Pirate-themed Birthday Party Ideas for Preschoolers

What could preschoolers and pirates have in common? Well, actually nothing, except perhaps for the fact that both the terms begin with the letter ‘p’. And so we had thought. But when my little one got an invitation to a pirate-themed birthday party from one of his friends in the neighborhood last week, there was a flurry of activity at home; me and the little tyke’s mum were all excited in dressing up our young little pirate, for a start.


Pirate” by ArtsyBee is licensed under CC by 2.0

And that’s how I decided to gather a couple of ideas which may come in handy if you’re planning a pirate-themed birthday party for your kids anytime in the future (trust me, it can turn out to be pretty exciting, as we eventually found out in the above mentioned case). Here goes.

The right pirate costume

First and foremost, your little one needs to be dressed like a pirate for it to be a fun affair. Get your hands on any old white t-shirt which is a tad too big for him, cut off the sleeves and bottom in a ragged zig-zag fashion and let your preschooler unleash his or her artistic skills on it – the end result? The gaudier the better; hence, bright stripes in colors such as blue or red work best (got the idea from the pirate costumes in these pet games which I enjoy playing). An absolute essential is the black patch for the eye. It can easily be made out of a piece of lightweight cardboard painted black and secured using elastic behind the head.

Musical chairs aka ‘islands’

No points for guessing what this game is all about. It’s the same as our traditional musical chairs except for one simple fact – there are no chairs. Instead, you could cut out haphazardly random shaped pieces of cardboard (big enough for a child to sit on) and scatter them on the floor, in no particular order or row. The only thing that needs to be taken into account is that the number of ‘islands’ should at any point of time be one less than the total number of children playing the game. The music is turned on, the kids are made to run around – or better still, prance around the room – and once it stops, they need to ‘assert their supremacy’ over a particular island by sitting on it. The person found sitting on the last island at the end is declared the ‘Ultimate Pirate of All’!

Find the buried treasure


Chest” by OpenClipart-Vectors is licensed under CC by 2.0

This one is fun when there is a relatively large group of kids involved. Divide them into two teams. You need to get two boxes filled with sand ready, in which you have buried fun ‘treasure’ – their favorite small superhero action figures, colorful pieces of lego, dinky cars and the like. Let each team be in charge of one sandbox and provide them with a plastic bucket and shovel set. Let them dig for all they are worth within a particular frame of time and fill in their buckets with the ‘found treasures’. The team which has collected the maximum booty at the end of the stipulated time period wins.

Talking of pirates, did you know that September 19 was ‘International Talk like a Pirate Day’? Well then… “Ahoy matey! Heave ho! Walk the plank ye scallywag!”😀

3 Fun Birthday Party Game Ideas for Preschoolers

Back when I was a kid, I remember we really used to look forward to attending birthday parties of our friends in the neighborhood. Lots of games, good food and a gala atmosphere were the reasons. Same is the case with my kids these days; try as I might they refuse to venture out to play in the evenings thanks to these online games they love playing, but they would anytime be ready to dress up and head out for a party, and come back laden with return gifts, balloons and other goodies!


Birthday Party” by Wokandapix is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here are three fun birthday party game ideas that can be a big hit especially if your child is as young as a preschooler.

Pass the Parcel

The first and most obvious choice for any birthday party, Pass the Parcel is a game we ourselves used to play back when we were kids. Generally ‘the gift’ for the winner of the game is wrapped in lots of layers of wrapping paper, each having a task written on it. Music is played and the parcel is handed from person to person. The child on whom the music stops has to unwrap the topmost layer and perform the activity mentioned on it – such as mimic a clown, sing your favorite song, do a little jig and so on. But for preschoolers, here’s what you can do to make it a win-win situation for each child; make every kid a winner by naming a gift on each layer instead of an activity. The gifts need not be elaborate – a pencil bag, a fancy pen holder, a Pokemon goodie – all these would do. Just make sure the parcel does not stop on the same kid twice, or else he’ll end up claiming more than one gift!

The Food on a String Game

Similar to the doughnut game I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago (read more about it here), just suspend doughnuts or apples or marshmallows or popcorn balls or even cotton candy (though this one will get the kids a bit messy!) on a string. Tie the kids’ hands loosely with a ribbon behind their backs; you could either divide them into two teams or allow them to play individually as well. This one is best played outdoors in the garden and is guaranteed to bring a few laughs.

