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Coolest Pirate Birthday Party Games

Cannonballs Away Pirate Game

by Dorothy R.
(Greeley, CO)

Make two large pirate ships out of two refrigerator or sofa boxes (you can go to your nearest furniture store to find some). Divide the kids into two groups and put each team in their box. Give the first team two dozen ping-pong balls (you can paint them black as if they were cannon balls) and see how many “cannon balls” they can toss into the other teams “ship” to try and sink it. Team two can catch the “bombs” and toss back into the first team’s ship, but they cannot pick “bombs” up off of the floor. After team one has used their two dozen balls, give team two a try, then count the bombs to see which team’s ship was sunken.

Musical Islands

by Maria
(Birmingham, UK)

It is just like musical chairs but instead make island shapes out of paper or card and tape them to the floor and then when the music stops they have to get on to one of the islands, take one away each time. If you have youngsters then you can allow lots on each island so as you take islands away there gets more and more on each one – there are no winners or losers!

Pirate Bean Bag Toss

by Beth

Take a piece of plywood about 2’x3′ and sketch a very large skull and crossbones. (Don’t worry if your artwork’s not that great – kids won’t care.)

Cut out the eye, nose and mouth holes. Make sure the eyes and mouth are large enough to toss a beanbag through – enlarge them if not. Then paint the skull white and the background black.

Make or buy small beanbags – I bought some skull and crossbones fabric before Halloween that was perfect. Prop up the game board with another board or just lean it against a wall. You could probably also use a big piece of cardboard if you couldn’t get plywood.

Peg Leg Race Pirate Party Game

by Alicia A.
(Woodridge, IL)

Three legged race – Two kids have one of their legs tied to the other – first pair to the finish or with the best time wins!

Pirates Treasure Hunt

by Chris K.
(League City, TX)

Make a treasure map suitable for the age of the children. For my grandson’s (4th) birthday party I made a treasure map for 3 teams. An adult leads the way for each of the teams. They started at the front door but all three teams had different instructions so not to have all teams at each location at once.
Some went left, some went right and some went straight ahead for their next location clues.

I got play sand (Toys R Us) and poured some in a mound in the grass on the side of the yard. I bought little boats (Dollar Store bath toys) and had them upside down and turned sideways like shipwrecked boats and made a flag from poster board that said “Shipwrecked Island.” Attached to the flag was the next clue.

The next clue read, “proceed to yer left on the next twenty rocks, careful not to slip as ye may find a croc” (I actually had 20 stepping stones on the side of my yard so this is where we pretended that crocs were in the water and they couldn’t step off each stone).

The next location was Croc Rock. I got an inflatable crocodile and some small alligator toys (Dollar Store) and placed them on a landscape stone. Under the croc was the next clue. Again, I made a poster board flag that said, “CROC ROCK.” Each of the other teams had similar clues, just for the location opposite of the other teams, so they all got the same clues that would lead them to the “BOOTY”.

Make sure you make 3 clues for each location or for however many teams you have hunting.

The last clue read, “If you be a pirate walk if you dare, but if ye a chicken, ye best beware”. Also, it said to take 20 steps to their left (I have a big yard) which led them to a kiddie pool filled with pirate rubber duckies. It had a poster board flag that read, WALK THE PLANK. Each child had to walk across a plywood plank propped up on each side on cinder blocks (an adult would hold the hands to guarantee a DRY arrival). Once they walked the plank, each child got to pull one duck out of the pool. They had numbers on them from 1-3. There were 3 TREASURE gifts they could get. 1’s got a pirate telescope, 2’s got a pirate chest with candy in it (cardboard treasure chests from any party store) and 3’s got a pirate pen and pad set.

You can choose anything you want to fit your budget. It doesn’t have to be big, kids like anything new to them. For 3-5 year olds, this was exciting to them, the older the child, the bigger your imagination will have to become.

Pin the Eyepatch on the Pirate

This game is played just like pin the tail on the donkey, except with an eyepatch. Have fun!

Pirate Eye Spy

by Annette

An awesome and fun pirate game for young kids to play. All you need is toy telescopes which you can get from Crazy Clarks or Big W. Have the kids all hide except for 1 kid who is counting to 20. Once the child has arrived to 20 he/she shouts “Ready or Not Here I Come” and looks for the kids only using the telescope. When he/she finds someone they call out “1 2 3 on…” and says the kids name. After all the kids are found the last kid to be found gets a prize.

Ships Ahoy Pirate Game

by Catherine
(New Zealand)

One person is the Captain who calls instructions and the children have to follow. Start with a few instructions and add more on as the children get to know the rules.

Set up a good sized area and label port, starboard, stern, bow. When the sides of the ship is called the children run to that side.

