Kids' Pirate Games for Parties or Groups

Michele Meleen
Contributor: Jodie Michalak
Boys playing pirates in a cardboard ship

There are plenty of kid pirate games that will liven up any pirate themed kids' party or play group. Pirate games for kids are easy to create with a few supplies and a little creativity. Here are a few ideas that are sure to make your pirate party more adventurous!

Find Your Pirate Name Game

Every great pirate needs a nautical name and every party guest gets one in this fun game!

How to Set Up

  1. Make one list of silly adjectives that are related to pirates, the seas, or treasure like sparkly, one-eyed, peg-leg, or stormy.
  2. Make a second list of real pirate first names such as Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates), Jack (from Pirates of the Caribbean), and John (like Long John Silver). You can find pirate name inspiration in children's pirate stories, TV shows, and movies.
  3. Write each word from both lists on its own slip of paper.
  4. Scatter the slips of paper around the room. You can simply toss them on the floor or hide them in or on objects.

How to Play

  1. On "Go" each child must find two slips of paper, one with a name and one with an adjective.
  2. Kids bring their two papers back to the starting place.
  3. Each child puts the word "Captain" in front of their first name paper then add their adjective word to create a pirate name they must use for the rest of the party. For example, one child might be called "Captain Jake Sparkly."

Hook the Eye Patch Game

Hook the Eye Patch Game

Kids will use their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills to pick up pirate eye patches with their hook hand.

How to Set Up

Each child will need to help make a hook hand pirate craft using a disposable cup and tin foil. You'll also need to scatter a bunch of costume eye patches around the room. If you can hang the eye patches from low branches outside or on furniture inside, it will make the game easier.

How to Play

  1. Each child must wear their hook hand for the entire game.
  2. Set a time limit and start each child next to their own booty bucket or treasure chest.
  3. On "Go" kids have to scoop up as many eye patches as they can with their hook hand. They can head to their booty bucket anytime to drop off eye patches.
  4. When time is up, the kids with the most eye patches in his bucket is the winner.

Pirate Costume Relay Race

Learn to dress like a pirate in this fun team game! If you want everyone to end up in costume, hold several rounds of the game so each kid gets a chance to get dressed.

How to Set Up

  1. Split the group into equal teams.
  2. Gather all the pieces of one person's pirate costume into a pile. This includes hats, weapons, jewelry, and any other accessories.

How to Play

  1. Choose one person to be the pirate from each team. This person stands across the room in a straight line from their costume pile.
  2. The rest of the team stands behind their pirate, all of them facing the costume pile.
  3. On "Go" the first kid behind the pirate runs down and grabs one item from the costume pile then brings it back and puts in on the pirate appropriately.
  4. Game play continues with the next person in line until the pirate is completely dressed in her costume.
  5. The team who dresses their pirate the fastest is the winner.

Pirate, Princess, or Parrot Game

If you're hosting a party that includes a lot of kids or a princess pirate party, you can expand the pirate theme to fit everyone's interests with an active game of Pirate, Princess, or Parrot.

How to Set Up

You'll need a large, open space like a gymnasium or field to play. Show kids how to do the correct pose for each character and encourage them to add appropriate sounds or phrases to each.

  • Pirate - Hands on hips with legs wide and chin up, can say "Aargh" or "Ahoy Matey!"
  • Princess - Deep curtsy, can say "Your Highness"
  • Parrot - Arms outstretched and flapping like wings with head bobbing forward and backward, can make a squawking sound

How to Play

  1. Let kids run around in the open area.
  2. When you call out a character, they must immediately stop running and strike that pose.
  3. Anyone who doesn't do it fast enough or does the wrong pose is out.
  4. Game play continues until there is only one player left. She is the winner.

Musical Plank Game

Musical Plank Game

Rather than walking a real plank, kids can reenact this popular pirate adventure with a fun musical game instead! This fun music and movement game is perfect for expending anxious energy. For an easy variation, play like Musical Chairs only replace the chairs with planks.

How to Set Up

To construct, cut large pieces of cardboard into strips resembling wide, narrow planks. The plank segments should be wide enough for the children to stand on, but small enough to require balance.

How to Play

  1. Place the planks in a row next to each other.
  2. Start playing a festive song and encourage the kids to wiggle and dance while standing on the plank.
  3. Once the music stops, the kids must stop moving.
  4. Anyone who falls off the plank is out of the game!

Pin the Tail on the Parrot

As a clever variation to the popular pin the tail on the donkey game, a pin the tail feather on the parrot is certainly a more festive option for kids pirate games.

How to Set Up

  1. If you have trouble finding a pre-made game, search for a parrot photo or image on the Internet and print the colored picture, make sure to crop the tail to remove it from the image.
  2. Once you have the parrot photo, you can resize it to larger proportions and have it printed at an office supply or local print shop.
  3. Consider laminating the finished piece for added durability.
  4. Gather a blindfold, tape, and ornate tail feathers.

How to Play

  1. Hang the parrot picture on a wall at a child's arm level.
  2. Blindfold the child and hand them an ornate feather that has tape stuck on the end.
  3. Point the child in the direction of the picture.
  4. Kids need to stick their feather where they think the parrots tail is.
  5. The child whose feather is closest to the right spot wins.

Treasure Hunt Games

Treasure hunts are a must for pirate parties. For a unique and easy spin on a traditional treasure hunt, stuff chocolate gold coins with small, handwritten clues as to where the kids should hunt for their next treasure.

How to Set Up

A treasure hunt can be like an Easter egg hunt where kids simply run around looking for little pirate themed prizes or like a scavenger hunt that involves solving clues to find a treasure. Either way, you will need treasures such as an eye patch, costume jewelry, swords, compasses, toy sailboats, and skull and crossbones themed gifts. For the scavenger hunt, you'll also need to write out pirate-themed treasure hunt clues.

How to Play

  1. Hand kids the first clue and tell them they will find more clues at the location described on each successive clue. The last clue leads to the treasure.
  2. When a child or small team of kids reaches the treasure location, give them the prizes.

Find the Crocodile

Find the crocodile is a popular activity that requires little more than a timer and an active imagination!

How to Set Up

Set an egg timer for a specific time, the younger the child, the longer the time. Hide the timer in a creative and inconspicuous place.

How to Play

  1. Instruct the child to listen to the ticking of the time that represents a croaking crocodile.
  2. The child must search the room, house, or outdoor space and find the timer before it goes off.
  3. If she finds the timer before time is up, she wins!

Gold Panning

If the weather allows, gold panning is a clever pirate game that kids are sure to enjoy!

How to Set Up

Fill a sandbox or kiddie pool with sand and bury gold spray painted rocks in the basin. Make a sifter for each child by poking holes in the bottom of an aluminum pie pan.

How to Play

  1. Give each child a pie pan sifter.
  2. Start a timer and let the kids search for the golden nuggets by shaking off the sand in tin foil pie pans.
  3. When time is up, count how many nuggets each child found.
  4. Everyone gets to keep their gold nuggets as a prize.

Inventing Your Own Kid Pirate Games

There are endless ideas for pirate games including active games and pirate board games! Use your imagination, natural resources, and consider the weather when deciding on appropriate pirate games for your next themed party. Pirate parties are memorable, exciting for children, and the expense can be kept to a minimum with proper planning and well-thought-out games and activities.

Kids' Pirate Games for Parties or Groups