Monday, February 14, 2005

Pirate party for our turning-5 boy!

Son2 turns five this week, and wanted an ocean-and-fish cake for his party, so I suggested a pirate party ('cause he has two Imaginext pirate ships and two pirate islands). It worked out great! The party was yesterday, mid-afternoon. In my mind, it was a little bit generic pirates, a little bit Captain Feathersword from the Wiggles, and a little bit Captain Hook from Peter Pan, LOL!

I worked with what we already had, as much as possible. Son2 has all of this wonderful Imaginext pirate ships, islands, skiffs, chests, pirates, alligator, and more, so we cleared the playroom of other toys and made it Pirate Playland. (The lack of toys impressed one of the moms, until I showed her the rest of everything stowed in the playroom closet!) We have an old wooden toybox with pirate stuff painted on it that was originally dear husband's father's toybox. Son1 has a wooden sword that he generously loaned to Son2 so he could be the Captain of his pirate party. We have fake gold coins. We have gummi fish and gummi sharks that Grandma C sent recently.

At a party store I bought bead necklaces, paper pirate hats, a heavyweight paper pirate flag, ocean-theme paper napkins, and a special kerchief-look skull-and-crossbones pirate hat for the birthday pirate Captain. At a superstore I bought red fabric from the remnant bin to cut into sashes. I wanted to also have candy necklaces, but I couldn't figure out where to get them.

In a kids cookbook a while ago Son2 saw a blue-frosted sheet cake with fish made from gumdrops and requested it as his birthday party cake. So... I made a light-blue-frosted cake in a 9x13 pan and put on top some gummi fish and big gummi sharks. Then I added an Imaginext pirate skiff carrying a pirate and treasure chest, on a piece of plastic wrap so I didn't have to wash the skiff into food-safe cleanliness!

The paper pirate flag went up on the glass storm door at the front entryway, and pirate paper hats and red sashes were set out on the cloth-covered dining table amid a scattering of fake gold coins.

The pirate wooden toybox became a treasure chest, with an old sheet filling the bottom and making a nest for golden and copper bead necklaces, fake gold coins, and little snack baggies filled with gummi sharks and gummi fish. It would be guarded by a foot-long plastic alligator, but at first it was simply out of sight.

The kids came in, had their sashes tied on and their hats put on, and they went to play with the many little pirate figures and their big ships, an island, an alligator, little treasure chests, and skiffs.

When the play seemed to be winding down, Dear Husband and guests' moms conferred on where to hide the treasure chest and hid it, and I called the kids out to find (hide-and-seek style) the treasure chest. I'd set a kitchen timer to tick-tick-tick near the treasure chest (a la Captain Hook's clock-swallowing crocodile nemesis!) and told them they'd need to be super-quiet to hear this clue. They were intensely quiet for the, oh, 20 seconds until they found the treasure chest! They happily dug into the bead necklaces, fake gold coins, and gummi sharks and fish.

Next, time to open presents. One was a little football with fins, so afterward Dear Husband took them outside on the gorgeous, warm day for a little football fun. They came in for sweets: light the cake candles, sing the birthday song, blow out candles and dig into the cake and ice cream.

Finally, more play time. Somewhere in there we asked the roaming band of pirates if they knew any pirate talk, so we taught them: Arrrr! Avast, ye mateys! Ahoy, ye hearties! The crew of five-year-old pirates seemed a bit unwilling to break out in pirate talk, maybe because none of them were super comfortable (none knew the kids other than the birthday boy)? We parents had fun with pirate talk, though. I wish I'd thought up one or two more activities, maybe something at the beginning to help the kids get warmed up to each other, but it went pretty well.

Everybody went home with pirate sash and hat, bead necklaces, and fake coins. Everyone had eaten up their gummi critters by then, of course. Son1 and Son2 now have Pirate Gear -- a kerchief-look pirate hat, a paper pirate hat, a couple of red sashes, the rest of the bead necklaces and fake coins, and the pirate flag now on the closet door in their playroom. Ahoy, ye hearties!

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