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BIRTHDAY INVITATIONS:
On the birthday invitation ask that the children come to the party dressed up as pirates.

STORY TIME/PUPPET SHOW:
Regale the children with a SHORT pirate story, remember to include action, or buy/make a couple of hand puppets and treat them to a puppet show.

Below is a short story that can be used at the party.

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CAPTAIN FIERCE

This is a story about a mean old pirate called Captain Fierce.

Who knows what the word "fierce" means?
(let the children answer)

Yes, fierce is another word for angry.

Who knows what it is like to look fierce?
(let the children demonstrate and point out the "fiercest" looking of them all)

Yes! That is exactly what it means to look fierce, and that is just how Captain Fierce was. Angry, mean and nasty! His pirates on his ship, "The Rotten Peach", were just as mean and nasty.

They were a really greedy bunch and would even fight over a slice of stale bread.

One day, after many weeks of sailing on the sea, Pirate Jello told Captain Fierce that there was no more food to eat. Captain Fierce was really hungry - even his tummy was rumbling.

He shouted at Pirate Jello: "You better find me something to eat, or you will walk the plank!"

Captain Fierce was SO angry that he huffed.... and he puffed... "Ooh! I want food! I am hungry!"

Just then, he heard one of his pirates shout out, "LAND AHOY!"

All the pirates ran to look and yes, indeed just ahead was an island with lots and lots of trees.

Captain Fierce laughed and told his men to lower the boat - they were going ashore to find food and maybe... some treasure!

When they arrived on the island, they were met by.... a troop of monkeys!
(ask the children to act like monkeys)

The biggest of the monkeys shouted out, beating his chest: "Screech, go away!"

Captain Fierce's face turned red from anger. How dare these silly monkeys chase him away!

He drew out his sword and swung it this way and that way. "I am Captain Fierce and no one, er, NO MONKEY, tells ME what to do!"

"Hee hee ha ha hee hee!" went the monkeys.

All the pirates took out their swords too and held it up for the monkeys to see.

"Hee hee ha ha hee hee!" The monkeys were not scared.

Captain Fierce was not used to ANYONE, even little monkeys, laughing at him. He was so shocked that he dropped his sword and just stared at the monkeys.

Oh dear. All the pirates thought that Captain Fierce was SCARED of the monkeys and so they dropped their swords too!

The monkey chattered eagerly and rushed forward to pick up the swords.... And threw them far away, into the sea! Where they sank to the bottom, never to be found again.

Captain Fierce got such a fright that he started to run away to the boat. His pirates followed him crying and yelling. "Boo Hoo! The monkeys are going to get us!"

They all jumped into the boats and fell flat on their faces.

"Let's get out of here!" they sobbed and pulled on the oars. "Row, row, away we go!"

The monkeys ran after them and kept on throwing bananas at the boat. They were strong monkeys and could throw the bananas very far! By the time the boat reached the ship, the boat was FULL of bananas.

And from that time on, the Captain became known as... Captain Banana!

****

SNACKS AND FOOD
The key here is colour: ensure that the food is colourful - it must look like the children have discovered a room of treasure.

Roll coloured pieces of paper or silver foil into cone shapes and fill with sweets, crisps and popcorn. Lay the cones of paper on the tables and let the "goodies” spill out onto the table.

No party is complete without a cake, but of course four year olds don't always appreciate cake - unless the cake is an ice cream one - I have yet to find the child who dislikes ice cream cake. Alternatively buy, or bake, a carrot cake, cut into squares with the required number of birthday candles placed on top. To decorate the cake, place money chocolate (gold or silver foiled) all around the base of the cake.

As hard as it may seem, try and introduce fruit at the party by serving only fruit juices and displaying a large bowl of fruit on the party table. Encourage the children to help themselves to fruit. Serve fruit juice instead of gassy cold drinks.

GAMES TO PLAY AT A TREASURE HUNT PARTY
Hide and seek
Rotten Egg
Oranges and Lemons
Sweet Hunt: before the party starts, hide sweets in your garden, or if it is cold and/or rainy, hide the sweets in designated areas of your home.
Find The Booty: before the party, stick small, inexpensive toys under each child's chair - this way each child is ensured of sharing in the "booty" of the day. Try and avoid noisy toys, like whistles - this is for your own sanity!

TREASURE BAG
Use ordinary sandwich bags and place a selection of sweets and crisps into a bag for each child. Tie a colourful ribbon around the top. **Always pack more bags than the number of children expected - there is always an unexpected guest or two.