Pirate Games

Pirate Games

"Beware me young partying hearties, there be some fearsome pirate games here!""

Yee be most welcome to our swashbuckling Pirate birthday party games page, which we be sure yee'll have a blast readin' and even more of a giggle tryin' out ;-)

Thar be a laa..aarge variety of hilariously silly Pirate birthday party games here which be suitable for fearsome pirate kids from ages 2 to 12, so go ahead and cast a beady eye over these here games (if yee dare?) and have oodles fun ;-)

If yee be hoarding some great Pirate games that yee'd like to share with other pirate parents, please raise the Jolly Roger and share your pirate birthday game idea here...Thank yee kindly for sharing me hearties :-)

Pirate Games


Blind Man’s Bluff

This is a nice simple pirate birthday game which is well suited to pirates of 2 to 5 years old and all you will need is a blindfold and some simple prizes or treats!

Instructions:

  1. Start by making the birthday boy/girl the "blind man" and blindfold him or her.
  2. Have the other pirates join hands in a circle around the ‘blind man’.
  3. The Pirates the need to start moving in a circle around the blind man and singing the following version of the ‘Three Blind Mice’ song:
  • "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 pirates knife,
  • have you ever seen such a sight in your life,
  • as three blind mice?
  1. When the verse stops, the ‘blind man’ points in the direction of a child and guesses the pirate name. If the ‘blind man’ guesses correctly, he or she trades places with the other pirate. If not, the pirate steps into the circle with the ‘blind man’ so the blind man can try to catch him or her.
  2. Once the ‘blind man’ catches the player, he or she must try to identify the pirate 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.

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Bobbing for Apples

This is one of those pirate games which is particularly suitable for young scallywags from the age of 3+ but is equally fun for the older kids and is great fun to watch!

Instructions:

  1. Take one apple for each pirate birthday guests.
  2. Core each apple then hang them from the ceiling or a live by some string, so each apple swings at the same height as the mouths and noses of each of your young party pirates.
  3. Set a ticking egg timer (ticking bomb!) to 2 minutes then get each pirate then to stand in front of their hanging apple with their hands behind their backs.
  4. Start the timer and get the pirates to bite into their apple!
  5. The pirate who eats the most of his apple is the winner.

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Sea-Monster Bubble Swordfight

This is a fun activity for the kids and works well as both a pirate game and as an pirate party icebreaker activity, as it's a great way of distracting the young pirates from using their pirate swords on each other and on the adults!

Instructions:

  1. When your pirate guests arrive at the party, provide each pirate with a foam or balloon sword.
  2. Have 2 or 3 adults with bubble liquid stand in the yard and blow bubbles or create bubbles with a bubble wand.
  3. Challenge the brave young pirates to pop and slice the 'ocean creature' bubbles with their fearsome swords. 

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Cannon Ball Toss Pirate Party Game

This simple pirate game is hilarious and is one that the kids really love, partly because of the suspense and partly because it involves getting very wet!

Instructions:

  1. Have a handy supply of black balloons to hand (6 to 20!) and a hose with which you can fill the balloons with water.
  2. Fill one of the balloons with water.
  3. Get the young pirates stand in a circle and toss the balloon (cannonball) to each other without dropping it on the floor.
  4. Whoever catches the balloon (cannonball) when it bursts, is out of game and also very wet!
  5. Keep going until there is only one pirate left.

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Attack on deck!

This is a very lively and wet pirate game, so needs to be played outside on a warm day. You’ll also need a few towels handy and the buccaneers might need to bring some swim shots or spare dry clothes with them to the party.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a paddling pool with water.
  2. Suspended a plank of wood across the pool and about 6 inches above the water. You can use wooden blocks or bricks placed underneath the plank at either end and around the edge of the pool to secure it in place.
  3. Divide your band of pirates into 2 teams. Issue each team captain with a cushion (rock! ) and his crew with foam balls, plastic, ping-pong balls or even rolled up socks (cannonballs!).
  4. The two captains have to battle head to head on the wooden plank using the cushions to knock each other off the plank and into the water, whilst the crew throws cannonballs at their opposing captain to try and make him wobble. 

This maybe one of the ´wilder´ pirate games, but it is great fun and the kids really love it!

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Cannonballs Away!

This is another of the 'wet and wild' pirate games for the backyard!

