Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tate is One: The Activities

I think that the best kids' parties are short.  About an hour and half, quickly moving from one activity to the next to make sure kids' don't lose interest or get too squirreley.  So when we started thinking about activities at Tate's party, I wanted to make sure that we had a general plan. 

First, Zach took the pirate ship silhouette from the invitations, and enlarged it.  He then cut it out and attached it to our living room wall.  The ship became the perfect spot to take pictures throughout the day, and some of my favorite shots were of our pirates (and pirate-princesses) posing in front of the ship. 
Following pictures, we worked on the art project. I had bought small treasure boxes for each child, and the kids spent about 30 minutes painting the boxes, attaching gems and stickers, and generally making a huge mess. It was a lot of fun.
What pirate party would be complete without a treasure hunt?  Followig lunch, the kids went on a treasure hunt to find the key that would unlock the treasure chest.  Since the weather in Portland is notoriously iffy in April, we had to make sure the entire treasure hunt could be done inside.  So it consisted of three clues that were all inside the house:
The first clue can be found in a book,
So run to Tate’s room and have a look,
It’s a story you’ve read again and again,
Of Captain Pirate Hook and his foe Peter ___

The next clue will make quite a splash,
So off to the bathroom you ought to dash,
Pull back the curtain, its where you rub-a-dub-dub
The clue's in a bottle floating in the bath___

“X” marks the spot, so says pirate lore,
So look for the “X” above a bedroom door,
Once you find it, enter to see,
That which you need, the treasure chest ___

The kids had a great time rushing through the house, and ultimately found the key to unlock the chest.
Once they unlocked the treasure chest, they discovered their "treasure".  Personalized canvas bags filled with chocolate coins, rootbeer barrels, and a few piratey items to take home.
We finished up the party by opening presents, which I think was as much fun for the other kids as for Tate- since he is too young to unwrap presents yet, each guest got to "help" him by unwrapping what they brought.  Favorite gifts included books, a drum, and a ball. 
Also, remember the whole time capsule idea?  It was so much fun seeing how creative people were.  A few of our favorite time capsule items included a Rolling Stones Top 100 Artists magazine, a 2011 Sports Illustrated Issue (so creative, right?!), a poster that shows common text message shortcuts (lol), a favorite book and a "Heart Oregon" bumper sticker for his first car, sports gear from favorite sports teams, a keychain (suddenly, Zach and I are feeling a lot of pressure to get this kid a car when he is 16!), and more.  I also love that grandparents, cousins, and of course, Zach and I, wrote letters to include.  Already when I look in the time capsule I am reminded of the special day and all the people that love and care about our birthday boy. 
And so, just over 2 hours after it began, Tate's pirate party came to an end.  I was a tired and happy mama.
P.S.  The day after Tate's party he started saying "mama".  So it turns out the best birthday gift was for me.


  1. I so love your post-party posts, Janelle! Especially how you break them down into manageable parts, so I can just think about food, or fun, or decor. Other things I love include that non-costumey nod to pirates in the outfits you and Tate wore. And that pirate ship backdrop is amazing!!! Is just the black part cut out, out is it printed on the tan? And where did you get it enlarged so big? A photo shop?

  2. Melissa- Thanks so much for the kind words (and for noticing our stripey outfits!). The pirate ship backdrop is all Zach's doing. He scanned the ship from the invitation, put it into a grid, and then calculated how much heach grid sqaure needed to be in order for the entire ship to be about 3 feet tall. He then drew the grid and hand-drew the ship on giant pieces of black cardstock, cut it out and taped it to our wall. The tan is the color of our living room wall (paint from Restaration Hardware).

  3. Yikes! How many typos are there in that comment? Long day...

  4. I want you to be the party planner for whatever big event I have coming up. Though, since there are no engagements or children's birthdays coming up, it may have to be "married to me" party, a la that Sex and the City episode (I'd skip the registry, however. I just want the party!)

  5. Wow! Of course, this party was gorgeous and thoughtfully planned. But most importantly, it looks incredibly fun! The kids look like they're having a great time, and Tate looks outrageously adorable in his striped shirt (as do you).