Until about 4 weeks ago, we were all set to give Ben a Thomas the Tank Engine themed 3rd birthday party. I mean, I hadn’t actually bought anything, but I had created a board on Pinterest… That’s the first stage of party planning for me! Anyway, since then, Ben has really got into Swashbuckle on CBeebies, and talks constantly about Swashbuckle challenges. You can hear him narrate, “See you next time on Swashbuckle!” if he thinks a challenge has been completed.
We only wanted to have a small party of mostly nursery friends – part of our campaign to get to know local parents. Ben having an August birthday contributed to that as several children were away on holiday. So we eventually ended up with only 4 guests, which actually made for a relaxing party, where we could chat to the other parents quite happily.
Swashbuckle follows the character of Jem, who has had her jewels stolen by some hapless pirates. The children have to complete a series of challenges to win back the 5 jewels. If they get all 5 jewels, one of the pirates has to walk the plank into the smelly ship’s mess.
Tim is brilliant at devising silly games for children, and he came into his element planning the Swashbuckle challenges. The week before the party, a different blow-up animal was delivered through the door each day! These were the strung along the trampoline, floated in the paddling pool and suspended in doorways. He also created ‘Pin the eyepatch on the pirate,’ a pirate skittles game and an obstacle course, where the children had to collect pieces of eight after walking the plank.
The children really enjoyed the games, and managed to win all 5 jewels (you didn’t really think we’d let them lose, did you?). We followed this with a pirate-themed birthday lunch and then a pirate ship cake. One of these days, I will take a class in how to use fondant icing and get the proper kit!
A small party was ideal for Ben’s first ‘friends’ party, and the suggested time of 11am-1pm worked really well for us – we had enough time to do things in the morning, and the party didn’t take up all day. It was also obvious that there would be a birthday lunch, and all the children ate really well. I think they all had a good time – Ben certainly did!