Idea No.


Shipwreck Survivor Party -14yr- Pirate Challenges



October 2008


Jen in Glendale Wi USA

Special Mention

Survivor Party

One of my 14-year-old twins wanted a pirate-theme for her birthday party.  The other wanted a Survivor party.  We compromised with this idea. 

I printed invitations that said, Your ship has been stranded in the middle of the Caribbean.  You and your ship-mates are the only survivors.  Beware you may run into a band of pirates or a tribe of island-dwellers who will challenge you to feats of bravery, physical endurance and mental agility.  Do you accept the challenge?  

We divided the guests into two tribes ahead of time.  Each of the birthday girls was a tribal leader.  As they arrived, each guest received a green or blue bandana to signify which tribe they were in.  A note tied to the bandana instructed the guests to join their tribe where they would create a shelter and a tribal flag.  Each tribe got a stack of newspapers, a roll of masking tape and a box of masking tape to use for this task.  I gave the kids about 20 minutes to complete the shelter and the flag.  (This wasn't a contest just an activity to help the guests get into the spirit of the party.) 

While the guests were building their shelters, I gave each tribe a sign-up sheet for challenges.  At our party, each guest had to sign up for two challenges.  They did not know in advance what would be expected of them in each challenge they only got to know the name of the challenge.  The tribes received notes (from me delivered to one member of each tribe) about every 15 minutes throughout the party.  Each note presented a new challenge for the tribal members.   

The notes said: 

1.A member of your tribe has been severely wounded.  The person who is participating in the Wounded challenge must go to the tribal shelter for medical care.    For this challenge one tribal member must wrap an entire roll of toilet paper around a teammate's wound.  Whichever tribe un-wraps the roll of toilet paper first wins this challenge.

2.The island has been invaded by a species of poisonous worms.  The tribal member who has agreed to participate in the Island Worm challenge is needed to trap the deadly worms.  This person must locate the worms.  Do not attempt to touch the worms without protective gloves.    One player from each tribe puts on a pair of rubber gloves.  Each player tries to pick up pieces of cooked spaghetti from a bowl and put the spaghetti noodles into an empty soda bottle.  The player that gets the most worm spaghetti noodles into the bottle wins this challenge. 

3.The flock of island flamingos has been stealing your food.  We need one member of each tribe to help round up all the flamingos and take them to the other side of the island.  Each person who signed up for the Flamingo Round Up challenge needs to find the pink flamingo now.    For this challenge I purchased an inflatable flamingo ring-toss game at the dollar store.  The player that gets the most rings on the flamingo wins the challenge. 

4.The pirates who sometimes visit this island have returned and we need a translator.  The person who has signed up for the Pirates Lingo challenge must return to the tribal shelter and be prepared to parlay with the buccaneers.  Your tribe may work together to complete this task.    I looked up some pirate lingo on the internet and wrote a short quiz which had the kids match pirate terms with modern-day English. The team that gets the most answers correct within a time limit wins the challenge. 

5.The pirates have decided that they will allow you to live (at least for now.)  They need your help to find a hidden treasure.  Your tribe must now locate the large treasure map and wait for further instructions.   My daughters drew a large map of an island with a big X marking the treasure.  We hung the map on the wall. For this challenge, the players are blindfolded and try to place a paper treasure chest onto the X on the map.  Whichever player places the X closest to the X on the map wins this challenge. 

6. The pirates are not pleased with your effort to find the buried treasure.  One member of your tribe will now need to walk the plank.  Whichever person signed up for the Walk the Plank challenge must immediately go to the tribal shelters where the pirates will decide who gets to live and who will be swimming with the sharks."    I used masking tape to make a line on the floor.  For this challenge the players are blindfolded and have to walk the entire line.  Whichever player stays the closest to the line wins the challenge. 

7.One of the pirates was so excited about watching you walk the plank that his glass eye popped out and rolled away.  Whoever signed up for the Glass Eyeball challenge will need to help him find it.    This was one of my favorite challenges.  I took two marbles (eyes) and put them into a large bowl filled with whatever yucky stuff I could find.  I added any leftover cooked vegetables I had along with some mayonnaise noodles and ketchup.  The players reach into the bowl and have to locate the marble.  Hint adding some ice cubes adds an additional challenge.   

8."The decaying body of the Pirate Captain's pet parrot has been found in your tribal shelter.  You are afraid that the Captain will think you killed the parrot if he sees you with the remains. The pirates are very close to your shelter so you must act quickly.  The person who signed up for the Dead Parrot challenge needs to dispose of the body before the pirates discover the parrot."  The parrot is a bowl of layered brightly colored jello.  A member from each tribe must slurp up the bowl of parrot guts without using hands.  Whichever tribe member finishes the jello first wins the challenge.  

9. "The pirates have been watching and they are pleased with the way you took care of the parrot's remains.  They will allow you to do a very special task for them you get to shave the whiskers of the Captain.  The person who signed up for the Need a shave challenge better have steady hands because the Captain has been known to explode in anger if he is cut or scratched by the razor.'  For this challenge players receive a shaving razor and an inflated balloon covered with shaving cream.  Whichever player shaves the most shaving cream off the balloon within one minute without popping the balloon wins this challenge. 

10."As a final reward for your bravery and outstanding service to the pirates you will all be given honorary pirate names.  The person who signed up for the Name Game challenge is responsible for assigning the pirate names to the members of your tribe.  To avoid angering the pirates you must refer to each other by your pirate names for the rest of the evening."  I made up a list of pirate names and let the kids assign them to each other.  Some of the names were Squid Lips, Sea Monkey, Barnacle, and Peg Leg.  When kids won challenges they could choose a prize from the Pirates Treasure Chest.   I bought an inexpensive treasure chest from and I filled it with candy and little toys.   

Decorations were simple just dollar store tropical island décor. 

For food I just went with simple finger foods that kids could eat while they were in-between challenges.  Nothing fancy chips dip etc. 

My kids and their friends said they loved this party!  "

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