Summertime is finally upon us and a great time to have a party. Whether you have a birthday to celebrate or just want to punctuate and enjoy a carefree day of summer we can help with a few ideas to make the occasion more memorable.
As we have two young boys, we love pirates. Pirates can be wonderful and a low- cost theme to make that "Wow!" factor for which most families yearn. Pirates not only are an exciting concept for both boys and girls (Mary Drummond or Anne Bonny) but also a very good focus for engaging creativity while sparking an interest in history.
A very simple cake can be turned into a pirate’s treasure chest complete with gold coin chocolates and crumb sand. A fun craft are hooks made from foil: Simply shape the foil into a hook and, taking a plastic cup, poke a hole in the bottom, mold the foil around the hole and secure with tape or more foil.
You also can make simple eye patches using elastic and duct tape or cardboard. Making these ahead of time can simplify the process, but children love doing crafts on site, so simply cut the cups in advance and leave everything out for the kids to assemble and decorate.
Great entertainment for a party like this (or any really) is a face-painter. Not only do they add tons of entertainment but they also create characters for each child. It is amazing to see a shy or reserved child sit in a chair and not talk or make eye contact. After they are painted they become a new person, talking to strangers and dancing and singing with everyone. If you ask your painter to stay within the theme you will have all sorts of pirates running around. Or, give them full control and let the kids decide what kind of face they would like to have (but be careful, you might end up with zombies or spidermen running around)! Many face-painters also do balloon-twisting and will make swords for the guests, as well as pirates on the shoulder and popping guns.
Allowing the children (and adults) to really enjoy and participate in a party can be difficult. Try setting up a treasure chest outside of the door along with swords, sabers, head rags and eye patches. Leave a note that only pirates may enter and to please dress accordingly before coming in. You will be surprised at how much more participation you will get after everyone is in costume.
If you are having a treasure hunt, leave the maps out by the dress-up area and have the guests start right away. You can make the maps in advance or have the map-making as one of the craft stations. If you burn the edges, make sure an adult is in charge, or do this in advance; it really makes the children feel like the maps are real. Tie the maps off with string, yarn or leather and offer each guest a plastic bottle to store the map.
Some other ideas are a word search, scavenger hunt, tug of war, a sandbox treasure hunt or just any games involving pirates, or choose traditional games with only pirate voices and pirate vocabulary (Capt’n Says, Pirate songs, etc.).
Snacks: Buried Treasure Dirt Cups - Gummy Worms and Chocolate Coins buried in Chocolate pudding and covered with crushed cookie crumbs, add drink umbrella to top for fun. SecretTreasure Cupcakes
No matter what you choose to include in your event or leaveout in your event, just remember to have fun! It doesn’t have to be perfect tobe fun, just try to relax and let go and it will be great.
Leave a comment and photo of your event and let us know how it went!
Lorrin owns and operates Wagner and is available for face-painting and balloon twisting in the Greater Tampa area and beyond. Additional information is available on her Web site. Email: WagnerEvents@gmail.com.