Instructions:

  1. Assemble a collection of cardboard boxes, old crates, plywood or anything else you can find it will be suitable for making two large "Pirate ships".
  2. Divide the party Pirates into two teams or groups.
  3. Get each pirate team to build and decorate their own pirate ship out of the cardboard boxes etc. that you've provided.
  4. Make sure that each pirate crew names the pirate ship and cuts out a couple off portholes in the side of the ship!
  5. Place the ships in the backyard facing each other with a large blue tarp in between for water.
  6. When they’ve finished building and positioning the ships, get them to help you fill about 100 black balloons with water - each team will then get 50 cannonballs each with which to far on the other pirate ship!
  7. Let the battle commence!

If you don't want to use water balloons because of the mess, you can make cannonballs out of balled up newspaper or rags wrapped in black tape.

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Save the Ship

This is one of those exciting pirate games where the kids have to compete against the clock as well as each other...Hunt for the ticking pirate bomb!

Instructions:

  1. One of the young buccaneers is nominated as a villainous enemy pirate who must hide a bomb (an egg timer) onboard the pirate's ship (in the house or yard). 
  2. The Villain must set the egg timer for about 3 minutes when hiding it, and then 'escape' to wait for the 3 minutes.
  3. The pirate crew  then have to hunt for 'the ticking bomb' before it goes off and sinks their precious pirate ship.
  4. Whoever finds the bomb before it goes off is the 'hero' and it becomes his turn to hide the bomb on the (other) pirate ship  next captain.
  5. If the bomb goes off before the crew find it, then the villain gets to hide it for a second time.

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Find the Crocodile (like the Croc in Peter Pan)

‘Tick’, ‘Tock’, find the Croc!

Remember in 'Peter Pan' there was the nasty ticking crocodile? With a little imagination you can create your own 'ticking croc' with an egg timer and a toy croc, then, just like the pirate game ‘escape the cannonball bomb‘ (see above), have the pirates try to locate the hidden ‘croc’ by its tick before the alarm bell goes off!

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Pirate Face Painting

Face painting is a great birthday party activity but can also be a great pirate birthday game to play and one for both the adults and kids...

"Who can draw the scariest pirate face?"

Have a competition and get the pirates to draw beards and moustaches, scars and rotten teeth, cuts and stitches, moles and burns and a whole host of other grizzly special makeup effects!

Take lots of photos of the kids all made up and looking fierce and if you want to make it competitive for the older kids, have the parents and kids vote on a 'winner'.

They'll have a ton of fun with face-painting pirate games and the photos will make great party favors and keepsakes.

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Hook the Treasure

Here's one of those really funny pirate games that'll have the young pirates testing their nerve and steady hands under pressure!…

Instructions:

  1. Prepare ahead of time some brightly-colored plastic drink cups (16 oz or large enough to fit a kid's hand into and enough for at least one cup for each of the pirate guests).
  2. Cut an X hole in the bottom of each cup.
  3. Push a wrapped hook-shaped candy cane halfway down into it. Voila! A Pirate prosthesis! Now empty a large bag of pretzels into a bowl. Let see how many pretzels the kids can fish out with their "hooks" in 60 seconds.

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Find the Golden Nuggets

This is a simple 'Treasure Hunt' style pirate game and suitable for the very youngest of pirates...

Spray paint some small garden rocks with gold and silver paint then hide them around the house or garden and see who can find the most. If you got the kids to make their own treasure chests earlier as a pirate party activity (one of the activities on out pirate party ideas page), then they could use them to store their loot.

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Musical Deserted Islands

A fun pirate games variation of ‘Musical Chairs’ which is particularly suitable for toddler pirates.

Instructions:

This is played just like the game ‘Musical Chairs’, only instead of chairs you can use large pieces of cardboard (which you can paint yellow and draw any number of 'island' details on!) or cloth (preferably yellow) cut into the shape of islands, cushions or something similar for the suitable little island.

  1. You will need to have one less island than the number of pirate guests at the party. Therefore if you had eight young pirate party guests you would need to make seven deserted islands.
  2. You also need some ‘pirate’ music (or some other fun kids music if you don't have any) to play during the game and a music player you can stop suddenly and easily restart the music again.
  3. Start the music and get the Pirates to sail around the islands. As soon as you stop the music, each pirate must dash to the nearest island and sit on it. The pirate who his left without an island to sit on, is out.
  4. Remove one of the islands, start the music again repeat until there is a winner.

