Fresh air, sunshine, and waves gently lapping a sandy shore; doesn't that sound like a wonderful invitation?
Especially if you live in a climate that is currently in the icy grip of winter like I do, that image of the seashore is tantalizing! A nautical birthday party for kids might be just the sunshine you need to brighten a special event!
How to Throw a Nautical Birthday Party
No matter the season though, a nautical themed birthday party is a perennial favorite on my blog, Spaceships and Laser Beams, where we major on birthday party ideas for boys (and non-frilly girls!). With good reason, too; there are so many potential variations on this theme and they all look terrific.
First off, look at this partial list and think of the images a nautical themed birthday party affords and be inspired in decoration choices:
- fish (and nets)
- stars and starfish
- oars ship's wheel
- sailors (and hats, plus stripes)
- sailor knots
- treasure boxes
Next, think of how you want your party to feel . For example, do you want to convey a rough and tumble sense of adventure; a classic, boat club atmosphere; fresh beginnings; or a light hearted, comical approach? That decision can help you decide on colors, too.
Birthday Party Ideas
So far I ™ve never seen a nautical party that didn't include some shade of blue, but with a variation of accent colors the parties have their own personalities. Some popular pairings include blue with red and white, blue and yellow, blue and green, aqua and cream, and blue with hits of orange, red and yellow.
Include all guest areas in your decoration efforts, too. Pull them into your party atmosphere as soon as they come to your home (or party venue) with a welcome wreath that looks like a life preserver or a banner of colorful flags. If you are hosting small children, a captain's treasure chest will spark their imaginations right away. Hand out sailor style hats for them to wear.
All parties are not mega celebrations but even a small gathering benefits from attention to detail. After the initial impression of the overall party, guests often enjoy those little touches the most. At a nautical party, for instance, you might use twine to tie a square knot around the napkin and silverware (plastic or not!). Include a real shell or a paper punched image of one. Perhaps the chair backs can be decorated with a nautical fabric, tied on with a sailor's knot. Drink straws can have small flags or a medallion with an image that coordinates with your other decorations.
Tie your food options into the theme choices. Make it easy for guests to enjoy them, too. Most parties benefit from offering finger foods and easy to hold items and that's especially true for kids. Food will look most appealing when it's arranged on a variety of levels and in containers that show what you're offering. Include seashells, miniature lighthouses or whatever you ™ve chosen as your motif, to decorate the food table.
Some activities that go well with a nautical themed birthday party:
- free nautical themed printable temporary tattoos
- anchor toss-play this similar to a horse shoe type game
- build your own toy boat (I love these easy instructions to make a viking ship!)
- have crayons, (washable!) markers and color pages of sea images
- write messages to put in a bottle that won't be opened by the birthday child until a future, specific birthday
- have a boat float (in a kiddie pool)
- dig for buried treasure and seashells (a kiddie pool filled w/sand works well)
- play a version of Simon Says, using nautical flags for giving or denying permission
- depending on age, add an educational element to the party by teaching simple knot tying, identifying types of ships or fish, or simple boat safety rules.
When the party is over, send the kids home with full tummies, memories of a fun time and a favor. This can be something simple like a starfish shaped cookie. Mini treasure chests with candy treats, little beach pails or small favor bags reminiscent of a sailor's duffle are cute too.
Tell me: what would you love to see at your nautical themed birthday party?