DIY Pirate Ball Toss Game

Teri Smyth, my Twitter friend, is a wonderful illustrator and Mum. She made this great Pirate Ball Toss Game for her daughter’s birthday party one year and I convinced her to share it here with all of you.


Every pirate ship had it’s own Code of Conduct specified by the pirate captain. While stealing was the pirate’s job, stealing amongst shipmates was severely punished.

  • Large piece of cardboard (recycled)
  • Skin Color Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 3 Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • White Pencil or Paint Pen
  • Black Construction Paper or card stock
  • Colored Tissue Paper for Hair
  • Black Sharpie

  1. For the face use a large piece of card (or more than one and stick together). It needs to be larger than a paper plate. Paint the card to the desired skin colour – see picture 1.
  2. Cut the middle out of a paper plate leaving enough to cut flaps – fold the flaps down to the back of the plate and use the hole to draw a circle in the large piece of card. This will make the mouth.
  3. Once you have cut the hole out put the paper plate in front of it and push the flaps on the back through the hole and tape to the back of the piece of card to hold the mouth in place. You can also add teeth by using rectangles of card and taping them to the back of the card. If you use a little tape and leave them to dangle the balls will make the teeth move as they get thrown into the mouth!
  4. Cut out a moustache and beard shape that will be big enough to fit around the mouth. See picture 2.
  5. Draw with a white pencil or white ink tracing the lines of the beard and moustache to add detail. See picture 3.
  6. Then stick to the ‘face’ card underneath the lip of the mouth plate – this means you don’t have to be absolutely accurate as the lip hides untidy edges – See picture 4.
  7. Draw and cut out the shape of a pirate hat and draw on a skull and bones. Stick to the top of the ‘face’ card – see picture 5.
  8. To make hair use 2 paper plates and scrunch up coloured tissue paper and stick to half of each plate. Cut off the lip of the plates and use the uncovered half to attach the hair to the back of the ‘face’ card with tape or glue. See picture 6.
  9. Draw on a nose, eyes and eyebrows or you can use more scrunched up tissue paper for the eyebrows and bottle lids for eyes – see picture 7.
  10. We used a paddling pool/ball pit and attached the pirate head to our fence using large pipe cleaners and some tape. We also added a long piece of curved paper behind the head to get the balls to roll back into the pool to save on chasing after the balls.

Have fun! Even the adults were playing this and they tried to see how far away they can stand to throw the ball into the mouth.


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