Other calls include:

Captain aboard – stand to attention
Scrub the deck – squat and scrub deck
Hoist the sail – pull from above head to feet
Climb the ladder – pretend to climb ladder
Pull the anchor – pull side to side
Dig for treasure – action of digging
Sharks – have to run to any side of boat.
Man the row boats – get in line of 2-4 and row
Land Ahoy – look for land
Seagulls – run and flap wings

For fun and plenty of laughs, change the speed to which you give the calls.

If you want, you can send children into exile if they don’t follow the instructions.

Bucko or Foe

by First Mate Connie

This game is more suited for older children, mainly teenagers. I made it up for my partners 21st, yet to see how it goes.

Basically I’m giving all guests a loot bag with five gold coins (amongst other stuff) and a letter that will be in the bag; it will explain the game:

“Ye have been given five gold doubloons for survival on tis journey.
Do not consider thyself lucky, for all av’ been given equal.
Captain Hook be sure thar be foes onboard and he be determined t’ discover them. Ye be required t’ find who be bucko or foe.
Those not talkin’ like a true pirate shall be foe. If ye find a foe take a doubloon from their pocket!
If by t’ end o’ t’ journey ye be t’ richest bucko, then ye be rewarded handsomely.”

So basically, by the end of the party, whomever has the most golden coins wins.

also written in the letter:

“Also Captain hook has lost ‘is precious silver doubloons aboard t’ buffalo. It be o’ great importance that they be found. If ye find all five and return them, ye be spared scrutiny. Captain Hook remembers having them last on t’ deck.”

For this part, perhaps u could hide the silver coins around the house or garden, or make a pretend ship deck.

We’re having his party on a real, old boat, so it is all piratey-like already, lucky us lol :D

Swab the Poop Deck Pirate Party Game

by Jana
(Seattle, WA)

This is a relay game where you divide the kids into two teams. With a broom or mop in hand, each kid will have to swab an inflated balloon through a simple obstacle course and back to the starting line. There, they will tag the next pirate in line, until each kid on the team has done their duty.

Pirate, Pirate, CAPTAIN

by Paige

It is quite simple, it’s just a pirate-version of Duck, Duck, Goose.
Have the kids sit in a circle, and choose one person to be “IT”. Then he/she walks around the circle, tapping each person on the head, saying “Pirate” until they choose the “Captain”. The ‘Captain’ then stands up and the two run around the circle in the opposite direction until one reaches the spot that the ‘Captain’ was sitting. The person who didn’t make it is now “IT”

Pin the patch on the pirate

Make a pirate face poster or print one to pin on a missing patch, then blind fold the kids and the person who gets it on, or the closeset wins.

Pin the Treasure Chest

Played just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey but instead use a treasure map!

Use poster board to create your map with an X where the treasure chest should be buried.

Give each child a cut out of a treasure chest with their name on it.

Blind fold the child than have them stick their treasure chest on the map as close as they can to the X.

Which ever child is the closest wins!

Cannon Balls in the Crows Nest Pirate Game

by Debra B.
(Downingtown, PA, USA)

Tape a straw (topped with a paper pirate flag) to the inside of a black plastic drinking cup (this is a Crow’s Nest). Paint some ping pong balls black with craft paint (these are the Cannon Balls).

Make several Crow’s Nests and write points on them (more points for cups set farther away). Have the kids try to toss the balls into the cups.

It helps to put something heavy in the bottom of each cup so that they don’t tip over easily.

Capture the Pirate Flag Pirate Birthday Party Activity

by Cindi W
(Bryan, Ohio)

1. Take black 9×12 construction paper, about 12 to 15 pieces, and draw or glue “skull and crossbones” on each.

2. Lay each “flag” on the floor in a large circle, one for each player MINUS one. If there are 10 kids, you’ll need 9 flags.

3. Now play the game like you would Musical Chairs. The kids walk around the flags to the music (we used pirate themed kids songs), then jump or sit on a flag when the music stops.

4. Whoever doesn’t have a flag to sit on is out, and you take one flag away.

5. Keep playing this way until only one child is left sitting on a flag!

Marshmallow Catapult Pirate Party Game

by Marianna

Make a catapult out of a clothes pin and a plastic spoon. Have two groups of kids on opposite sides of the room build a “ship” out of plastic cups by stacking them. Then they each try to use mini marshmallows to catapult across to the other side to knock down the plastic ship. Whichever team knocks down the opposing ship first wins.

Bobbing for Cannonballs Pirate Party Game

by Robyn Pirie
(A place somewhere…)

Well, here goes!

You get a basin (or kiddie pool) and put cored apples in! All you do is pretend they are cannonballs!

The person who grabbed the most “cannonballs” with their mouths, wins!

Joe The Bad Pirate Treasure Hunt Game

by Camille

A some what normal treasure hunt game, where the kids are driven around and around the house and garden, while hunting for the treasure.
We live in an apartment complex near the beach, so there isn’t much room for the kids to go except in our building or around it.

