Entertaining a room full of excited party pirates might make you feel like walking the plank, but this theme is actually full of hidden treasures that will help you keep your little swashbucklers happy. Take your guests on a fantasy adventure laden with pirate games that will make you worthy of mom-of-the-year award.
1. Treasure Hunts
No pirate party would be complete without a treasure hunt, but for 2- to 5-year-olds it needs to be easy to follow. Draw a big map of your venue, showing points such as a flowerpot or a chair. Have challenges at each point, such as "stand on one leg for as long as you can." One adult needs to be captain, in charge of reading each challenge. Have a pot of treats at the end. You could hide chocolate coins around your venue, then take a photograph of each hiding place. Keep the first photo and then place the second in the first hiding place and so on. Your pirates must use the clues to find each gold coin and share them at the end.
2. Walk the Plank Games
A scarf or strip of cardboard can make a plank for 2- to 3-year-olds, or a plank of wood across two sets of bricks for 4- to 5-year-olds, with toy or cardboard sharks on the floor. Test their balancing skills by challenging them to walk along it forwards, backwards and sideways. Help tire them out with a plank relay race. Have each team member race up and down the plank before passing a sword to the next team member. If this is too easy for 4- to 5-year-olds, have them hop along the plank. Play a game of musical statues and each time a player is out, he gets to walk the plank before receiving a fish-shaped candy or pirate sticker.
3. Captain Games
Indulge your acting skills by putting on a pirate voice for some captain games. Tell them "now, me hearties, I want yooos all to swim likes a fish." Other actions could be climb the rigging or walk the plank. For 2- to 3-year-olds, do the actions for them to copy. Make it harder for preschoolers by adding the rule that they must stand still unless your command includes "captain says." Stand with your back to the group with your pirate scarf hanging out of a pocket -- now hear the giggles as they try to creep up and steal your scarf, freezing if you turn around.
4. Pirate Prop Games
Make pirate hooks with a plastic or paper cup, a slit in the bottom and a cardboard or foil hook. Cut paper fish or treasure chest shapes from cards with holes and have your pirates pick them up with their hooks. Sit your party guests in a circle and have one volunteer stand in the middle with a pirate patch over each eye. Surround your volunteer with a circle of gold coins and let the kids take turns to sneak up and take one -- they will probably find it very hard to be this quiet! If the patch pirate hears any children, he can tag them.
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