Friday, 20 August 2010

pirate party games

The theme for my son Oliver’s 7th birthday party was dalek pirates. I selected and adapted some fun party games on a pirate theme. I ran all the game ideas past Oliver before the party and he was really excited about playing all of them!

These are the games we played..

To play this game you need a large room or outdoor area with different items of furniture etc. which the kids can climb on. One person acts as Captain, then all the kids run around until the Captain shouts “Shipwreck” and calls out an item which the kids must run to and climb on it. The last one to reach it has sunk in the sea and is then out. As there are less and less players left in the game, the Captain calls smaller and smaller items to climb on.

It was raining so we played it in our dining room; we used a wooden pallet (we were going to use these to make a deck in the backyard had the weather been fine) which was ‘the deck’, a plank of wood ‘the plank’, a long floor cushion ‘the bridge’, a square floor cushion ‘the Captain’s chair’ and a large round wooden chopping board ‘the crow’s nest’. We played it so as each player got out they acted as Captain and called the next “Shipwreck”. I didn’t get photos of this game being played.

X marks the spot
This game is basically musical chairs, but we used Xs made from strips of black card instead of chairs. So all the kids run and dance about until the music stops then try and get to an X until there’s only one player left.. you all know how this one works!

Port and Starboard
There is a list of commands with actions, when each command is called the kids have to do the appropriate action, once they get used to all the actions the last player to comply with each action is out. I adapted the commands and actions to make it a bit more piratey..

• Port : all run to the left
• Starboard : all run to the right
• Captain’s aboard : raise fist and shout “Aaargh!”
• Hoist the mainsail : run on the spot like climbing the rigging
• Mess deck : sit cross legged on the floor ready for lunch
• Davey Jones : climb on anything so you are not on the floor
• Land ahoy : hold hands to eye as if looking through telescope

This was really fun – and I got Captain Jinni (my youngest sister) to call the commands so I did manage to get a few pictures (not great, but you get the idea)

Treasure dig
We planned to do this in the sandpit in our backyard but due to the weather had to improvise on the day by using a large shallow plastic box indoors with play sand. We buried a load of booty in the sand and the kids had a blast digging it all out.

They loved this activity so much in fact that a few (Oliver included) were begging me to let them re-bury all their treasures so they could dig them out again! If we had been outside I probably would have let them, but by this time we had sand pretty much all over our dining room floor! The booty included marbles, gold and silver plastic pirate coins and these cute little charms – anchors, coins and keys.

Sleeping Pirate
For this game you need a blindfold and a big bunch of keys. All the kids sit in a circle, one child is selected to be the pirate, they sit blindfolded in the middle with the bunch of keys in front of them. One of the other kids is nominated to try and swipe the keys and return to their place without the pirate hearing them. The pirate then has to guess or point to who has the keys, they then take the place of the pirate in the middle.

This was the last game we played, and the boys took some rounding up at this point, they all wanted to just run around and play, so we nearly didn’t play it – but Oliver insisted and rounded a few friends up.. they loved this game best of all I think, as they were playing the others gradually came and joined the circle, I think we had all but one guest in the game by the end. They wanted to keep on playing and playing, they all kept getting the giggles when someone was trying to quietly sneak the keys and then there would be a little jangle of keys and the pirate would know who was the culprit!

Treasure chest lucky dip
I found this really cool pair of treasure chests on ebay (I think they are supposed to be for wine bottles or something?!), the large one was just perfect for the treasure chest lucky dip I was planning for prizes.

We made lots of shrinky plastic pirate daleks in different colours, I bought brass keyring parts on ebay and we made them up into key fobs, each one was placed in a little paper bag and the winner of each game picked one out from the lucky dip.

At the end of the party anyone who hadn’t won a prize yet picked a keyring from the lucky dip, and then we all sat round and they had the option of attaching their little charms from the Treasure dig to their keyrings if they wanted (some did – some didn’t). This was a nice way of calming down at the end before everyone went home.

Many of these games were from (or adapted from) this site:
Little Cherry eco-friendly party supplies.



  1. Wow!! Loads of games and all so very clever - maybe I should buy you a ticket to come here and do games for me. I love the X marks the spot - I bet that got real rowdy.

    I can see my girls loving the treasure dig.

  2. amazing party anji! obviously you put tons of work into it! i think i would have loved the sleeping pirate game too. the suspense alone would have done it for me.

    that treasure chest is a treasure in itself too! so cool looking! i bet your son was thrilled with his entire day; it sounds like the kids had a blast!

    what a great mom you are!


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