Upon arriving at our Pirates and Mermaids party, children received a treasure map to let them know what activities were available to them. There were no expectations that the children would participate in all activities, but we wanted to let them know what options were available to them throughout the party.
A treasure chest from AC Moore was stained for the party and filled with pirate themed goodies. The favor bags were simple brown craft bags from Michaels, with scrap fabric tied onto the handle and a label with each attendee’s name glued on the front.
A fabric scrap banner was created using strips of red and black fabric and burlap. The scraps were tied onto a piece of garden twine for a pirate-y feel. The table was my husband’s when he was a boy – cool prop for a pirate party, eh?
At one station, children had the option of writing a message and rolling it into a sand and shell-filled bottle:
Children also decorated houses for mermaids with stickers and gems:
And tried to get balls to land in the sharks’ mouths in a game reminiscent of a carnival tossing game booth:
Children “fished” with this makeshift rod and fishy bucket:
…and had the opportunity to participate in additional carnival games and craft projects like a tattoo parlor and a station where they could stamp their maps with pirate stamps as they completed activities.
Our regular toys were also labeled to direct kids toward pirate-themed play. For example, our book nook was reorganized to showcase pirate and under the sea themed books (as a former elementary school teacher, I found a lot of these in my collection!), our The Home Depot Master Workshop directed kids to “fix the pirate’s wrecked ship”, our cardboard house was labeled as “Mermaid’s House”, the play kitchen directed kids to cook a meal for the pirates and mermaids, and the dress up center encouraged the children to dress up in costume. I think a good home-based party makes use of the toys, etc. that you already have in your home. Little details like these make the party seem thought out and organized (even if it is not!), and brings purpose to the bulky items you might not want to put away for the party.
Here are our little pirates blowing out their birthday candles. Buddy had the whole blow-out-the-candles routine down-pat, but Little Guy just laughed and laughed at the candle until I finally gave it a blow. You’ll notice, the kids blew out birthday cupcakes even though a cake is nearby. A pet peeve of mine is when kids blow a mix of spit and airborne germs onto the cake. So, if you come to my house for a party, I’ll guarantee my children have not spit, blown on, or touched your cake…
Have you seen or tried any not-so-scary pirate party ideas for toddlers or preschools that you just love? I’d love to hear your ideas!