While children of any age enjoy a birthday party, turning 7 usually marks the end of what has been a year of major accomplishment. Most of 7-year-olds have just learned to read during the past year, opening the whole world to them and enhancing their spirit of adventure.
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Pirates of the Seven Seas Theme
A pirates of the Seven Seas theme celebrates the child's interest in exploration. Message in the bottle invitations will get the party off to a great start. Skull and crossbones invitations in a bottle can be purchased from the Oriental Trading Company or they can easily be handmade. Get a beige card stock and distressing ink. Then crumple the paper into a ball. Unfold it and add distressing ink to the paper to enhance the creases. Around the edges of the paper draw lines with a black marker to resemble a treasure map and in one corner make a large red "X." Then write the party information on the invitations. Include the date, time, location and a phone number to RSVP on the invitations.
Decorations should be in the colors of blue and sea green to keep with the Seven Seas theme. Streamers, table linens and balloons can be purchased in these colors and strategically placed throughout the party area. Seashell planters for serving food can be purchased. Blue streamers can be hung from doorways to create a waterfall effect. Include small pirates chests in various places filled with chocolate coins and strands of fake pearls. Decorate the walkway so guests are excited before they even enter the party area. Stick a small wooden sign in the yard that says, "Beware, Enter at Ye Own Risk" in sloppy black writing. Make sure to add a skull and crossbones to the sign for added effect. Red and black balloons can also be used on the walkway to enhance the atmosphere. Soak pennies in vinegar and salt to make them shine and scatter them throughout the walkway. As the children enter the party, give them each a pirate hat and eye patch to wear throughout the party. For added fun, each child could be given a pirate nickname, like Peg Leg Pete or One-Eyed Willie.
Feed the little buccaneers fish sticks and chips. Goldfish crackers and pretzels can also be set out on the table in seashell planters. The kids will have fun eating the ocean with sunken treasures, which is simply blue jello made with peaches at the bottom of it. A small plastic pirate ship can be put on the top to add to the effect. Shark's blood punch can be served for the little pirates to drink. To make Shark's blood punch, freeze ice cubes made with red fruit punch. Then pour Sprite at room temperature into clear glasses and add a couple fruit punch ice cubes. Tell the children it's shark's blood and they can watch it melt to see a swirling effect in the soda.
Play Sharks and Minnows. Set up two series of cones in the yard. The birthday child will start out as the shark and the minnows must run across from one set of cones to the other without getting tagged. Once tagged, they become sharks as well and the game continues until all of the kids are sharks.
Having a cannon ball fight is sure to entertain the 7-year-old guests. Set up two large cardboard boxes that are painted to look like pirate ships. Ball up various pieces of newspaper to make the cannon balls. When the game starts, the teams have to try to sink the other team's ship by throwing the cannon balls into the other team's ship. The team that gets the most newspaper balls into the other team's box wins.
Around the World Party
During this themed party, the children will get a chance to take a pretend trip to all seven continents. Not only will the children have fun playing various themed games, but they learn something about each continent throughout the party.
For invitations, create a passport by using blue construction paper, a gold seal and a black marker. Fold the blue paper in half and attach the seal on the front. Under the seal write, "United States Passport" to make it look like a real passport. On the inside of the pretend passport, write the party details. Include the date, time and location of the party.
The children will be traveling to all seven continents and collecting souvenirs as they go. Make small suitcases out of cardboard to be given to the guests as they arrive. The kids can place their "souvenirs" in their suitcases. Give them each a American flag sticker to place on their suitcase. Cardboard red, white and blue glasses can also be given to the children as their souvenir from the United States. Have the kids each put one hand one a jump robe (pretend airplane) and travel to each continent. Some ideas for souvenirs can include: chopsticks or fortune cookies from Asia, a small gift frozen in ice cubes that the children will have to melt in order to receive the prize from Antarctica, plastic jungle animals or finger puppets from Africa, or stickers with kangaroos for Australia. A small sticker representing each continent should be affixed to each child's suitcase.
Games can be played in various continents as well. Think about pin the head on the dragon for Asia, a kangaroo hop (potato sack) race for Australia or dropping spaghetti stands into a bottle for Europe. Food and drinks can also symbolize continents.