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Panning for gold

This is a great pirate birthday game for adventurous young pirate prospectors...

Instructions:

  1. You will need lots of small gold and silver ‘nuggets’ and/or coins, a sandbox, paddling pool or large trough, several prospecting sieves and some water!
  2. Spray paint a selection of small garden stones (gold and silver) or use some plastic gold coins.
  3. If you have a large sandbox you backyard and you can use that otherwise, fill a large paddling pool or a trough, with water and some sand (the water is optional!).
  4. You can make prospecting sieves by taking foil pie plates and punching holes in the bottom to let the sand (and water) through. You will need one for each pirate prospector.
  5. Hide the gold amongst the sand and give each child a pirate sieve to see who can make their fortune.
  6. You can award prizes for each of the buried treasures they dig up.

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Pass the Captain’s Parrot

Here's one of those classic pirate games which is based on the popular birthday game ‘hot potato’.

Instructions:

  1. You'll need a stuffed parrot, some fun pirate music in a music player that you can stop suddenly and easily restart again.
  2. Gather kids in a circle and pass the Captain's parrot around while the music is playing.
  3. When the music stops the person with the parrot is out.
  4. Stop the music randomly to keep the game lively and to keep the excitement level high!
  5. Continue until there is only one person left that hasn't held the Pirate's parrot.

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Peg-leg race

If you're faced with a crew of energetic young buccaneers, this can be a great pirate game for letting them burn off some of their energy!

Instructions:

  1. You'll need a length of material long enough to tie two pirate legs together and some space in the backyard!
  2. This party game is played as a three-legged race, so you'll need one ‘leg-tie’ for every two pirate party guests, therefore if you have 10 pirates you will need five leg ties. As an alternative to using leg ties, you can get the Pirates to hold one of the legs behind their back.
  3. Get the Pirate-pairs to line up on the start line. The race is started with a wave of the Jolly Roger flag and the pirate-pairs than race off to the finish line.

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Pirate Pinata

Fearsome young pirates love having pinata pirate games at a pirate birthday party. The two favorite pirate pinatas are the 'treasure chest' pinata and the 'captains parrot' pinata.

You can have a lot of fun making your own pirate theme pinata and stuffing it with your own prizes, candies and treats, but if you don't have time to make your own, you'll find plenty of pinatas online or at a local toy store to choose from.

Just hang your pinata from a line, an outside tree or your ceiling indoors and let the pirates each take turns being blindfolded and hitting the pinata with a pirate's cutlass (you can decorate the pinata stick with gold or silver paint and some card to look like a cutlass).

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Pin the Flag on the Pirate Ship

This is a classic pirate party game and played in the same way as ’Pin the tail on the donkey’

Instructions:

  1. You will need to attach a large picture of a pirate ship to a wall or pin board.
  2. Each brave young buccaneer takes it in turns to be blindfolded and stand in front of the picture of the pirate ship.
  3. Once blindfolded, the pirate is given the ship's flag (a small flag with a pin to attach it to the ship) and gently spun around in a circle a couple of times to disorientate them.
  4. They then have to try and place the ships flag at the top of the ship's mast.
  5. The one who comes closest to placing the flag in the right place is the winner.

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Pin the Tail on the Crocodile

This pirate game´s played in the same way as ‘Pin the flag on the pirate ship’, although instead of the pirate ship you'll need to mount a picture of a crocodile on the wall or on a pin board and the pirates will be pinning the crocodile’s tail on the picture and not a flag!

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Pirate Eye Spy

This is a great pirate birthday game for young pirates to play and is particularly fun for ages 4 to 8.
Instructions:

  1. All you need is toy telescope or spyglass, which you can get online or from most toys stores.
  2. Have the pirates all hide in the house or backyard, except for 1 pirate who is holding the pirate spyglass and counting to 20.
  3. Once the pirate has counted to 20 he/she shouts "ready or not here I come you scurvy dogs!" and looks for the remaining pirates only using the spyglass.
  4. When he/she finds a pirate, they call out "1 2 3 on..." and calls out the pirate’s name.
  5. After all the pirates have been found, the last remaining pirate to be found wins a prize.

