Pirates are kind of a big thing with my son, and he's lucky—he lives in a town by the water where real pirates once docked.
A few weeks ago, when my son had spring break, I took the day off from work, and he and I spent the morning at Charles Towne Landing, which has a working replica of a 17th century cargo vessel docked in the marshy edges of the Ashley River. At first, fearful that real pirates might be aboard, my son was hesitant to climb aboard, but after assurances that there were no Blackbeards or Captain Hooks in sight, he had a blast, steering the ship, pumping the bilge, and ordering me to "up anchor!" I had a great time, too, and I took a boatload of pictures. The beautiful ship against the brilliant blue spring sky planted the seed for a pirate birthday party.
I started sketching. Ships. Pirate Hats. Pirate Flags. I may have gone a little overboard (har har). I had the paper part of the party down. But my house is pretty small and far away from where most of his friends live, so I needed another venue. I thought about Charles Towne Landing itself, but a split second later I thought about a four-year-old darting away and falling into the pluff mud, and that was the end of that thought.
We are lucky in Charleston to have a small, but wonderful, children's museum (If you are ever visiting here with kids, I highly recommend the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry) which just happens to have a fantastic, indoor pirate ship. And which also just happens to have very affordable prices for children's birthday parties. DONE. All I had to do was supply the cupcakes and the birthday boy, and they would do the rest. Did I say done? DONER.
But, of course, I couldn't let well enough along, and all those sketches turned into a whole host of party goodies that we brought along. The boys loved the pirate hats and moustaches, though, even with my setting an example, the girls weren't about to put them on. But everyone got a kick out of their pirate ship cupcakes. They decorated foam swords, swashbuckled on the ship, and searched for pirate treasure on a scavenger hunt of the museum. It was exhausting just watching how much fun they were having.
In honor of my sweet boy's birthday, I'm giving you all the presents, as I am giving up all the paper goodies I designed for the occasion. As always, these are for personal use only. Since there's so much here, I've split it into individual files. Each one is a PDF. If you have a borderless printer, you should use that setting (with minimal "expansion" if that's an option on your machine). If you do not have borderless printing capabilities, make sure you check the box in Acrobat to shrink pages to fit—your stuff will be about 8% smaller, but that's no biggie, right? Because, hey, free stuff!
I had so much fun designing these—my personal favorite is the treasure map envelope: it totally worked every geometry-capable brain cell in my head, and I think it came out great, so I hope you'll check it out.
Invitations (5"x7", two-up)
Pirate Ship Cupcake Sails and Flags (12 per page)
Pirate Bunting (3 flags per page)
Pirate Ship Thank You Cards (4.25"x5.5", folded; two-up)
Buried Treasure Envelopes (fits 4.25"x5.5" thank yous)
I hope you enjoy these printables—whether you plan a whole party or just a fun afternoon at home (we're still getting mileage out of the pirate hats a week later!).
Want even more pirate-y goodness? Do you have a permanent pirate like mine? You might like my pirate ship fabrics—they make great pillow cases and room decor!
I've been getting emails and comments from folks saying that they can't download these printables. They are all working fine, but they are LARGE files, and so they can take a while to download, depending on what kind of internet connection you have. Because I, too, am impatient, I find that using a browser like Chrome, which gives download progress information, makes it easier to sit through a long download.