Musical Chairs

Another one of those tried-and-tested birthday party games that has not lost its sheen even though we’ve been playing it from time immemorial is the classic Musical Chairs. All you’ve got to do to prepare for the game is to select music that has a nice, peppy beat to it, get hold of a number of chairs that are light in weight so that they can be shifted here and there easily (the number of chairs should be one less than the total number of kids playing the game) and think up of a prize for the winner. You could either set up the chairs in a circular formation facing outwards or else if there is ample space – for instance, if you’re playing outdoors – set them up in a straight line with alternate chairs facing in the same direction (this one is more fun as it leads to a mad scramble to sit once the music stops).

 Party on!

4 Enjoyable Summer Learning Activities

It’s that time of the year again when learning and school and classes and homework all take a backseat and the kids are at their hyperactive best. In such times, here are four enjoyable summer learning activities that can help your little ones keep in touch with learning throughout the holidays.

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a good book.


Portrayal” by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC by 2.0

Researchers have found that a mere ten minutes reading time on a daily basis can do wonders for kids’ reading skills. You could begin with a short story time session before bed, with a colorful picture story book for young kids. Try making it interactive and engaging while reading the story out loud and it’ll be something your kids will look forward to every day.

We’re having a picnic & we would love for you to come. So put on some sunscreen & let’s have some fun.

The young generation today does not go out to play outdoors like we used to back in our childhood days. Let’s try changing it for the better. Head out for a picnic on a sunny day, armed with bats, balls, Frisbees and kites. Talk about nature while you are at it and turn it into a science lesson – why is the sun so hot? What makes the leaves and grass green? How do larvae grow into butterflies?

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

True that. Try keeping a pet at home if you don’t already have one. Entrust your kids with the work of caring for them, which is a full-time job, instead of simply sitting indoors and playing pet games like these on their tablet to while away time on a holiday. What’s more, apart from learning to be responsible, children will learn life lessons from their pets. Dogs, the loyal companions that they are, love to play and prance around; hence the kids will always be up and about on their toes, fit and healthy. Cats love to have fun with toys as well – kids can help in clearing the clutter their pet cat creates and keep their room neat and clean.

Kids playing sports should be about learning the game they’re playing and having fun doing it.

The benefits of learning an outdoor game or a sport are innumerable – children learn how to work together in a team, what sportsmanship actually means on the field, hand-eye coordination and the like. While unstructured free play is a good way to begin with toddlers, older children would do well learning something akin to karate (keeps limbs and body agile apart from being a useful tool for self-defense), swimming (helps maintain a healthy heart and lungs) or even soccer (increases bone strength with all the sprinting involved). The idea is to have fun and spend time sweating it out with teammates.

Once these activities are a part of your kids’ summer holiday routine, they will be so busy that the summer will be over before you know it!

Happy National Doughnut Day

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy doughnuts. And that’s kind of the same thing.


Donuts” by gsmphone is licensed under CC by 2.0

Folks, a very Happy National Doughnut Day to you! Today, that is the first Friday of June, has come to be dedicated to this extremely popular and scrumptious fried cake made of sweetened dough – an ideal snack small enough to be eaten on the go or for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. And yes, the doughnut is a special favorite of young kids.

An ideal game for the young preschoolers on this ‘doughnuty’ day could be this: Simply tie a length of rope between two trees that are adjacent and yet at a fairly small distance from each other. Get hold of as many doughnuts as kids and string them on the rope with the help of ribbons, such that they are left dangling at a height just out of the kids’ reach. The game is pretty simple – the kids have got to eat an entire doughnut, but without using their hands. It’s obvious that if there’s a delicious-looking golden brown doughnut topped with still-melting cheese or a gooey chocolatey one, it’ll not be long before it disappears. And the mess that follows will have the kids in raptures, no doubt.

By the way, legend has it that this item of confectionery was originally invented by a mother and son aboard a ship, when they were hungry. Thank God for that!😀

3 Fun Family Bonding Activities for Valentine’s Day

Did you know that on February 14 every year, more than 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged all around the world, making this the second most popular card-sending occasion after Christmas? That’s a pretty significant number! And luckily enough, this year the Feast of Saint Valentine (as it is sometimes also referred to), falls on a weekend. What better way to spend some quality and fun time with family, and celebrate the festival of love with those for whom you care the most?

IMage 1

Heart, Card, Pastels, Figure” by kaboompics is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here are some sure shot ideas for having a good time the coming weekend.

