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Posts tagged ‘pirate party’

Ahoy! The Pirates invaded our house!

Matt turns 5 in less than a week.  To celebrate we let him invite all the boys in his class and a few extra pals for a pirate party.  We tried to have the party at a location outside of our home this year.  The superhero party last year for his whole class was awesome but a lot of work.  He would have none of it.  This year he was determined to have his party at home again…  And he discovered pinterest – so he took a significant interest in the activities and design of the day…

Here’s what we did:

1. The kids came in and they got an eye patch, a pirate hat or bandana, and an adventure guide. We tried to entice parents to stay with coffee (and baileys) and some adult treats.  Some amazing moms and dads stayed – and were a huge help corralling kids, setting up lunch and cleaning up after.

entrance entrance2Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 11.45.25 PM

2. the first activity for the pirate guests was making their own spy glasses.  We asked our two wonderful nannies help us for the party and they helped the kids take treasures I found from urban source  (old yarn spools and plastic caps from something?) and some black and gold paper, stickers, gems, cool tape – and make their own pirate spy glass.  It was an awesome first activity because it meant that all the kids were in one place, engaged in a calm and creative fun while we waited for everyone to get here.

spy glasses spy glasses1spy glass making

3. Next we played ‘stick the eye patch on the pirate’.  I drew out a rough pirate and grabbed some cheap eye patches from amazon – Cam used a pirate bandana and did the traditional spin and blind fold with each willing participant- it was a pretty fun and fast first activity – the kids thought it was hilarious when the eye patches were stuck to the windows and walls instead of the pirate

pirate eye patch

4. We divided the kids (about 15 at this point) in two groups.  Group one headed upstairs to “Cannon Ball Cove” and group two stayed downstairs in “Shark Bait Lagoon”.

Group one discovered the pirate ships we’d made (big enough to each hold 3-4 kids) and they played a game “lobbing” soft ‘cannon’ balls into each other’s ships.  It was chaos but sheer joy for the pirates involved. After that they played Captain Hook’s ring toss (thanks to pinterest for this one!).  The object being to toss rings onto one of the three hooks.

cannon ball cove ship ring tossshe got a hook!

Group two had to balance carefully as they walked the plank through a sea of blue balloons (pictured below before we had all the balloons blown up) with a hungry blow up alligator waiting below in case they slipped.  Then they each had a chance to toss fishes into the shark’s mouth.

walk the plank shark bait

All of that went waaaaaaay too fast – and what I had assumed would take 45 minutes (you’d think? right?) was done in 35 minutes.  So there was about 10 minutes of chaotic crazy kid playtime.  I got a little nervous a couple of times – but brilliant and resourceful Cam just took our huge bin of lego and tossed it over in the middle of the play room then challenged the kids to make lego pirate boats!  Then hurrah! Pizza arrived.


After pizza and some delicious cupcakes and cookies came the final activity of the day… an outdoor treasure hunt.  It was pretty cool because it was the first snow of the season – so there was a very excited extra chill to the air.  The kids each got a pirate bag, and a treasure map (if you like you can download all the signs here MATTY’S 5TH) and they put on their boots and coats and ventured out.  Along their hunt they found tattoos, a pirate ship pinata filled with booty, and finally a treasure chest filled with pirate swords.  I didn’t let them back in the house after that … they already had coats and boots on so they ventured home from there… this was my way of avoiding sword fighting and tears at our house, if I’m honest.  Kinda felt like a meanie, but it all went so smoothly that we didn’t want to push it too far.

pirate hunt bagtreasure hunt treasure hunt1goody

All of that and the party was done! 15 minutes early.  I have decided that 2 hours is caraaaazy long for a five-year old party with that many kids.  1.5 hours would have been perfect.

I’ll post later about how we made the pirate ships – that was our big project for this party. It was awesome.  And thanks once again to Cam, his mom, and some late nights in the garage painting and cutting.  We made a lot of things with the kids for this party as well.  Matty made his own crayons in the shapes of skulls and cross bones (I’ll post about that later too).  We baked cookies, muffins, squares and other treats, we made fishes, anchors, and some welcome drawings.  We also had lots of fruit and fishy crackers, shark teeth (cheese) and pirate booty (popcorn twists) for snacks throughout.

pirate booty shark teethwater fruit

Super fun. Totally tiring to plan and execute. But completely worth it to see this little face so thrilled.

