Liam’s Pirate-Themed Third Birthday P-arrrr-ty (And Five Activities Toddlers Will Love!)

I’m usually not the kind of mom who gets all teary-eyed on her kid’s birthdays. I never saw these milestones as anything but exciting, and never got nostalgic over birthdays before. But, this year, something felt different. Maybe it’s because Noah came into the picture and turned Liam’s world upside down, or because he really grew into his own little person, or because he will be starting school in September…

Or maybe it’s all those postpartum hormones. Who knows. I don’t know what it is about this year, but I’ve been all emotional about Liam turning three. I’m the mom of a three-year-old. Unreal.

On Sunday, we celebrated our little man’s birthday with all of our closest friends and family. It was a beautiful day that really made me realize how blessed we are to be surrounded by so much love. I love how simple and laid back the party was, and of course that all the kids had a blast. I was able to chat with everyone, and all of our friends mingled together and felt comfortable letting their kids roam the backyard freely.

I really didn’t want to go all out this year, but I ended up getting carried away and going all out anyway. But hey, all of the crafts and party planning ended up being therapeutic. I actually had fun putting it all together! The goal was for all of the kids to have activities to do all day long without getting bored. There is nothing more difficult for parents than a kid party that doesn’t cater to the kids!

I collaborated with some amazing vendors this year who really helped make the party a hit. I couldn’t have done it without their help. Liam has been talking my ear off about his pirate party for the last couple of days, and I’m so glad I was able to deliver on the theme he so desperately wanted this year.

Happy birthday boy, happy mommy!

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We went with brunch and easy kid snacks for the party: bagels, quiches, coffee cakes, pinwheels, banana bread, and rice krispies. I also made some pineapple and watermelon skewers (how on theme are the sword picks, by the way?) and a nautical-themed veggie platter. I did my best with that anchor!

For dessert, my sister in law put them all to shame with her treasure hunt-themed cake and cupcakes.

In the drinks department, we went with simple options like summer ales, organic juice boxes for the kiddos, seltzers, water, and homemade iced tea.

P.S.) I am obsessed with these swivel, three tier serving platters! The display possibilities are endless! You can also remove the porcelain tray platters and use the metal shelving to store produce or other kitchen goods. Super practical!

Shops:

Gold coins (cake) – Super Secret Surprise Sack

LIAM wood letters – Mel’s Creation Shop

Pirate-themed napkins / cups / plates – Elsa Party Supply

Custom table confetti (not pictured: “Liam” and “3” confetti) – Party At Your Door

Three rack serving platter (fruit / rice krispies) – Partito Bella

Three rack serving platter (banana bread / pinwheels / coffee cakes) – iEnjoyWare

 

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For the pirate-themed decor, I collaborated with a lot of vendors, but also put together some signs and decorative accents of my own, like the photobooth prop. I love a good craft! The favors were so unique and I loved how excited the kids got about their “treasures”. The three wood signs we hung up on our pine tree, as well as the “Home is Where the Arrrr Is” sign, really made it all come together.

I also can’t say enough about the custom wood treasure chest we got from Coastal Wood Company – the beautiful details had everyone at the party stunned. I asked Rodney, the shop owner, how he makes his unique chests and he broke down his process for me: he handpicks each board, then cuts, sorts, and assembles the pieces, sands all surfaces, weathers the boards using a tool he designed himself, weathers the hardware using two different processes to age them, installs wood straps and furniture nails, then applies finish. It’s an art! I’m so grateful I was able to feature his beautiful work at the party. It was a hit!

Shops:

Treasure Island / Tattoo Parlor / Walk the Plank wood signs – Wayfinding Wood

“Home is Where the Arrrr is” sign – Arrrt Pirates

Custom treasure chest – Coastal Wood Company

Happy Birthday Liam banner – The Green Grass Grows

Matey Liam banner – Party At Your Door

Treasure chest favors, gold coins, skull rings, jewels  – Super Secret Surprise Sack

Tattoos (favors) – Flash Tattoos

Pirate pegs – Rainbow Peg Dolls

 

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I wanted this party to be all about the kids. They’re three-year-olds, after all!

With the help of some Pinterest browsing, I came up with five different stations for the kids: a fishing pool activity, walk the plank, treasure hunting in the sandbox, a “tattoo parlor”, and ring toss game.

I also got a bubble machine (the easiest way to get all the kiddos in one place at the same time! All kids love bubbles!), and put out some hats, eye patches, and inflatable swords for the kids to play with and bring home after the party.

It was a little humid outside, so I also set up a pop up pirate ship ball pit indoors. It was perfect for the little ones!

Shops:

Felt hats and eye patches – Party At Your Door

Paper hats and eye patches – Super Secret Surprise Sack

Inflatable swords – Super Secret Surprise Sack

Hooks (Ring Toss) – Adventure Five

Tattoos – Ducky Street

Pirate tablecloths – Elsa Party Supply

Centerpieces / Photo booth props – Party At Your Door

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Thank you to everyone who helped make this party a success, from these amazing Etsy and Amazon shops to our closest friends and family who always know how to make Liam feel special and loved. Thank you all!

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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