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Pirate Water Bail

This is another of the fun and 'wet' relay race pirate games which the kids will just love!

Instructions:

  1. Divide the pirate crew into two teams.
  2. Using 4 buckets, place two buckets at the starting line (one in front of each team) and the other two buckets 30 or more feet away.
  3. Fill the farthest buckets with water (use larger buckets to hold the water first since a lot of the water will be lost as they race back to fill their bucket).
  4. The Pirates from each team take it in turns to grab a sponge and run to the far bucket, dip the sponge in the water and then run back to the starting line bucket and squeeze he water into the empty bucket. The sponge is then handed to the next pirate team member who then runs back up to the buckets to wet the sponge etc.
  5. The first team to fill their bucket wins

There are lots of fun variations of this game, for example the pirates can be made to hold on one of their legs behind them and hop with the wet sponge, or to hop backwards on both legs

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Protect Your Pirate Flag Game

Instructions:

  1. Divide your Pirates into two teams and get them to make their own team pirate flag.
  2. Stick the pirate flags in the ground at different ends of your backyard.
  3. challenge the Pirate teams to try and capture the other team's flag, but at the same time.
  4. The team who gets the other team's flag wins.

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Sharks and Minnows

This is an energetic pirate game which is loosely based around game 'Tag' and is a popular game with kids from ages 5+.

Instructions:

  1. Start with the birthday pirate playing as 'the shark', while the rest of the pirate crew all play 'the minnows'.
  2. Place two cones in a line about 15 yards apart across the middle of your backyard.
  3. The minnows have to ‘swim’ from one side of the backyard across the line between the cones, to the other side of the yard without shark capturing or 'tagging' them.
  4. Whoever the shark captures or 'tags' is out of the game.
  5. The last minnow to be captured is the winner.

As a variation to this pirate game, instead of being out, the minnow that is captured by the shark then becomes the shark.

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Shipwreck

Young scalliwags love pirate games that involve climbing aboard a ship, particularly if it's someone else's! so this fun pirate birthday game (which is loosely based around the popular birthday party game 'musical chairs') should appeal to them...

Instructions:

  1. Use a large room or your backyard where there various items of large furniture or objects that you don’t mind the kids clambering on (you could even use large piece of cardboard which have been cut out the shape of various ship's objects like barrels, crates, the ships wheel and so on.
  2. One person is chosen to be the Captain and is responsible for shouting out orders.
  3. The remaining pirates ‘swim’ (run) around the ships objects until the captain shouts "Shipwreck - barrel", for example. The Pirates all have to rush to the barrel as fast as possible and climb on it.
  4. The last one on is said to have 'sunk in the sea' and is out of the game.
  5. As more and more players are out, the captain chooses smaller and smaller objects name and for the remaining players to climb onto.

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Ship's Captain

This is one of the toughest pirate games as it tests the pirate crews listening skills and their ability to act quickly to work together! It is a party game best suited to slightly older pirates from ages 6+

Instructions:

One player is chosen as the captain and is in charge of calling out orders to the rest of the pirate crew. If a player does not follow an order correctly, they are out. (The decision of who is out is made by the captain who is always right!).

Captains Orders:

  • "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!" (The players cannot 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.
  • "Shanty time!": Crew members grab a partner and dance. Anybody without a partner is out.
  • "Clear the poop deck": Everyone must have their feet up off the floor.
  • "Scrub the poop deck": Everyone on their knees scrubbing.
  • "Captain's Quarters": Everyone run towards the captain.
  • "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 'safe' base (several 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 in a row": players form groups of three and sit in a line rowing. Any players who are not in a three man row boat are eliminated.
  • "Sick turtle": Everyone falls onto their backs and wave's their hands and feet in the air.
  • "Bow": Run to the front of the 'ship'.
  • "Stern": Run to the back of the 'ship'.
  • "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.

To make the game less competitive, players don't have to be "out." Instead, if the captain notices that they do not follow an order, they must stand out of the game on one leg for a count of 10.

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Skull Toss

This is another one of the really fun water-based pirate games and is great one for testing the nerve or courage of each of your pirate crew. This pirate game is best suited to kids of 5 and over...

