Let’s Learn About: Pirates

Do you have a child who is simply captivated by stories about pirates? I have two of them! What is it with kids and pirates? Perhaps they are drawn to the romantic notion of an adventurous life at sea while searching for lost, forbidden treasure in the midst of a horrific storm. Perhaps they are semi-fascinated with the life of “bad guys” and through play, get to experience scaring people with gruff “argh-ing!” Whatever it is, pretending to be a pirate is harmless fun. Let’s learn about pirates!

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Let's Learn About PiratesThe Ship

All brave pirates need a ship. With just a few simple adjustments and a speck of imagination, any old box can become one. I cut the flaps off of the top of the box and secured a paper towel roll to the inside of the box with hot glue. Once the paper towel roll was in place, I placed a pirate’s flag (taped onto a yard stick) inside of the roll. Owen really appreciated that the flag was removable because eventually, the ship became a plane (because cardboard box pirate ships are magical like that!).

owen planeFishing

I don’t know . . . did real pirates fish for their dinner or just pillage it from unsuspecting sailors? Either way, Owen informed me that all “good pirates fish,” so that is exactly what we did. Pirate Owen constructed a fishing pole from Tinker Toys, as I cut out colorful foam fish to float in the sea (which was also infested with crocodiles – watch out!). I taped a magnet onto the end of Owen’s fishing pole, as well as to the back of every fish. He loved fishing, and I loved that he was enjoying an activity that reinforced color identification and exercised his hand-eye coordination.

Owen fishingThe Cannon and Treasure Hunt

Of course Owen’s pirate ship had to have a working cannon –  a paper towel tube that shot aluminum foil balls – “All pirate ships have cannons, Mama!”

March 22 101I used stickers to create a treasure map for Owen. I’m certain that there are no purple octopi in our home, but it sure was fun pretending that there was. In fact, one grabbed my leg and began pulling me into the water. Luckily, Pirate Owen was there to save the day!

After the treacherous journey through our home, Owen did find the treasure. Here he is showing it off (peanut butter sandwich face and all!) in his fort, which of course leads me to . . .

owen and treasureThe Pirate Fort

According to Owen, when pirates aren’t on their ship, they live inside of super secret pirate forts. And what exactly do pirates do in their forts? Why, they admire their treasure, drink tea, and eat their fish, of course!

March 22 171Owen was a pretty funny pirate! I’m not exactly sure where he has acquired all of his pirate information, but here are some of my guesses. He truly enjoyed directing this playful adventure, and I was reminded how good it feels to momentarily forget stress and chores, and to just be present while enjoying my child’s imagination, spirit, and innocence.

Happy playing!

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