We didn't go all out like some parents, and in fact only invited the grandparents and my sister. But I did still go a little overboard (get it?) and make a baby size pirate ship for him to sit in for pictures.
But he didn't really want to sit in it. He wanted to climb in and out of it. At least it looks like he's saying "arr!" And yes, his shirt is a treasure map.
He also didn't want to wear his pirate hat.
He did like the "treasure" we gave him, and kept throwing it all overboard.
This one's pretty good! And you can see most of the ship in this one, it's just a little washed out because the sun was shining in behind the butcher paper. But you get the idea.
So here's what you need to make a pirate ship and the ocean/sky backdrop:
2 laundry baskets
a big piece of cardboard (wider than the laundry baskets, and at least as tall)
a broom handle or long dowel
butcher paper in blue (2 shades), white, and red (or other color)
masking or packing tape
box cutter and/or x-acto knife
Turn one laundry basket upside down, then place the other on top of it. I'd recommend taping them together so they don't slide around.
Draw the outline of the pirate ship onto the cardboard, and cut it out.
Draw windows, portholes, etc. on the side of the ship.
Attach the ship to the top laundry basket.
Cut the 2 pieces of the darker blue butcher paper so it looks like waves across the top. Both pieces should be about the height and width of the bottom laundry basket. (A little taller is good, just to be safe.) Attach one piece in front of the ship. Save the other for the backdrop.
Cut out a piece of white butcher paper for the sail, and attach it to the dowel, leaving about 12" at the top. Cut out a flag from the red piece, and attach it to the top of the dowel. Now tape the dowel to the laundry basket - inside if it's short enough, outside if you're using something longer like a broom handle.
Now just put up the piece of light blue "sky" and attach the second ocean piece to the bottom, and you have your backdrop! Set your ship in front of it, and it's ready for some great photos!
If you're feeling really creative you could even draw some seagulls or cut out some clouds for the sky, or make the sail have a skull and crossbones... I ran out of time.
You might be thinking, "really? tape? you used tape?" It does seem kind of lame. But my main reason was that I wanted to be able to disassemble it easily and re-use all the pieces - either for a pirate ship again, or other projects. Plus it made it really fast and easy to assemble in the first place!
And what's a first birthday party without a cake for the birthday boy?
He loved it.