Bake something special together

I once came across the following definition of ‘kitchen’ and loved it: ‘A kitchen is a gathering place for friends and family; a place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love.’ You could try your hand at baking heart shaped valentine cupcakes together with your kids (here’s the recipe video). Or you could whip up delicious desserts with fruits and whipped cream (we all love heaps of whipped cream and bananas). The time you spend bonding in the kitchen – all the while creating a mess- is a special and beautiful time. The best part about it is that all age groups can get to be a part of the process of cooking, even kids as young as preschool.

Play online games together as a family

A study was recently conducted by Goldsmiths University and gaming company PopCap, which involved a total of 3250 parents and grandparents altogether. Their research was mainly focused on ‘casual gaming’ of sorts, thanks to the smartphones and tablets which have become a part and parcel of our (and our children’s) everyday lives. One of the findings of the study was that a third of the guardians involved played computer and virtual games with their kids on a daily basis and considered it to be quality time, claiming that it had strengthened the bond between them and their children. Why not try doing something similar this Valentine’s Day? Your kids would probably love it more than anything else.

Revisit old family memories together

IMage 2

Books, Book, Old Books, Read” by cocoparisienne is licensed under CC by 2.0

This is the best way to end the day and make it special. In the evening, put on an old video of your kids as toddlers, or simply hunt down and re-open those dusty old photograph books stored right at the back of your closet. Even going through birthday party videos of your kids can be taking a happy and nostalgic trip down memory lane. You’ll surely end up recollecting so many of their pranks from back then when you leaf through those pages.

“Having someone to love is Family.

Having somewhere to go is Home.

Having both is a Blessing.”

No wonder, the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with your loved ones around you at home!

The Big Gift Box

Christmas Present Wrapped in Gold and Silver

Don’t we all adore being gifted by our loved ones? And when it comes to kindergarteners or preschoolers and gifts, they are the most over-excited of the lot! Here’s a fun gifting game to play with the little tykes (especially when there are more than 10 of them involved) that is bound to result in squeals of laughter and lots of merriment.

All you need is a really big cardboard box; as in each of the kids should be able to fit inside it individually. Just before you begin the game, ask the kids to guess what could be inside the well-wrapped up box. They’ll have fun imagining stuff – computers, bicycles, televisions or helicopters! Then you can lift it up and show them that it’s empty.

The game is actually all about letting one child be blindfolded and then choosing one of the others to hide within the box. Once the blindfold is removed, the child in question needs to guess who is missing from the group. The others can even give hints as to who might be within the box. Needless to say, the kids will love the hiding part in this game more than the guessing part!

Preschoolers – Fun with Music

I have yet to come across any preschoolers who dislike music. Whenever they get a chance, be it a song coming on the television, a birthday party or even a simple drum roll, the most natural and spontaneous reaction of young kids is that their eyes light up and they begin to shake a leg (why, really they do!). And hence, since preschoolers seem to adore music so much, here is a simple and fun musical activity they would probably enjoy as well.

Make A Coffee Can Drum: Simply cut the bottom out of an old coffee can you no longer use and cover the can with a paper (you could glue it on) on which your child has drawn something (for instance, I covered mine with a piece of paper on which my daughter had drawn an alien, which to me looked more like modern art). Stick on the actual plastic lids on each side of the coffee can. Now stick the lead end of a pencil into the hole of an empty thread spool to create a drumstick and you’re done. Let your kid bang away on the coffee can drum to glory!

Easy enough, isn’t it?

How Playing & Working Out Can Go Hand-in-Hand


The benefits of children running around and playing outdoor games are numerous – it helps them grow strong bones, keeps their weight in check from an early age and also does its bit in providing them with a healthy outlet for all the excessive energy stores they seem to perpetually have, by mingling with other kids of their age.

On the other hand, adults need their regular dose of exercise in order to prevent putting on the excessive pounds as they age, to decrease their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, to improve muscle strength and perhaps blow off some steam after a hectic day at work.

Adults call it ‘working out’. Kids call the same thing ‘playing’. Put both of them together and you can have a gala family time. Here’s how.

Play catch with your kids. Yes, your kids will run faster than you. Yes, it will be difficult to catch them. But that’s precisely the point of this game! The faster they run away from you, the more energy you’ll have to muster in order to get hold of them, and in turn the louder they’ll squeal with delight when they keep prancing just out of your reach!

Go cycling together. Plan a family outing to a place nearby which is within cycling distance from home. Arm your bicycles with picnic baskets (you’ll have to do this instead of your kids since they are bound to be heavy!) and pedal away to glory on a sunny day, singing all the while at the top of your lungs (make sure you leave behind your headphones at home). It’s an invigorating feeling, especially if you set out relatively early in the morning.

