Ahoy, mateys! It’s time to raise the sails because your child’s birthday is approaching fast! If you’re ready to weigh down your anchor and party with your little sailors then read on for nautical themed invitation, decoration, food, favor and game ideas!
Browse this guide:
Planning & Invitations
What Do I Need For the Party?
In addition to basic Nautical party supplies, like plates, cups, napkins and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your sailing party:
- If your party is by the water, consider renting paddle boats or row boats
- Lifesaver rings
- Sailor hats
- Navy blue scarves
- Donald Duck figures or stuffed animals
- Popeye cartoons
- An ocean themed movie such as Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid or Baby Einstein On the Go: Riding, Sailing and Soaring
- An ocean themed pinata
Get your crew members excited to board the celebration ship with creative invitations. Here are some nautical invitation ideas you can make yourself for a toddler or first birthday party.
- Buy rolls of Lifesaver candy and make your own custom wrappers. Design your own 2.5″ x 3″ wrapper on the computer. On each wrapper you can type “Be a Lifesaver at Mike’s party!” and include a small photo of your child. Print out the new wrappers and roll them around each candy. Mail them with your invitations or include the party details on the wrapper.
- Make pretend boarding passes on your computer and print them out on thick paper. Each boarding pass can include the guest’s name, time of arrival and departure (the party times), name of the ship (such as Mike’s Birthday Boat) and the ship’s number (your child’s age). Mail in a white envelope and stamp a boat, anchor or other travel related image on the front with a rubber stamp.
- Take a photo of your child wearing a sailor hat in front of a blue background. On the computer, design the invite using the photo and text that says “Set Sail with Us!” along with the party information.
- Include a cute rhyme on your invitation such as:
Ahoy there, friends! I see a ship,With birthday balloons and candles equipped!
Come set sail with us as Mike celebrates,
An ocean of fun with his favorite crewmates!
Even if your nautical party isn’t set on the high seas, you can still create an aquatic atmosphere for your little sailor.
- Use personalized ocean placemats to keep the table clean during mealtime and crafts. Your guests can also take them home as favors.
- Use white sheets to create large sails. Tack the four corners of the sheets to the ceiling in a tapestry formation. If you want, you can position a fan close to the sheets so they blow in the wind!
- Place fishing nets, lifejackets, lifesavers or anchors around the room. If you don’t have the real thing, you can use nautical wall decorations instead.
- Hang a personalized Preppy Blue Ocean Party Personalized Banner at the party’s entrance to welcome your guests.
- Use navy blue, white and a pinch of red for balloons and streamers. Mix in some boat shaped balloons to add pop to your party.
- Create a balloon ocean by inflating a bunch of blue and green latex balloons without helium. Then, make a ball pit with the balloons in a safe area where the children can play.
- If you can find or make a large lifesaver to hang, this would be a great place for the children to pose for portraits.
In addition to pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers or hotdogs, you can add some nautical themed food into the mix. Here are some suggestions.
- Lifesaver Bagels: Decorate bagels with cream cheese and strawberry jam to look like lifesavers.
- Fish Shaped Sandwiches: Use cookie cutters to cut fish shapes out of peanut butter sandwiches, cheese slices and deli meat slices.
- Sailboat Sandwiches: Create a sailboat shaped sandwich by cutting each sandwich into fourths horizontally and vertically. Then, cut two of the squares diagonally. Stand a diagonal piece on top of a square piece to form a sailboat! If you’d like, you can hang a round pretzel to the side of each sandwich with a toothpick (not recommended for smaller children). Use the same technique to make Sailboat Brownies.
- Ocean Punch: Serve blue colored fruit punch and float a couple gummy fish in each glass. You can add fizz to the fun by adding plain soda water to the punch.
- Other Food Ideas: Fish sticks, goldfish crackers, gummy fish, tuna fish sandwiches, Phish Food ice cream and blue Jell-O are other theme-related treats you can serve.
- Also, see our recipe for Octopus Dogs!
Nautical Cake Idea
It’s easy to create a lifesaver shaped cake for your nautical party. Use our image below and the instructions to guide you.
- Bake a 2-layer round cake. Check out our cake batter recipes for ideas.
- After the cakes cool, carefully cut a large hole in the center of the cake with a knife or a smaller round cake pan. If you’re using a smaller cake pan, simply turn it upside down and use it like a cookie cutter. (This will also give you a smaller cake you can frost and serve too!)
- Frost all around the cake with white icing.
- Use red icing to create four wide stripes that alternate with the white (see our image for reference).
- You’ll have a lot of room to write a message around the cake such as “You’re a lifesaver! Happy Birthday, Mike!” for example.
Party Favor Ideas
Thank your guests with an ocean of party favors! To find a large variety of Nautical party favors, visit our Preppy Blue Ocean Party and click the “Party Favors” tab or the “More Fun Stuff” tab. Some of the favors we have include:
- Plush sea animals
- Toy boats
- Sailor hats
- Fish-shaped silly straws
- Ocean themed rubber band bracelets
- Personalized sailing favors such as zipper pulls, bag tags and coloring books
- Complete nautical party favor sets
Also check out our complete favor sets and personalized products such as zipper pulls, placemats, and stickers.
Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
- Preppy Blue Ocean Party Supplies: Includes paperware, invitations, personalized items, favors, and decorations for your party theme.
- Preppy Blue Ocean Party Personalized Items: Check out our exclusive personalized items including invitations, bookmarks, stickers, and more!
- Party Planning 101: Our useful party planning guide includes cake ideas, party etiquette tips, a printable guest list, and much more.
- Birthday Party Decorating Ideas: This guide will tell you how to decorate for your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table, and how to make your own party decorations.
- Parties Under $100: Use this guide to celebrate in style without breaking the bank!
- Party Budget Estimator: Download this guide to help budget your expenses.
- More Birthday Theme Ideas: Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child’s next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.
Games and Activities
Turn an ordinary hot dog into an adorable octopus treat!
Learn how to fold simple origami sailor hats for your guests to wear at the party.
Hand out this free sailing coloring page at your party.
Send your partygoers deep-sea fishing with this fun and goofy game.
Any “fish” caught by the “octopus” must help catch other “fish”.
This is one time when it’s okay for your partygoers to act crabby.
Every toddler will win a prize in this game when they pick a toy boat from a pond.
Turn your cupcakes into octopi with this free printable cupcake decoration.
An easy and fun craft using paper plates to make a fish.