Instructions:

  1. For this pirate game you'll need about two black skull and cross bones balloons for each pirate party guest.
  2. Fill each of the balloons with water.
  3. Have the Pirates divide into teams of two.
  4. Get the Pirates line up into two lines facing each other.
  5. Give each team of two, the water filled balloon.
  6. Pirates of them must toss the water balloons back and forth to each other, after each toss taking a step back.
  7. The team whose ‘skull balloon’ doesn't pop, wins the prize.

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Pirate's Duel

Most young buccaneers will want to have a sword fight like all real pirates do, so here's our safe pirate games 'solution'...

Instructions:

  1. Set the stage for a duel, with two players standing back to back.
  2. You can start with the birthday pirate and a guest pirate, while the pirate crew watch and anxiously wait their turn to "do battle".
  3. The rules are very simple : Each pirate is given a breadstick for a sword and the object of the game is to break your opponent's breadstick without breaking your own. Also, they are only allowed to hit the other person's breadstick, if any other body part gets hit the person is disqualified!
  4. When you have nothing left but a stump you must surrender and the next challenger steps up.
  5. The person who stays the champ the longest is the winner.

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The Sword Relay Race

This pirate game is based on a classic relay race game, so the kids will be familiar with the rules and how to win! This is one of the best pirate games for the older kids who have lots of energy to burn off and who enjoy races and competitive games.

Please note: for safety, please make sure you use foam, sponge or thin card 'swords' for this fun relay race!

Instructions:

  1. Divide the pirates into two teams.
  2. Give each pirate team a container with 20 gold plastic coins.
  3. Set two treasure chests at one end of the playing field (or room).
  4. Give the sword to the first pirate in line on each team and have them balance gold coins on their swords and run to the treasure chest.
  5. After they deposit the coin they run back and give the sword to the next pirate in line. If they drop the coin they must run back to the start line and place their coin back in their team’s container. Then the next person in line grabs a coin and begins.
  6. The first team with all of their coins in the treasure chest wins.

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Pirate's Treasure Hunt

This is one the classic pirate games and always a top favorite amongst adventurous treasure-seeking pirates!

Instructions:

Treasure hunts can be almost as much fun to create as they are at play. As an example of one you to make up yourself:

  1. Use a nursery rhyme all popular children's song for the clues. For example the first clue can be “Row, row, row your ____ gently down the _____ ", where boat and stream are the answers.
  2. Once they figure this out, the next clue can be taped to a small pirate boat which is sitting in a small bucket of water.
  3. Another clue could be "Humpty Dumpty sat on a ___ ". As 'wall' is the answer, the next clue could be on top off your garden wall.
  4. Another idea for a clue can be: "Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your ________ grow?" So you could hide this clue somewhere in your 'garden'.
  5. Just repeat this with as many nursery rhymes or children's songs as you like.
  6. At the end of the hunt, find an interesting place marked with a large X to hide a treasure chest filled with a prize with each pirate's name on it. This way the young pirates won't all be grabbing for all the loot at the same time and will ensure that the whole pirate crew wins!

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Walk the Plank

This is another one of the classic pirate games that the kids will love playing and no pirate party should be without!

Instructions:

  1. Take a long thick board and mount each side on bricks above a small paddling pool or sandbox.
  2. If you're using a pool, food and water (and add an inflatable crocodile if you have one !).
  3. The Pirates can then be blindfolded and made to "walk the plank".
  4. The other Pirates can have squirt guns and can be instructed to squirt the plank walker if they land in the pool or sandbox.
  5. If you decide that your group of kids is likely to be overly excited and you don't want them to possibly hurt themselves, you can also draw a plank on a sidewalk with chalk and have the kids walk inside the lines all stretch out a thick piece of rope on the ground for them to try and walk along.

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X Marks the Spot

Any collection of pirate games just has to include an exciting pirate treasure hunt!

This simple and fun treasure map and can be enjoyed by even the youngest of pirates :-)

Instructions:

  1. Draw a treasure map with details such as palm trees, lakes and animals.
  2. Tear the edges to age and if you really want an authentic look burn the edges briefly and stain the map with tea bags.
  3. Decide where the treasure is and mark it with a red "X" on the back of the map.
  4. Make little X's and ask the children to put them on the map where they think the treasure is (having written their name on each X).
  5. Take the map and hold it up against a window or light bulb to reveal the X on the back and the location of the treasure!


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kids celebrating a Pirate birthday party