WELCOME to Party on a Penny Week!  I'm going to share a few tips and tricks for easy party games that kids love!  You'll get some ideas for stretching your party budget, strategies for dual purpose purchases and ideas for repurposing those party supplies AFTER the big day!

Don't be shy though!  YOU will be linking up YOUR party ideas, your templates, your pictures, and ANYTHING party on Friday -- I can't wait to see what you bring to the party~!

...but until then, I invite you to our pirate party -- ARGGGGGH!

The theme was chosen by my 5 (now 6!) year old, due to an unhealthy interest in 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  I remembered we had a pirate board game in the basement, so the board game became central to the planning.  how could I use the game pieces, board, accessories without ruining them?

The game board is a fabric gameboard, so it became the tablecloth.  
The coins?  They got to go in the treasure chest!

We had this chest in the garage, but you could easily substitute a decorated cardboard box or any type of container.

One of the essentials parts of cheap party planning is to make games, favors and food work double duty.   I knew this pirate chest was going to be the crux of the party, so I made it serve a few functions...

#1  I had the kids go on a treasure hunt to find the chest itself.  The instructions were in a "Handy Dandy Pirate Notebook (anybody still watch Blue's Clues?).  Each page had a destination and an "action" like marching, sprinkling pixie dust (old sanding sugar) or yelling "Ahoy!".  The hunt has to be difficult enough to take up a bunch of time and build suspense, but not so long that the kids get weary.  Ours took about 10-15 minutes. 


After they found the chest it was time for game #2...

#2 I took the favors for the party (gold coins, ring pops, necklaces, "jewels", etc)  as well as a few snakes into the trunk and then we covered it with sand.  We needed to top off our sandbox, so paying for several bags of sand was already in our budget.  Buying the sand the week of the party gave us a party game.  Anyway, the kids had to dig through the treasure chest 2 at a time with their left hand and grab one toy at a time.  They also had to WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES!  They all had 5-6 turns and then we went on to something else.  Later in the party, kids could go back and search for more.

SO....if you've followed, the purchase of sand for our sandbox and favors for the party turned into 2 party games, and easy freetime activity and took about 30-40 minutes of the party.

Here's another easy activity.  A simple walk the plank is kind of essential for a pirate party, and can be made with any piece of wood and a couple coolers.  I made mine out of an IKEA cabinet door that has a dry erase finish.  Total cost?  A buck.

Another favor was the predictable foam knives.  (Swords are also a perennial favorite!)  
Again, they were not just favors, but party games...and they cost a buck each from the dollar store.

Game #1  I attached a simple foam skull and crossbones to a piece of poster board.  It served as a decoration for the front door, but then halfway through the party, I took it down for a game.  The kids had gold coins (that they had won from another game I'll tell you about tomorrow!) and tried to land the coins on the skull and crossbones.  I held the posterboard on the ground and helped out the kiddos if they weren't doing so well.  The prize for making it onto the board?  A knife!

Game #2  My husband plays a game with our boys called "gatekeeper".  Basically the monster goes to sleep and the "prisoners" try to sneak past him without waking him.  Simple, but it is the boys favorite game.  Every night in the hallway around 6:30 there is screaming and running in our house.  :)  The game translated easily to "Pirate Runaway".  The gatekeeper wielded his knife and tried to stop the pirates when they snook past.  Easy, almost free and one of the kids' favorites.

Here is the cost breakdown for the Pirate Party Games:

$25.00 Budget

Plates - $1.00
Swords - $10.00
"Gold" candy - $1.00
Gold Whales - $2.00
Sand - $1.00
Chocolate Coins - $4.00
Trophies, whistles, necklaces and ringpops - $4.00

Here is the stuff I had that I could have substituted other things for  or omitted.

IKEA Plank - $1.00
Trunk - $0
Cooler - $0
Book/Sharpie - $0
Pixie Dust (old sprinkles) - $0

What are the plates and goldfish for??  CHECK OUT TUESDAY's POST RIGHT HERE!  How to use FOOD as party games!
Come back tomorrow and get ready to link up YOUR party ideas and printables on FRIDAY!

Missed a post this week?

FRIDAY - YOUR party ideas -- link them up!


Four Flights said…
Such a great idea! Syd is having his 5th birthday party next month and he wants a pool party. I tried to convince him to go with a pirate theme since it would go perfect with water, but no. He wants a Boba Fett theme :-/
Laura said…
You are seriously the coolest Mom, ever!! I sent this post on to another blogger I follow who is always posting party ideas (her blog is called Creative Party Ideas by Cheryl). Hopefully she'll link up some of her awesome ideas Friday. I've got nothing, honey.
What's Boba Fett????

I'm trying to convince our July birthday boy to have a pool party too, but he is convinced he only wants a "cool" party. When asked what a "cool" party consists of -- he's kind of at a loss?!

Laura - thanks for the tip...I'll have to check her out!!! ...oh and if you ask my boys (or husband), I am so VERY far from cool ;)
Love these ideas! Parties are so much fun!
Great stuff Amy! I just love doing theme Birthday parties for my boy - maybe he'll pick pirates next year!
heidimiller said…
My 3 (soon to be 4) year old wants a pirate party and I LOVE these ideas! I will be "pinning" this! :) THANKS Amy!
That's great Heidi - ARRRRGH and AHOY!