Last week, Lily turned 4 and we threw a party for her on Saturday afternoon. After Sunshine’s Tangled-themed party, Lily talked about various party theme ideas for her own birthday.
Both my husband and I were a bit surprised when she picked Jake and the Never Land Pirates. I waited to see if she’d change her mind, but for several weeks, that’s all she talked about. It’s been her favourite show on Disney Junior for a couple months now. So we set to work planning a Jake and the Never Land Pirates party for her.
First, we dropped by Walmart and our local dollar stores, looking for pirate booty. We came up with some great ideas there. Then I spent some time on Pinterest, seeing what ideas other moms have had. I found some printables, fun snack ideas, and a few games to play with the kids. The night before the party, my husband and I were filling water balloons and stuffing the pinata and feeling just as excited as Lily about her upcoming party.
1. Pirate Games!
When Lily’s friends showed up, Jade was still napping, so we kept everyone outside to play games. Thankfully it was a hot, summer day, perfect for a party!
Swab the Deck
I filled two ice cream buckets full of water and placed them about fifteen feet apart on the lawn. We had a dozen brightly-coloured sponges which the kids dunked into one bucket, then ran the other bucket to squeeze out. I was actually surprised at how fast they emptied the first bucket into the second with this method! And then they wanted me to fill up the bucket again.
My husband set up the girls’ little table in a corner outside and I sat there helping the kids do their craft. In Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Izzy has a pouch full of pixie dust, so we wanted to do something on that theme and found these cute sand art necklaces. However, the kids needed help with the funnel and sand, so they had to do it one at a time while the others were playing.
Walk the Plank
My husband set four boards across two kitchen chairs, above a blue tarp for the “water,” and supervised the kids in walking the plank. Once they’d successfully crossed the plank, he took away a board and had them cross it again. Pictures of Captain Hook and Smee smiled at them from the backs of the chairs.
Water Bomb the Tick Tock Croc
A couple years ago, my mom gave the girls an inflatable crocodile to play with at the beach or pool. It’s mostly sat around our closet, until I remembered it the night before the party. We let Tick Tock Croc hide out in a bush near the playground until it was time to play this game.
For the game, we had the kids grab a water balloon from the cooler, line up, and then we yelled, “Ready? Aim! Fire!” and they threw their balloons at the croc. They absolutely LOVED this game. The balloons, of course, smashed on our sidewalk and the croc bounced if any hit him. We could have filled the cooler with more balloons and played it all over again.
For every activity that the kids completed, we gave them a couple plastic gold doubloons, which they added to the team treasure chest, just like in the show. One of Lily’s little friends had an older sister come to the party, and the older sister had fun handing out the doubloons. This also motivated the kids to run around doing more tasks to earn gold doubloons, so lots of deck swabbing and plank walking happened when they found out they could “earn” coins.
Later, while the kids finished up their snack, my husband hid the coins around the park and told the kids that Captain Hook had stolen their treasures and they had to go find it. The kids had a blast looking for coins and it gave me a few seconds to tidy up the table and help a few kids wash up before heading outside. Once again, they added the coins to the team treasure chest and then, at the end of the party, they got to take a handful of coins home with them.
Pirate Ship Pinata
We found a pirate ship pinata and decided it was just too much fun. I stuffed it with candies, silver rings, gold doubloons, and beaded necklaces. With a crowd of 3- and 4-year-olds, it took quite a few whacks to get the pirate ship broken apart, and then the sail came off before the boat broke so my husband ended up shaking the treats out for the kids. They gathered it all up into the team treasure chest to share out at the end of the party.
Similar to Simon Says, this game got the kids moving as one person shouted commands. I started the game, and then the older sister took over, and then a dad took over.
2. Cake and Snacks
I kept the snacks simple for this party. We had cucumber and carrot sticks (the girls’ favourite vegetables), goldfish crackers, and jello boats which all the kids loved (and only half the kids ate). I found the idea for the jello boats on Pinterest and printed the sails from Paging Supermom.
For Sunshine’s birthday, I spent hours on her cake and realized that while I enjoy baking, decorating birthday cakes isn’t really my forte. I browsed a few ideas for Jake cakes, but everything looked like a lot of work. Then I had a brilliant idea: ask for help. A friend from my mom’s group loves making birthday cakes; I’d sampled the Star Trek cupcakes she made for her son’s party and the Minnie Mouse cake she made for Lily’s friend LD’s birthday. So I sent out a request: one Jake cake, please.
On Saturday morning, the girls and I drove over to her place to pick up the cake. Lily was so excited to see it! I was totally amazed. And Jade wanted to eat it. 🙂
My friend used layers of vanilla cake, iced with chocolate frosting, to carve a pirate ship. She added blue icing waves around the bottom of the cake, chocolate pretzel railings, and stickers of Jake, Izzy, Scully, a treasure chest and even the Tick Tock Croc. Above the ship flew two large blue-and-white striped paper sails.
We put a birthday sparkler on the front of the cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to Lily (and then watched the sparkler burn out). Then I had to figure out how to cut the cake. I gave Lily the bow with Jake on it and had requests from other kids for various characters, including one girl who wanted Izzy—and then was willing to get her cake last just so she could have Izzy on top.
The cake was just the right size for the party guests and their parents (including, perhaps, an extra piece for my husband and I after everyone left). It was just as delicious as it was beautiful.
After the cake, a few moms helped me throw the plastic cups in the garbage and put the leftover snacks away. We took the kids back outside to play more games and open presents.
3. Goody Bags
For the goody bags, we gave each child an eye patch and a kaleidoscope (for a spyglass). They also each got to choose candy, treasures and coins from the team treasure chest.
It was, at times, a chaotic party, with half a dozen four-year-olds running around having fun. The two hours flew past and I think everyone had lots of fun playing “pirate” games. Lily received a beautiful pirate doll and two copies of Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Birthday Bash, plus a bunch of other nice things (which Sunshine is now asking her to play with).
More Jake and the Never Land Pirates loot:
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates 7-piece action figure set
- Bucky play structure
- Jake and the Never Land Pirate matching game
- Splashing Bucky bath toy
- Jake’s talking spyglass
- Jake’s magical sword
Now we’re done birthday season around here for this year! I wonder what the girls will want for their parties next year… 🙂
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SO fun!!!! I’m sure Lily must have loved it!!
Great ideas, Bonnie! These would also be great for a literature-based pirate theme in the classroom. Thanks for sharing.