Shiver Me Timbers!
Playing pirates is fun because it's all about having adventures and finding treasure. Desert islands, sea monsters and larger-than-life characters really capture little ones' imaginations.
Try building your own pirate ship with boxes or outdoor furniture in the garden, or with long sticks in the woods. Decorate your ship with homemade flags. Don't forget a plank to walk!
Older children will enjoy drawing their own treasure maps, and will love hiding things for you to find. Try using the 'hotter/colder' technique for finding the treasure - when the child gets closer to the thing you've hidden shout 'hotter', or 'colder' as they get further away.
Play this game to practise your pirate lingo. Shout out the following and do the actions. Vary the order each time:
- climb the rigging! (use hands and feet to 'climb')
- land ahoy! (look through an imaginary telescope)
- scrub the deck! (get down on all fours and scrub!)
- hoist the mainsail! (pretend to pull on ropes)
- shiver me timbers! (shiver!)
- walk the plank! (walk along, jump, and splash!)
- SHARK ATTACK! (run and hide!)
The Stuff of Legends
There are myriad stories about pirates. We like The Night Pirates, by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright, in which the children get the better of the grown ups!
The Troll by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts is a funny story about a very silly troll who meets some even sillier pirates!
I've recently rediscovered an author from my childhood, Margaret Mahy, who writes wonderfully vivid prose. We like The Horrendous Hullabaloo in which the pirates eat a snack called rumblebumpkins. What are these? Can you make your own with mud, grass cuttings and leaves?
Does your child have a favourite pirate story?
Look the Part
It's really simple to make your own pirate accessories. Start by taping two or more loo roll tubes together to make a telescope. What can you see through your telescope? Will you spot a Shark in the Park?
Make a pirate hat by taking a large piece of paper (or two smaller pieces taped together). Fold the paper widthways. With the fold at the top, take each corner into the middle to form a triangular point. You should have an open end at the bottom. Fold each side up. Decorate your hat with a skull and crossbones, or something more cheery if you prefer!
Here's a very silly song about your new hat:
My hat it has three corners, three corners has my hat,
And had it not three corners, it would not be my hat.
These are the actions:
- my - point to yourself
- hat - point to your head
- three - hold up three fingers
- corners - point your elbow forwards
Sing the song five times. The first time say all the words and do the actions. The second time leave out the word 'my', just make the sign. The third time leave out 'my' and 'hat' but do the actions. Continue until the fifth time you're just doing the actions!
A Horrendous Hullabaloo!
Here's another pirate song you may know:
When I was one I sucked my thumb the day I went to sea,
I jumped aboard a pirate ship and the captain said to me,
We're going this way, that way, forwards and backwards, over the Irish Sea,
With a currant bun to fill my tum, and that's the life for me.
When I was two I buckled my shoe...
When I was three I scraped my knee...etc.
I hope you have lots of adventures. For more ideas to keep your little ones entertained this summer, check out our previous blog posts.