When planning our three year old’s birthday party I was trying to think of a theme that would allow for low cost activities and crafts. Something that would engage all the youngsters coming to the party and something that would feel special for Lincoln. While I was throwing ideas around in my head the kids started playing with their cardboard, homemade swords. Lightbulb! Pirate theme.
For a two hour party, I thought we could read a pirate themed book to get into the pirate vocabulary, colour and decorate cardboard swords and then have a treasure hunt. Keep in mind this was a February birthday party, so all these activities had to be inside. With these three activities, cake and presents, I decided we’d throw an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates near the end of the party so people could leave if they were ready.
The kids and I went off to Party City! in search of pirate decorations. I was hoping for maybe some coins, perhaps some flags. Unfortunately, the only pirate things they had were adult costumes. Which were a little pricey and not appropriate for a three year old’s party. In the children’s aisle, the only themes represented were character themes. Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, Doc McStuffins, Disney Princesses. No Pirates. I thought I’d have to head to the dollar store and get a little creative but low and behold I found a clearance table. And there was buckets full of Jake and the Neverland Pirate decorations. For half off! I couldn’t believe my luck. I purchased loot bag items, a banner, table decorations (which had gold doubloons), cake decorations and ceiling decorations.
The two activities that took some preparation was the sword making and the treasure hunt. For the swords we picked up boxes from Costco and my husband cut out the same shaped sword for each party guest so there would be no bickering. Jeff made a special sword for Lincoln, he was the birthday boy after all. For the treasure hunt, I planned to separate the group into two. A group of boys and a group of girls. So I made up two maps. I first drew a map on two plain pieces of white paper. I then crumpled them and painted them with tea to make them look aged. Once they were dried my husband burned some of the edges to create more of a pirate treasure map look.
The day of the party, decorations were hung and guests arrived. When all the party members were accounted for, we grouped them together and read “Bearenstain Bears Pirate Adventure”. This book is filled withs pirate jargon. Each time a pirate term was said in the book I got the kids to say it all together. Once the book was done we laid out all the pirate swords to be decorate. Markers, confetti and glue were used to make each sword unique. While the kids were working on the craft, I went upstairs to hide the treasure.
When the craft was completed I unveiled the treasure map to the first group. We followed the trail, climbing over beds and under tables to where X marked the spot. The treasure was 10 gold doubloons. The pirates traded in their treasure for their loot bags. I then reset the scene for the next band of pirates and did the hunt again with all of them. In hind sight I would wait to give the loot bags out at the end of the party. The noise makers were immediately blown and the house instantly got much louder.
Now that all the activities were completed it was time for cake and then presents. After the presents were opened the kids had calmed down enough to turn on an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Rounding out the party nicely.
This party was very manageable, with minimal cost and just enough preparation for me. It may be perfect for your little pirate.