Cheer your kids on. This is for rainy days. My kids love to play pet games like these while I do my daily half an hour on the treadmill. This serves two purposes – they know that their screen time is limited to the time I spend on the treadmill and they make the most of it while I egg them on, all the while panting and sweating profusely!

Weekends mean a new sport. Make this a part of your routine – weekends could mean teaching the kids a sport you loved as a kid – be it soccer, cricket, baseball or any other game.

Blanket run. This one is for your garden or backyard, and is especially fun if it involves a number of grown-ups with their kids. Get hold of some blankets (make sure they aren’t new since they are bound to get a bit dirty outdoors), place them on the lawn and plonk your little tyke down to sit on one end of it. The adults then have to race to the finish line pulling along the blankets in tow and the kid must not fall off!

And since each of these activities will ensure you get an adequate amount of quality family time, it’ll be a win-win situation all along!

Online Fun with Your Kids

Having a child who spends all his free time online can be tough. Trust me, I know. Your mind screams at you to do something about it, and you worry about your child’s emotional and physical well-being. But as far as advice goes, I kept coming across the same suggestions – install spyware to find out what sites your child is frequenting, install programs to restrict computer use, use a password to prevent children from using the computer. And as much as I want to see my kids grow up as well-rounded individuals with a healthy social life, I don’t think much of these suggestions.

Sure I’d like A to finish his homework before turning on the system, but I want him to do so as an exercise in self-control and not because I give him the password only once his homework is complete. I worry about the negative influences running rife online just as I do about the negative messages bombarding kids in their everyday lives. Parental control software does a passable job filtering out the former, but can’t do much for A in terms of the latter. And while it would put my mind at ease to see a list of the websites that A visits in the hours he spends online, it wouldn’t do much for our relationship when he realizes I’m spying on him.

How then does one deal with a child with an internet problem? Get online with him!

This may not sound like the ideal solution, but there are plenty of reasons you should spend time having fun with your child online. Here are just a few of them.

  1. It’s what your child loves

To form a lasting relationship with your child, it’s important to get to know him better. Spend time with him doing the things he loves. Show appreciation for the things he does well. And if this means watching your child play games online, so be it. The hours your child spends online clearly points to the fact that he enjoys what he’s doing. And when you show interest in spending time with him online, it gives him the message that he is important to you and that you are willing to accept him just as he is.

  1. It will teach you more about your child

What exactly does your child do in all the time he spends in front of the computer? Is he a budding writer of fanfiction? Is he a star gamer? As long as you watch him disapprovingly every time he gets online, you’ll never find out. Free your mind of prejudices and let him know that you’d like to spend some time with him online, and that it’s entirely up to him to choose the websites you visit together or the games you play. It’s quite likely that the thirty minutes you spend doing so will teach you a lot about your child you couldn’t have learned otherwise.

  1. It opens the doors of communication

Being familiar with the websites and online games that your child enjoys is a great starting point for having conversations with him. You can talk to him about the people he meets online or his latest achievements in his favorite game. Additionally, the time that you spend online with him is a special time that you spend connecting over his interests, and he is far more likely to open up to you during those sessions than when you criticize him for using the internet too often.

  1. It provides great opportunities for teaching

Sure, there are plenty of learning games and educational websites designed to teach your child scholastic skills and while I strongly recommend them, that isn’t what I’m referring to. The online world in many ways mirrors the real world and just as you teach your child social skills and values in everyday life, you can teach him the same skills while connecting with him over the internet. When a fellow gamer uses bad language or an online buddy is mean to your child you can turn the situation into a positive learning experience. Just as you encourage your child to be a kind and compassionate friend, you can teach him to develop a positive online persona.

Spending time with your child online is a great way to get him to open up to you about his internet experiences and interests. It also makes your child more receptive to any suggestions you may have about responsible and controlled internet usage. In addition to this important step, you can encourage him to take control of his internet usage by getting him to maintain a log wherein he notes down how much time he spends online and which websites he visits every day. Use the log as a starting point to discuss any changes that you expect in his daily routine and which tasks must take priority over his computer usage. With honest and mature discussions you can equip your child with the skills he needs to lead a wholesome and fulfilling life, both online and otherwise.

*I am not referring to Internet Addiction Disorder characterized by the progressive loss of control over one’s ability to regular internet usage. If your child faces frustration, anxiety and irritability when unable to go online, feels the need to get online for longer periods to experience the same ‘rush’, abandons friends and other hobbies to focus on online activities and spends most of his offline time thinking about past or future online experiences, he is suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder and needs professional help.