Nautical Party Ideas

By Emily Churchill

Created on June 14, 2016

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! 

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 rowboats
  • 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

Nautical Party Invitation Ideas 

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 them in a white envelope and stamp a boat, anchor or other travel-related images 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!

Nautical Invitations and Thank Yous

Decorating & Food Ideas

Nautical Party Decoration Ideas 

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.

Nautical Decorations

Nautical Party Food Ideas 

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 of 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.

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.
  1. Bake a 2-layer round cake. 
  2. 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 as a cookie-cutter. (This will also give you a smaller cake you can frost and serve too!)
  3. Frost all around the cake with white icing.
  4. Use red icing to create four wide stripes that alternate with the white (see our image for reference).
  5. 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

 Nautical Party Favor Ideas 

Thank your guests with an ocean of party favors! 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.

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