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Anchors Aweigh
Birthday Party Planning Guide

Exclusively at BirthdayExpress.com


Ahoy maties! Set sail for fun and adventure with these helpful party ideas. All your guests will be impressed with these fun nautical-themed activities and yummy treats!

Party Checklist

4-6 Weeks Before the Party

  • Select Date:



    Plan a safe, inviting place for kids to have fun. Set time to 2-3 hours for young children, and 3-4 hours for older kids.

  • Create Guest List

    Just fill out the handy list in this guide!

  • Order Anchors Aweigh Birthday Party Supplies, 
Anchors Aweigh Favors & Party Activities

    BirthdayExpress.com is the place! You’ll find over 150 party themes, with party pack options for all of them. Expecting more guests? Choose our Pack Add-On option

  • Order Birthday Costume/Outfit & Gifts

    BirthdayExpress.com has lots of fun choices. Look for our costumes, T-shirts, hats and special birthday gifts designed to match our party themes.

  • Book Entertainment (optional)

2 Weeks Before the Party

  • Order Cake

    Schedule to pick it up one day before the party.

  • Mail Anchors Aweigh Birthday Invitations

    Let the birthday child help by adhering the stamps and putting the invitations in the mailbox.

  • Create List of Parent Phone Numbers

    Keep on hand in case of emergency.

  • Plan Party Menu

    Check out the recipes in this guide. Ask parents if kids have any food allergies.

  • Choose Party Games & Collect Party Supplies

    This guide has ideas that match your party theme!

2-3 Days Before the Party

  • Prepare Cameras

    Check batteries. Charge video camera. Buy film or video cards. Get Birthday Message Cameras for the kids to use.

1 Day Before the Party

  • Make Food & Drinks, Bake/Get Cake, Buy Ice

    Set out chilled/heated foods just before kids eat.

  • Childproof & Decorate Party Area

    Remove breakable items and objects that could prevent guests from moving freely. Decorate with balloons, crepe paper, and other items included in your party pack.

  • Set Up Party Games, Fill Favor Boxes & Piñatas

    Invite your party child to help!

Party Day!

  • Fill Birthday Balloons with Helium

After the Party


Sand Art Activity


Give an empty shaped necklace to each party guest to fill with colored sand.

Indoor Deep Sea Fishing

  • A small inflatable pool
  • Colored construction paper
  • Paper clips
  • A fishing pole
  • A small magnet
  • Small colored bags(same color as the construction paper)
  • Assorted prizes
  • 20-25 Latex balloons

Inflate small pool and blow up the latex balloons. Cut out the fish from the colored construction paper and glue on a paper clip for the mouth. Use different colors of construction paper for the fish. You will also need to get similarly colored small bags to use as the prize bags. Then put the fish in the bottom of the pool and cover them up with the latex balloons. Take a small pole and attach a magnet at the end of the string. Put the assorted prizes into the different colored bags. Make sure to have enough for all guests. Have the kids take turns fishing with the pole for fish. When a kid gets 3 fish of the same color, they get a prize from that bag.

Fish, Fish, Shark

  • Enough chairs for your guests arranged in a circle

    This game is based on the traditional “Duck, Duck, Goose” game, but instead of a goose chasing a duck, a shark chases a fish. Start with all the party guests seated in a circle. Designate a leader to walk around the circle, tapping guests on the head and calling each person a “fish”. After several guests have been tapped, the leader chooses one guest and yells out “Shark” when tapping them on the head. The Shark chases the leader and tries to tag the leader as they race around the circle and back to the Shark’s spot. If the leader is caught, then they remain the leader for another round. If the leader escapes the Shark, the Shark becomes the new leader. Repeat the game until every guest has a chance to be the leader.

“Who Am I” Ocean Creature Game

  • Name tags for all your party guests

Write out the names of assorted sea animals (fish, whale, jellyfish, shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.) on each of the name tags. When each guest arrives, they get a name tag put on their back. Each guest must try to guess the name of the ocean creature on their back by asking other guests only “yes” or “no” questions. The first guest to guess their ocean creature wins.

