Aye, aye, matey! Send pint-size buccaneers on a hunt for buried treasure.
Create an invitation written in secret pirate's code (backwards), and instruct guests to hold it up to the mirror to read.
Make it: Open a new document on your computer. At the top, type the instructions: "Hold up to a mirror to decode the secret message." Save the file, and print out text. Then, return that same paper to the printer tray (you'll use it to print the rest of the invite). Re-open the document and type the rest of your invite details below your instructions line. Then, delete that first line. Choose "Mirror" or "Flip Horizontal" image from your printing menu, and print your invitation. You'll see the invite text printed backwards. Trim the invitation to a 5-inch size.
Send them on a treasure hunt, but first, make sure they're prepared. Pass out pirate hats, eye patches, and mini magnifying glasses. Clever clues lead kids to prizes along the way (like gold chocolate coins) until they find the ultimate treasure chest.
What you'll need: Computer, color printer, skull-and-crossbones clip art, parchment-style paper, scissors, twine
Make it: Open a new document in your word-processing program and insert your clip art at the top of the page. Type up clues on the page (print them backwards if you want to slow the kids down some). Print out, roll up, and tie with twine.
1. If you type the clues backwards, make sure you give guests a mirror.
2. Type up different clues on separate lists so that not all children are looking for the same prize.
The payoff is huge when they uncover a pirate's chest filled with all sorts of loot. Pass out party bags so your guests can load up!
What you'll need: Large plastic treasure chest, sheets of newspaper, pirate-themed favors and stickers, party bags
Make it: Fill a large plastic treasure chest with crumpled newspaper about halfway up. Then, fill with favors such as gold chocolate coins, temporary tattoos, eye patches, and other goodies. Give each guest a small paper bag to fill with favors. Seal bags with stickers.
Your crew will be blown away by this pirate ship that's surprisingly simple to prepare.
2 boxes cake mix (18.25 oz. each)
2 cans (16 oz. each) milk-chocolate buttercream frosting
1 can (12 oz.) whipped vanilla frosting, divided Blue, red, and yellow icing colors
3 black licorice twists
1 small bag of square-grid pretzels, such as Snaps
1 each round cookie and pretzel rod
Paper for sails
1. Bake two 9-x-13-inch cakes according to directions. Let cakes cool completely. Place one cake on serving platter. Cut a 2-1/2-inch slice from one short end of the second cake. Cut the remaining piece of the second cake in half horizontally.
2. Using chocolate frosting, attach small cake piece to the end of the large cake on the platter (see photo above). Using chocolate frosting, attach 2 large pieces of cake on top of each end of base cake. With a serrated knife, cut step from top layer of back end of ship to create third level of ship (see photo). With cake layers assembled, cut boat shape using our template below as a guide. Frost entire cake with chocolate buttercream. Using a small fork, gently score the entire cake with wavy lines to simulate wood.
3. Divide vanilla frosting among 3 bowls. Tint one blue, one red, and one yellow. Place blue frosting in a piping bag fitted with a ribbon tip, and place red and yellow frostings in bags fitted with plain tips. Pipe blue trim around entire upper edge of ship, then pipe red frosting underneath the blue. Cut licorice into 20 lengths. Insert licorice pieces into sides of ship for cannons. Pipe half circles of yellow frosting over cannons. Pipe yellow windows across the stern and around the back of ship. Pipe yellow curlicue designs on bow of ship and decorate with red dots of frosting.
4. Using a serrated knife, gently cut pretzels in half. Place pretzels around bow and stern for railings. Using chocolate frosting, pipe the captain's wheel on the round cookie. Attach wheel to pretzel rod with chocolate frosting and insert in cake near bow.
5. To make sails, download our templates. Print them, then cut out; use chopsticks to mount them on cake.
Copyright ? 2006. Reprinted with permission from the May 2006 issue of Parents magazine.