pirate birthday party do you think you’ll have without a little Pirate Booty????? I’m sure that there are more snacks out there that include the word pirate. But this one is an all natural snack for your kids. And at a party, the kids will devour it!
Pirates in general didn’t have the best diet…..or I would imagine. All the photos I’ve ever seen their teeth are all gnarly, skin atrocious and overweight. Who knows, they may have been healthy guys but all the photos and drawings like to show awful portraits of the pesky fellows. But that doesn’t mean that your kids have to eat trash at your child’s pirate birthday party.
I’ve never bought Pirate Booty online. We have it here at our Trader Joes. If you don’t have a Trader Joes, there are tons of places online that sell the yummy snack. The full name is Roberts’s Gourmet Pirate’s Booty. Comes in cheddar, bbq, veggie and others. Just do a search for the name and you’ll get lots of results. Enjoy!
Setting the stage for a party can easily be done at the feast table. And when you are talking about a Pirate Birthday Party, a Feast Table is just what it is. It doesn’t take much to create an inviting place. Use a few things from home or even find objects at the local thrift store.
This pirate’s table has some simple square red and white check table cloths draped along the length of it. Then in the center, you can see some lanterns that might have been hung on the back of a pirate ship. You could pull some tarnished pieces out of the cabinet to put along the center of the table. But if you don’t want to risk something happening to your own items, you can certainly head on down to the local thrift store to find some nifty booty. They always have silver and brass items that folks aren’t interested in purchasing that would be perfect for the center of a pirate’s table.
Spread some coins either real or chocolate wrapped and some booty and your centerpieces are set for your Pirate’s Birthday Party Feast Table!
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.
If you are having a bear themed party or even a formal Build A Bear Party, go out on a limb and make a cake that looks like your child’s favorite bear!!! Honestly it’s not that hard. Just a little time and tlc. As you can see, this cake looks just like the birthday girls favorite Build A Bear.
The mom took the bear and as you can see next put it right next to her work as she was making it. Don’t forget when you are cutting out and preparing your own custom cake that you do it on the serving platter or plate.
Bear Cake Process
One thing you may or may not be able to tell is that the bear has a double layer of cake on the nose to make it higher.
Honestly, these are my favorite kind of cakes. You can certainly pay several hundred dollars for a beautifully decorated cake and if you don’t have the time or don’t want to fool with making the cake yourself then I’m not downing the idea at all! I just like to stay up ’til midnight the day before my kids parties to make and decorate home made custom cakes…..ha! Seriously, it does take some time. But the kids love it no matter what it looks like and they do see the time you are putting in to THEIR Birthday cake.
Resources: This cake was made by a friend, Kerry Scroggins, and was willing to allow me to share her masterpiece.
Anywhere from a first birthday for as long as kids love stuffed animals, you can have a teddy bear themed birthday party. My daughter recently attended a birthday party at Build a Bear and she is in the 1st grade. We were even at the mall this weekend and there was a girl walking out with a Build a Bear box and she had to have been in like 5th or 6th grade. So, it’s just up to your child and their interests as to what age you can have a party like this.
Teddy Bear Pop Up Birthday Party Invitation Wording
Anyway, let’s talk invitations!!! This is another really cute popup I found that can be generic or for the Build A Bear Birthday Parties! So simple to make in comparison to some of the other popups. You could do a bunch in no time. This is even one that your daughter or son could help you cut out. Below is a link to the website where you can find the templates for the pop up cards.
Suggested wording as follows (just print it out on your computer before attaching the bear):
(On the left hand side)
He’s squishy and loyal
We love him so!
No, His Build a Bear!
Join us to celebrate Jonathan’s Birthday.
(On right side)
Meet us at Build A Bear
Resources: Paper – Scrapbooking weight paper found in any scrapbooking store. Templates found on www.RobertSabuda.com.
Have fun with these! I’m loving the pop up birthday card invitations!
I found by accident this guy who creates pop up books. What an art!!! Anyway, by luck, he also had some fabulous pop up card templates on his site. I have the web address below. Anyway, in looking through them, I was able to use several by just adding color and some personal touches.
This particular popup card could be used for a First Birthday Party Invitation or even a Baby Shower invitation. So easy to make. It took a little time to cut out the animal shapes so I don’t know that I would want to make 30 or more but they are soooo worth it. I don’t mind spending a little extra time on the invitations. When I’m watching T.V. with my husband, I just sit and cut.
Noah's Ark Popup Party Invitation
First Birthday Party Invitation Wording
Wording as follows:
Two by Two
They’ll say to you….
Happy Birthday John!
Join us for John’s 1st Birthday Party
If you have a party without a specific theme, a good way to set the stage for the party is with a fun loving photo of the birthday boy or birthday girl. This child was turning 4 and the party was at an inflatables party place.
All the photo copying sites are offering these great photo quality invitations that are very cost effective. And my kids love to carry around photos of their friends so it was like having a new toy!!!
Use these words or expand on them. Wording as such:
Cake, ice cream, and more….
It’s my birthday and I’m turning 4!
Join us at Pump It Up!
Being creative with your invitations and the wording of it doesn’t mean that you have to make them yourself. Just that you are thinking outside the box.
I decided that I wanted to make a pop up card for one of my kid’s birthday party invitations. Maybe I was a gluten for punishment….not sure. Anyway, I thought I would have to create them all from scratch so I set out to learn how to do pop ups. Ugh. This is a real art.
Then shazam, I found this website from a man who produces pop up books. AND…..he has some free templates on his site that allow you to print out and make your own cards. The selection is not vast but you can find some cute ones. The ladybug being one of them!!
I simply printed out the template on colored paper and then embellished it with dots. For you purists out there, I know that the dots are not perfectly symmetrical like they are suppose to be. But whenever my daughter draws ladybugs, she never makes the dots right. So, I went on her lead and did them random as well.
I have done several of the pop up cards on this site and you will be able to see them under the invitations section of our blog.
Have fund creating your own ladybug party invitation for your bug or ladybug inspired birthday party!
Resources: Template available on www.robertsabuda.com, I used light weight scrap booking paper but not too lightweight. If it’s like construction paper it won’t hold enough shape!
A Bug Theme (or “Insects” as my daughter’s 1st grade class is now calling them) lends itself to some very creative parties and activities. We are actually using the “insect” or bug theme to make their school class auction item…..but I digress.
It’s fun to share different wording options for birthday party invitations. Sometimes it’s impossible to be creative with the wording. But whenever possible, I at least try and put in a couple of creative lines on the invitation. Following is just a suggestion but if you have others please share them with us!
Bug Party Invitation Wording is as follows:
“We’re bug-eyed and happy to say
It’s time to celebrate John’s 3rd Birthday
Picnic (without the bugs) at Crutch Park
Saturday, June 2 from 12 to 2 pm
Join us behind the swings.
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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