Anyway, this is how I made the clues for the treasure hunt game:

At first, I wrote a little story about Joe William B. the pirate (slightly scary, like he’s dead now, and he buried his treasure, and is watching you! He also says he has left his treasure for some boy named Jack or so, and will revenge on anyone else who steals or takes it!)

You can let your fantasy go wild, what’s important is that it really looks like some sort of will with slightly faded ink, torn and burned slightly on the edges.

Then, I started tearing/ripping up little pieces of paper to make the clues. They where written in ink and some times in pencil.

This is what I wrote at one point:

“I have moved my treasure to a safer place. Keep looking. TIP: I love relaxing in a cozy hammock/ or: TIP: I love relaxing in a web that is not a web!”
Like a fun story. This clue points to a hammock we have in the garden, where the kids can find another cool clue like:
“Ehm, do you know where I can get a good beer to drink while overlooking the sea? I’m sooo thursty.”
Pointing at the bar by the pool, where drinks are stored.
Another clue, says that the kids have to swim in the pool to retrieve a lost clue.
I put the clue into an empty glass maple syrup bottle and let it drop to the bottom.
In there I wrote:
“Help! my ship is on fire! I might not make it to the shore… Black beard the pirate is following me! once you have escaped the sea, run as fast as you can for 50 steps!”

and so on….

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little text and that your children/child will have a LOVELY BIRTHDAY PARTY!

Capture the Captain Pirate Party Game

by Adrienne
(Mobile, AL)

The pirates have declared mutiny against the captain! Have one person volunteer to be the designated captain and have them run as fast as they can while the rest of the crew chases them. Whoever captures the captain wins.

Skull Hunt Pirate Party Game

by Sherl
(Cary, NC)

Hide the skulls all over the yard or inside your house. The child that finds the most skulls wins!

Play this game like an Easter egg hunt.

By the way – Halloween is a great time to buy skull supplies.

Pirate Hat Activity

by Kelly
(United States)

Get Card stock and make a template for a pirate hat. Have the children decorate their hats. Once done, have the pirates vote on their favorite hat.

Knock over the ship

by stella
(barrie ont can)

you get a kidde pool fill it with water and then put toy pirate ships in it and then get bean bags and have the pirates the kids try to knock over the ships.

Gold Coin Hunt Pirate Game

by Madi and Ty

Similar to the traditional easter egg hunt, hide chocolate gold coins for the children to find. The only rules are no stealing the other’s chocolate but most important is to have fun!!

Sink the Ships

by Diane

Print a picture of a pirate ship on A4 sized sheets of cardboard. Glue a cardboard Tube to the top of the sheet on the back.
Thread the sheets onto string and separate them whith cardboard discs glues to the string on either side so that the pictures are about 40cm apart.
Hang the string like a banner between two poles or trees so that the pictures will rotate over the string. Give each child three cannon balls (tennis balls) and they see how many ships they can scupper.

Pop The Canon Ball Pirate Game

by Samara
(Melbourne, Australia)

Blow up a large amount of black balloons, approx 2-3 per child playing. In a couple of the balloons (before blowing them up) put a piece of paper that says WINNER on it, into the balloons.
The aim of the game is for the children to sit on the balloons (canon balls) and pop them, the children who get to pop the balloons with the paper in them, wins a prize.

Protect Your Pirate Flag Game

by Amanda Moore
(North Carolina)

Get 2 pirate flags – a red and black one (or 2 different colors).
Divide the kids into 2 teams. Have them decorate the flags. Stick the pirate flags in the ground on 2 different sides of the yard. Then have them try and get each others flag (but at the same time the kids have to try and protect their own team’s flag as well). The team who gets the other team’s flag wins.

Cannon Ball Toss Pirate Party Game

by Polkadots Parties for little People
(Brisbane Queensland)

Fill a black balloon with water. The children stand in a circle and throw the balloon as quick as they can without dropping the cannon ball … BANG.

Blind Man’s Bluff Pirate Party Game

by Simone Draper-Efron
(Brooklyn, NY)

All you need is a blindfold!

Have the birthday child be the “blind man,” and blindfold him or her. Have the other children join hands and form a circle around the blind man. The players should then start moving in a circle around the blind man while singing:

“Three Blind Mice, Three Blind Mice;
See how they run! See how they run!
They all ran after the pirate’s wife,
Who cut off their tales with a carving knife.
Have you ever seen such a sight in your life,
As Three Blind Mice?”

When the verse stops, the blind man points in the direction of a child and guesses a name. If the blind man guesses correctly, he or she trades places with the other child. If not, the child steps into the circle with the blind man so the blind man can try to catch him or her.