Love you, Matty.

it’s my paaart… wait a second!


Planning parties, events, dinners … has always kinda been my thing.  Even Cam, who likes to be involved in mostly everything, knows to step back at party planning time.  Apparently young master matty has not yet learned the sacred party mantra in this house.  Sadly this week I’ve come to realize it was me that had something to learn.  Not him.

He has been asking for months (since the girls birthday in july actually) about his own birthday.  He had designs on it being an under water adventure and he wanted to have everyone dress up like a sea animal.  Yep. Totally doable. errrr… right? Then he made a switcheroo on us in October to request a Safari birthday instead – and he wanted the animals of the safari somehow brought to life in our house… for 26 of his closest pals. wha?!  What happened to the mom-planned events with kids of our friends, an easy-ish theme and some great food?  And how are the other 5 year olds going to enjoy a safari adventure or dressing up like a porpoise?  (he is almost the youngest in his class as a december kiddo and we are so aware of those kids who are almost six as our little man spends his last month as a four-year old) Who is this kid and when did he get so opinionated about his parties?

This all likely seems ridiculous to you right now – I know.  Even in reading this back I can understand how absurd it seems that I’m wasting the time and finger power to write about this epic discussion over such a small issue.  But you have to understand.  I have control over … nothing.  There is nothing in my life that I am in charge of – really.  At work I’m a leader buried in ‘yes-buts’, and anti-change so a good day is one where I get to have a good laugh with a colleague.  At home I am regularly told what to do by anyone of the three mini bosses, and a victory is literally a dinner that everyone eats. My time is not my own at any point in a day right now.  So planning a great event – that’s something.  I can do that.  I can make that happen.  Except now I can’t.  Because our little man has a vision all his own.  And it’s very vivid.

To give you a sense – here are a few pictures from the past month alone:  He transformed our rocking chair and a rocking horse from the girls room into a wagon with wild horses and had the girls ride along in the wild west

matt's wagon rides

He really wanted to be a tree-ceratops and wanted to make it himself as much as possible.  This meant a lot of tape and cutting and a whole day of getting through every activity on all fours and with much distress every time the construction paper ripped a bit…

matt turns himself into a dinosaur

and one of his maaaaany one-man-band set ups.  This kid loves to pretend he is a musician and we are his biggest fans.  No need for real instruments (we have many).  He prefers to imagine other objects into musical masterpieces…

matt the one-man band

I introduced him to pinterest this week. It was hilarious watching his face as he absorbed all the ideas and crafts people had put up on boards.  What started as a mom-lead adventure guiding him back to super-hero land of last year… ended with his hand on the mouse – clicking madly through boy-party ideas.  I shared with him that I thought having that many kids to our house would be too tough – so we went through websites of venues and activities.  He was unconvinced.

Then he saw some pirate pictures – and the tiny wheels in his head began to visibly crank as he shot a shiny glance my way and said …

“mommy”  (wait for it) “I’ve got a great idea.”

uh. oh.

“I can have a pirate party!  That way it can sorta be under the sea and sorta about princesses and pirates.  The girls and boys will both be happy. There will be a shark and people will walk a plank and there will be ships and we’ll sword fight to save princesses and they will have to have a castle and we’ll have ships that shoot cannons at each other and have a treasure hunt and daddy can be captain hook and I want to be jack sparrow and we’ll make sure no one gets hurt but it will be at our house because i don’t want to go anywhere else but you always say we need to include every one – so we should do that…”

okay. huh. why did i stop yoga? why did I never really start yoga? do we have any of those good strawberry wafer cookies left? why did we have him so close to Christmas? I can’t decorate for the holidays before this party can i? Can I go get another coffee right now or will it keep me up all night? wine. I should just have wine. All these moms are going to think I’m nuts. Our house is going to be destroyed. There will be no swords at this party.  Princesses really? Don’t girls want to be pirates? I have a huge presentation on social media due tomorrow morning. what will the invitations look like? I need to update the exec on our major customer experience shifts this month- where are those examples I saved again? I need to get the laundry done. crap – flu shots – need to make that appointment. I should be writing this down. When is our Christmas party again? Did I pay the nanny last week? The girls have photo day tomorrow and no clean shirts.  dresses it is.  I guess we could make pirate hats… and I think we could make ships out of cardboard…

“mommy? mommy? are you listening to me?  It’s gonna be SO great.”

And I’m sure it will be.  Because it’s his party.