It could be all this writing about imaginative play that has got me thinking about pirates. Or maybe it was my 4-year-old’s comments about “the pirate species”. (“You know mom, guys with eye patches and swords – the pirate species!”) Either way, I thought I’d share some pirate fun with you!
While I wouldn’t recommend pirates as an overall “theme” for a preschool curriculum (not a lot of directly applicable learning objectives unless plundering is on your list) it can be used to teach some great elements within another theme. I like to add it in as a fun twist within another unit like water or oceans or something like that. I personally like to add it in at the end of the unit, as a celebration!
So whether you’re looking for ideas to use within a curriculum, or just some fun ways to play and learn with your little buccaneers, here are a few suggestions:
Make an amazing pirate ship from cardboard using plans and fasteners from Mr. McGroovy. (This site is definitely worth checking out for a variety of prop ideas for dramatic play or a special event!) If you’re feeling a little less ambitious, just grab a map, a telescope, and a compass, hop aboard your couch or bed and let imagination set sail!
Make a Pirate Snack Mix and use a variety of math concepts – as well as your taste buds!
Have a Treasure Hunt, or play this Treasure Task game! Following those clues builds cognitive skills and really helps children get into the role of the swashbuckler!
Hunt for pennies in sand and shells in the sensory bin, or fill plastic eggs with pennies and bury them in a larger sandbox outside. Builds sensory and large motor skills, and it’s loads of fun! You could also hide beads as “jewels” and then bring them in for a stringing activity!
Read one of these great pirate books:
Shiver Me Letters by June Sobel is quite possibly my favorite alphabet-based story. Just fantastic! Couple it with the Pirate Snack Mix, or bury small letters in your sandbox or sensory bin for a twist on the digging activity above!
Pirate Pete’s Talk Like a Pirate by Kim Kennedy is such a fun read, full of wonderful vocabulary and great story structure. Just be sure to use your full repertoire of narrative voices to bring each character to life! (And don’t forget Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th)!)
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long (and illustrated by one of my favorites, David Shannon) is a fanciful tale of, well, how a boy becomes a pirate, of course! An inside look at the life of a pirate, and a few reasons why it’s more fun to simply pretend! Follow up with a treasure hunt, or by making a picture map of your room or play yard!
What are your favorite pirate adventures to share with your little scallywags?
Top photo by borja.