Once the blind man catches the player, he or she must try to identify the child by touching his or her face, hair, or clothing. If the blind man guesses correctly, they switch places. If not, the blind man stays in the center for another round.

Pin the Treasure on the Map Pirate Activity

by Sara Routhier
(Barre, Vermont)

This is an adaptation of “Pin the Tail on the donkey”.
On a Large piece of Oak Tag or cardboard, draw a large Treasure Map, with an Island in the middle, and Ocean on all sides. Include sea-serpents, pirate ships, palm-trees and pirates on the map (don’t forget the X!). Also, draw a N/S/E/W compass on the bottom corner. Using 4/6 index cards, Draw or Print out Treasure chests using different colors, and attach small pieces of tape, or tape flat thumb-tacks to the back (for small pirates, stick with tape!)
Have your guests wear a bandanna over their eyes, and spin them around, facing them towards the Map. Whoever “pins” their Treasure closest to the X wins! (for smaller pirates, whoever gets their “treasure” on the island gets a prize! more prizes = happier kids)

Skull Toss Water Balloon Game

by Morgan
(United States of America)

Have the kids divide into two person teams and line up in two lines facing each other. Fill up some balloons with water and draw skulls on them with markers. Toss the water balloons back and forth– each toss taking one step back. The team whose skull water balloon didn’t pop, gets a prize.

Goodies Treasure Hunt Pirate Activity

by Yasmin Pehlvi
(Milton, Ontario, Canada)

You give each kid a map you made with pictures of objects around your house, for example, under bed, behind sofa… and put chocolate coins or other surprises in those spots. The kids will take turns going to a place on the map and will come back to the “ship” with chocolate/surprises for everyone!(put different objects in each spot so you might not need to give a gift bag at the end cause they will already have lots of goodies to munch on!)

Bubble Swordfight Activity

Issue a fake (preferably) foam sword to every party-goer on arrival (or create your owns out of long balloons, this site has instructions for making a sword balloon: https://www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com/balloon-animal-instructions.html).

Have 2 or 3 adults blowing bubbles with bubble liquid and bubble wands in the yard. The kids puncture the bubbles with their swords rather than sword fighting with each other. Works great and keeps everyone happy until the last guest arrives!

Pin The Tail on the Crocodile

by Alison

Pin The Tale on The Crocodile (a simple game). The nearest wins a prize! Nice and easy!!

Ships Captain Pirate Game

by Lauren
(South Coast, UK)

One player is chosen as the captain. S/he calls out orders to the rest of the players who are the crew. If a player does not follow an order correctly, s/he is OUT. (The decision of who is out is made by the captain who is always right).


“To the ship”: run to the captain’s right.

“To the island”: run to the captain’s left.

“Hit the deck”: lay down on your stomach (or if players don’t want to get dirty, they can crouch down).

“Attention on deck”: salute and yell, “Aye, aye captain!” — players may not move now until the captain gives the order of, “At ease!” (i.e. even if the captain gives a different order such as “to the ship” the crew must continue to remain at attention until told “at ease”).

“Three men in a boat”: the crew must form groups of three and sing “Row, row, row your boat” Anybody who is not in a group of three is out.

“The love boat”: crew members grab a partner and dance. Anybody without a partner is out.

“Clear the deck”: everyone must have their feet up off the floor.

“Scrub the deck”: everyone on their knees scrubbing.

“Captain’s Quarters”: everyone run towards the captain.

“Man-over-board”: Players must find a partner as quickly as possible. One partner must lay on their stomach while the other places their foot on their partner’s back. Children without a partner or pairs that are too slow are eliminated.

“A Periscope”: Every player falls on their back and sticks one leg in the air. The last ones are eliminated.

“SHARK!”: Everyone must run to a designated base (multiple bases can be used). The last player to the base is eliminated.

“Crow’s nest”: All players must find a partner. The lightest player rides on their partner’s back. Those without partners or who assemble the crow’s nest too slowly are eliminated.

“Three maids in a row”: Children form groups of three and sit in a vertical row. The players who are the odd-man-out are eliminated.

“Sick turtle”: Everyone falls onto their backs and waves hands and feet in the air.

“Bow”: Run to the front of the boat.

“Stern”: Run to the back.

“Port”: Run to the left side of the boat.

“Starboard”: Run to the right side of the boat.

“Row the Boat”: Each player finds a partner, sits face to face, holds hands, and pretends to row a boat. Players who can’t find partners or who are too slow are eliminated.

Alternative rules: If playing in a pool, all of the orders stay the same except for “hit the deck” which becomes “walk the plank.” This means that crew members must bob underwater.

To make the game less competitive, players do not get “out.” Instead, if the captain notices that they do not follow an order, they must stand out for a count of 20.

Take a look at our complete Pirate Birthday Party section for more of the coolest party-planning ideas.

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