My oldest both have September birthdays, and until my daughter hit elementary school, they also had many mutual friends. When my son turned four, and my daughter, six, they had complimentary interests that inspired this “Under the Sea” theme. This party was held at our local park, on a spectacular late summer day.
To get the kids “warmed up,” we played Mermaid, Mermaid, Pirate…an aquatic varation of Duck, Duck, Goose. I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining it.
As any good pirate party would lend itself to, we also had a treasure hunt. Because we had a massive number of kids, we divided them up into teams. Each team just had 3-4 kids and one parent helper. Each of the six clues was mounted onto a set of colored cards – the blue team only took the blue clues, the red team took the red clues…you get the drill. Each team started with a different clue – this took a bit of pre-work on my part to ensure that the team would not likely get bunched up in the same spot.
The clues included:
Before Ariel gets human legs, she sits on this while singing to Prince Eric. Your next clue will be located at a very large ______________. This obviously led the kids to a huge climbing rock where they retreived their next clue.
“Arrrrrrrggggghhhh!” Now you’ve done it! Go walk the __________________ for your next clue and a bit of pirate treasure. This clue led the kids to a balance beam that we set up (6×6 blocks and 2×6 board). They walked from one end to the other, and retreived gold coins and the next clue.
If you were a fish, you wouldn’t want to get caught in this! Find your next clue by going under, over or through this fish trap. I honestly cannot remember what we did for this clue….it seems like I maybe set up a large net for the kids to manuever through! It’s been a few years, ha!
“Go ‘under the sea’ where you’ll find your next clue. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some treasure. I brought our bubble machine and had that running to create the illusion of water. Each kid picked up a bottle of bubbles and a clue.
Looking for treasure? “X” marks the spot. We just painted a big “X” for the kids to locate their next clue…
You did it! You found all the clues! Return to the party island to see what awaits you! At this age, no party seemed to be complete without a pinata, so I found treasure chest pinata. Unfortunately, the scramble led to lots of tears…since then, I’ve learned to hold back a bag of goodies to scatter away from the crowd so that the littlest, easily overwhelmed and unaggressive kids can get some loot too.
The older kids really enjoyed reading the clues and trying to figure out where to go to find their next clues. The little ones did well with assistance, and were more intrigued by the different obstacles that they had to maneuver through. Having a parent helper with each team definitely helped. Thank goodness for parents who offer to stay to lend a hand!
After we did the pinata, it was time for cake and juice…two cakes for two birthday kids!
This cake was pretty fun to make. We used his playmobil pirates to decorate, plus gummy sharks, chocolate coins and rock candy. The water is made of tinted gel (Wilton makes tubs of clear gel and you can just color it whatever you need it to be). The dirt is crushed graham crackers over mounds of frosting. Sounds pretty gross in retrospect!
This was my first tiered cake. I apologize for not having a picture of the entire thing – it really did stand up, but unfortunately I don’t have a good picture of that! This cake took advantage of her Disney figures from The Little Mermaid picture, plus a few candy rocks and some chocolate shells that I made with candy molds.
Here is the top layer. I’ve found that using my kids toys to create cakes makes it so much simpler. There are lots of techniques for drawing or transferring pictures of specific characters, but that is definitely not my calling. Digging through a toybox is a much better compromise and I get to unleash a bit of creativity in creating a 3-dimensional scene instead.
For party favors…the girls got a little trinket box with sticker earrings and a necklace. We found a heart shaped box with a dolphin and it seemd to fit the theme and my daughter’s desires perfectly. The boys (and a few girls who wanted to trade, lol) got pirate dress up sets. For these, we bundled up an eye patch, hoop earring, telescope and gold coins in a black bandana. I then cut red strips of fabric to tie off the bandana – this strip could be used as a sash as part of their dress up. Easy peasy and the kids loved them.