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Posts tagged ‘treasure hunt’

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.

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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.

Pixie Hollow: the great pixie dust hunt

The forecast called for rain, but right around 4pm the sun starting shining … just in time for 15 pirates and fairies to come visit for K & C’s birthday.

As much as my husband might disagree – I’d say that I’m not a crazy crafter; I don’t have a scrapbook addiction or a closet full of material or cake making supplies, I don’t even have a craft room – just a table in the kids play room.  But I do enjoy making things.  It’s my way of saying I care, and I think you’re wonderful and important.  Important enough to spend 3 tries getting the spacing right on homemade labels, or sitting up making tutus, or painting old headboards into magical signs…. Because I work so much, and feel I have so little time to show them in the little ways some people get to every day, I love to make our kids birthdays something fun they’ll remember – and to show our friends and family a good time for making the effort in their busy lives to come and celebrate with us.

So for me, the fact that the sun came out yesterday… that was fabulous.

I showed you a few “before” shots in my last post… the old headboard I got clearance from an antique shop (That Cam had to re-assemble) – turned into a “welcome to Pixie Hollow” sign.  I got the drawers that I put the tutus and swords in from the same place for a couple of dollars – a few ‘lost things’ to add to the Tinker bell flavour.

vintage bed posts1welcome to pixie 1tutus and wings

The wire hangers that started to look like wings… turned into great little wings with some tights and glitter glue and elastic for arm bands. Every little fairy got a tutu and wings and each little pirate got a sword and eye patch.

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Everyone was invited to make their own magic wand or pirate hat and colour pictures from pixie hollow with the incentive of winning gold coins that they could later add to their treasure.

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The flowers that our kids made dressed up the yard in Rosetta fashion, and the bunting I sewed from old felt hung over our back porch.

1big flowers1bunting

A few other fun touches included pixie dust (sprinkles) in little velum bags that I made labels for and sewed shut (just rip off the top and sprinkle on cupcakes) – and some surprisingly easy to make meringue mushrooms that might be found in Neverland.

1pixie dust sprinklescupcake toppers1pixie sprinkles charlie 1so many sprinkles

We ordered magic wand cookies from a favorite baker in our old hood ‘geek sweets‘ – that were a hit, and made chocolate and coconut puddings alla the July Martha Stewart  mag for the adults.

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My favorite part of the party was the treasure hunt to find the lost pixie dust.  Matty led the charge and all the kids were thrilled to find hidden fairy doors and sparkling pixie dust… and finally the treasure chest – filled with gems and coins and a gold pouch for each little one filled with magic pixie dust.  The looks on their little faces were priceless.  It was magic in motion. THAT is why I stay up late making things.

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The night ended with big hugs and big smiles.  Everyone went home with a goody bag with pixie/pirate goodies and some fairy dust pillow spray made that we made from distilled water, lavender and chamomile essential oils and witch hazel … we’re told it helps little minds to calm and sleep … but for our little fairies the idea of spraying it around the room was too intoxicating (in more than one way) to help with sleep.

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Today my little fairies turned three.  A lot of twin parents say that the first six months of their childs’ lives were a blur… not for me – I remember this day three years ago very well – and most of the days in between.  There is always a pull at my heart to spend one extra minute with that one, or help this one out with that one extra little thing.  I never feel like any of our kids get enough of our time, and yet I know they are incredibly happy and feel very loved.  There are just so many competing factors for time, that it seems the ones who deserve it the most often don’t yet it in my world… I was so happy that this weekend they did.  And Kate and Charlie – in case you read this one day long after I’ve let go of the notion of writing about our life’s adventures – I want you to know that I am proud beyond words of who you are, and excited by each new piece of who you’ll become as it is revealed.  My heart is so full with love for you and your brother that sometimes I am paralyzed by it – the urge to hug you and never let go, and not miss a moment of your precious little lives and the amazing people you are becoming is overwhelming.  Cured only by the joy I see in your faces when you learn something new, discover something you didn’t know existed, or walk, climb, bike, soar on your own … you are incredible little girls and I love you all the way to the moon.  And back.

birthday hug funny daddy birthday tackles