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Pirate Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

Our littlest guy just loves the make-believe. He’s always been our dress-up, stand-up, shout-it-out dramatic one! And I suppose we’re on a bit of a “P” theme with him for his birthday parties: Peter Rabbit, puppies, penguins, and now… pirates for his sixth birthday! With some party themes, it can be hard to find kid-friendly options. I dislike the skull-and-crossbones, gritty sailor stuff in many pirate party ideas. So these pirate birthday party ideas for kids are the tamed-down versions that focus on fun!

pirate birthday party ideas

Pirate Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

Our son’s pirate birthday party ideas is geared towards the “Treasure Island” concept to give the party a kid-friendly atmosphere. So while you’ll see the occasional Jolly Roger, the focus is on the FUN of finding treasure!

Pirate Party Menu

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We only have family over for our birthday parties, so it keeps the party small, and we can have grown-up food! Here’s our menu:

  • Peg Legs – Pretzel rods
  • Fish and Chips – Potato Chips mixed with goldfish crackers
  • Veggie Planks – raw veggies with ranch dip
  • Sea Squabs – Grilled chicken pieces in a balsamic dijon mustard glaze
  • Not-So-Scurvy Dogs – organic hot dogs in buns, with kebab skewer striped sails (I found the striped paper at Michael’s Arts & Crafts)
  • Veggie Planks (again) – grilled zucchini from our garden (it helps to have a July birthday for this!)
  • Seaweed Salad – tricolor “anti-pasto” pasta salad
  • Toss ‘Em Overboard Salad – green tossed salad
  • Fruity Gems – fruit salad
  • Buried Treasure – treasure chest cake

>>If you’d like a copy of my pirate party menu printables, just leave a comment below, which will automatically send me an email, then I’ll reply with a PDF of the menu printables. Just cut out and glue to your own striped paper and then glue to a toothpick!

Buried Treasure Chest Birthday Cake

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I saw this cake idea on the Taste of Home site and borrowed it with a few tweaks. I used yellow cake mix and canned frosting – I know, my standards are slipping (haha), but it was a busy week! I also did not create the “lid” pictured in their version, to save time and frustration. Instead of fruit rollups, I used Twizzler pieces and yellow M&Ms for the chest straps and lock. And I added Piroline cookies for the edging. Another tip: freeze the cakes! The frosting went on perfectly with no crumbling, cracking cake pieces, which has never happened before.

The boys loved helping me pile our “treasure” of candy on the top! All in all, such an easy cake with stunning effect. Now, this is WAY more candy/sweets than we typically allow, but it seemed that on the night of the party, the kids only ate a few pieces each and a slice of cake. So it was moderate after all.

DIY Pirate Party Decor

pirate birthday party ideas

Let “less is more with party decor” be your mantra!

I like to decorate our boys’ bedroom door the night before their actual birthday, so they get a preview of their party (which often happens on the weekend after their birthday). I hung some striped tablecloth over the doorway, cut it into strips so they could walk through it, and taped black “cannonball” balloons to the bottom of the strips. A few pirate figurines completed the scene. I regret not taking a photo! Our son loved waking up to his decorated doorway!

Leftover red-and-white striped tablecloth roll from our Knight in Shining Armor party worked perfectly for this pirate party. The buffet table and kitchen table covered in red-and-white striped tablecloths added a festive look. Two Caribbean map bandanas decorated the tables as well (found at Joann Etc).

For the party itself, I made DIY hanging party decor with some sparkly treasure chest classroom cutouts and 3D pirate stickers I found at the Dollar Tree. I taped a length of brown and white baker’s twine to the back of the treasure chest, then applied two stickers going up the string. A few of these taped to the ceiling, and the rest of the treasure chests taped to the wall added a glittery treasure motif to the dining room.

Pirate Party Games

pirate birthday party ideas

The hit game of the night was our treasure hunt game. Thanks to my sponsor Gotrovo, the kids went on an exciting treasure hunt around the backyard! Gotrovo is a ready-to-go treasure hunt game that makes setting up a treasure hunt easy. The game comes with a double-sided plastic treasure map to hold the clues. There are 100 clue cards to pick from in both word riddle and picture format, so you can modify the game for older and younger children (the game grows with your child!). Best of all, Gotrovo includes a sack of gold coins, and a gold treasure box to fill with a prize!

The Gotrovo game has indoor and outdoor location clues for playing either indoors or outdoor (or both!). I hid clues in the water hose, a wheelbarrow, the swing set, a tree trunk, and the boys found the treasure in a large flowerpot! Gotrovo’s clue cards are easy to set up. We did picture clues for the little ones, and then I quickly set out word riddle clues for the older kids. It’s a game you can play again and again by choosing different clues and mixing up the order. A Gotrovo treasure hunt fits perfectly with a pirate birthday party!

I picked up a handful of quick pirate craft kits (stickers and painting) from Joann Etc on clearance. Only the toddlers ended up doing some of the sticker crafts, but these will be handy for rainy days.

Another game we didn’t get to was: “Shark Infested Waters” – simply set out sheets of newspaper on the lawn like islands. Set out one sheet fewer than you have kids playing the game. Have the kids run on the grass around the sheets. Call out “Shark infested waters” and the kids hop onto a paper island, but only one kid per island. The kid left standing is out. Take away an island, and play again until you have one winner. It’s musical chairs for pirates!

DIY Pirate Party T-shirts

pirate birthday party ideas

As long-time readers may know, I have always made party shirts for my boys to wear to the party. This year’s tees featured a bright red polka dot pirate bandana and batik eye patch. I totally forgot to buy tshirts for this project, and so I used hand-me-down gray shirts my oldest had in his drawer. Perfect! The gray made it harder to see the eye patch but I just zig-zag stitched in light gray to make it stand out. I used a pirate coloring sheet for my template. The boys also wanted their own sheets to color so I printed extras.

So thar it is, mateys! One pirate party in the books and nobody had to walk the plank or head to Davy Jones’ Locker! Hope your party is just as fun!

pirate birthday party ideas

Get more birthday party ideas!

Shop these Pirate Birthday Party Ideas

Caribbean Pirates BandanaRed & White Striped Tablecloth Roll - 100 Ft. X 40PartyMate 72126 12Canvas Corp 27113341Printed Single-Sided Cardstock 12SmartPack USA Bamboo Skewers 6Red Striped Paper Straws 24 count6Pirate Headwrap Bandana HatGotrovo Treasure Hunt Game Indoor Outdoor DIY Educational Activity for Kids Learn through Fun - 100 Clue Cards, Treasure Map, Treasure Bar, Gold Coins and Loot BagMelissa & Doug Decorate-Your-Own Wooden Pirate Chest Craft Kit

Graphic mockup of an ebook with birthday cupcakes on front

Thanks to Gotrovo for sending a treasure hunt game for our party and this post. All opinions are my own!
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Saturday 27th of August 2022

would like your recipe for seaweed salad. Thank you Laura

Kelly Sturgeon

Saturday 27th of April 2019

Would love your printable! Adorable party!

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