“Captain May I” Game

This traditional game can be played with a group of children anywhere or anytime and is perfect for birthday parties.


One child serves as "Captain." The other kids line up and face the Captain about 20 feet away. The Captain selects one of the children and says something like, "Susan, you may take five giant steps." The child who was addressed then responds with, "Captain, may I?" The Captain then says, "Yes, you may." Captain then addresses another child, and the game continues until one of the children reaches the Captain. Whoever makes it to the Captain first becomes the Captain for the next round. Sound simple? It is. Except that in the excitement of the game, someone is bound to take their steps without asking "Captain, may I?" When that happens the Captain reminds the player of their manners and the player is sent back to the beginning of the line. The Captain can also make the game intriguing by only honoring the silly step -- "twirly" steps, one-foot hops and so on.

Pin-the-Tail on the Whale

  • Large piece of construction or poster board
  • "Whale tails" (enough for each guest)
  • Tape
  • Blindfold

Draw a large whale on a large piece of construction or poster board paper but without the tail. Then cut out "whale tails" for all your guests. Put children's initials and double-sided tape on each tail. At game time, blindfold the kids one by one, spin them around, and have them try to pin their tail shapes on the whale. The closest “tail” wins!

Fish Story

Kids will enjoy using their creativity to make their own “fish” story.

  • Paper and writing utensils
  • Medium-sized bowl

Invite all your party guests to write a beginning sentence on a slip of paper about sea life. (e.g., "Once upon a time, deep under the sea, a large octopus was born.") Put all the slips of paper into a bowl.

Have the kids sit in a circle. Choose one player to pick one slip from a bowl, read it out loud, and then add a sentence related to the original one (but even more exaggerated than the last). The round continues until everyone has had a chance to add a sentence. Then a new slip can be drawn from a bowl.


Sailboat Cake

Total Estimated Time: 15-20 minutes

  • 9” Square cake pre-baked
  • 2-1/2 Cups buttercream frosting
  • 1-1/2 Cups coconut
  • 1-Square unsweetened chocolate (melted)
  • 4-White ring-shaped candies
  • Gumdrops and paper flag

Prepare 9-inch square cake as directed and cool completely. Cut cake diagonally in half to make two triangles. Cut a strip 2¼ inches wide off one triangle. Arrange cake pieces using the triangles as sails and the strip as the hull. Blend melted chocolate into ¾ cup of the frosting. Spread white frosting on sails; chocolate frosting on hull. Put a line of chocolate frosting between the sails as mast. Sprinkle coconut on sails; arrange candies and flag as shown.

Nautical Fish Shaped PB and J Sandwiches

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (enough for all your guests)
  • Fish shaped cookie cutter
  • Small US flag food picks

Use a fish-shaped cookie cutter to make little “fish” sandwiches. Then put a flag food pick into each sandwich.

Seashells & Cheese

Estimated Total Time: 29-34 minutes

  • 2-Cups uncooked seashell macaroni (7 ounces)
  • 1/4-Cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4-Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2-Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-Teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4-Teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4-Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-Cups milk
  • 2-Cups shredded or cubed cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 3-Quart saucepan
  • 2-Quart casserole dish

Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook macaroni as directed on package. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Drain macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. (Makes 6 servings)

Fun Fish Sticks

Estimated Total Time: 20-30 minutes

  • Bag of frozen fish sticks
  • Cheese in a can

Bake fish sticks according to the package directions. Then make fish eyes and/or tails from the canned cheese on the fish sticks.

Gummy Fish in the Sea

Estimated Total Time: 2-3 hours

  • 1-Package (6-oz) of gelatin
  • Gummy fish
  • 1-Large, clear bowl

Cover the bottom of a large, clear bowl with gummy fish. Make gelatin from (1) 6-oz package according to directions. Slowly pour the gelatin over the fish, and place uncovered in the refrigerator to chill. Once the gelatin has set, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Keep it handy to help make your party planning easy!