Ahoy! Maybe your kids love pirates because of the Disney ride and movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. Or maybe Treasure Island piqued their interest. It’s easy to understand their obsession when you think about all the cool costumes and catchphrases that are part of pirate lore. Whatever the reason your little landlubbers are into them, these pirate-themed physical activities for kids will let your matey’s imagination set sail. Avast ye! It’s time to launch an afternoon of creative play.
Dress Like a Pirate
Captain Hook had his hook. And Blackbeard had his beard. But you don’t need either to help your kids dress like a pirate. In fact, we’ll bet you have what you need on hand—although it may take a deep dive into the closet to assemble an outfit.
Contrary to popular belief, most pirates didn’t dress like Captain Hook or Jack Sparrow, probably because it wasn’t practical for the realities of sailing the high seas. Tricon hats would have easily blown off in windy weather and suede boots weren’t too practical either. As for eye patches, hoop earrings, and swords…they make great costumes, but probably aren’t too true to life.
Here’s what your little pirate needs to dress for boat life:
- Sloppes—baggy trousers cut just below the knee
- Woolen stockings—a pair of knee-high socks will do
- A belted, loose-fitting tunic—a parent’s dress shirt or blouse will work
- A wool cap, a la Jacques Cousteau
Now for the fun part. When pirates went ashore, many changed out of the dirty, drab clothes they wore on the ship into the colorful, eye-catching outfits people associate with pirates. Can you guess where they got these items? Yep. From their raids. So pull out those swashbuckling boots, the iconic tricorn hat and some costume jewelry (maybe mom can loan you some) for added flair when you go ashore.
Create a Pirate Treasure Map
Put your World Happy Map to (more) good use by creating a pirate treasure map. No, not one where “X” marks the spot of the buried treasure. On this map, kids will mark pirate hot spots from the Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1720). See if you can find…
- Nosy Bohara. This island off the east side of Madagascar is where well-known pirates like William Kidd would stop to rest and relax while looting in the Indian Ocean.
- Tortuga. Kids will find this small island on the north side of Haiti in the Caribbean.
- New Providence. The largest island in the Bahamas, this pirate hot spot is where you’ll find Nassau, the national capital city.
- Salé. Look to the continent of Africa to find this pirate city. It’s outside Rabat in Morocco and even shows up in the novel Robinson Crusoe.
- Port Royal. Although the pirate city is underwater now, thanks to an earthquake, this town on the island of Jamaica was once a place where pirates roamed.
- Barataria Bay. Look to Louisiana, just south of New Orleans, to find this area.
- Campeche. You’ll have to find the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to find this favorite pirate raiding place. If you visit today, you’ll see strong walls built to keep the pirates out.
- Ocracoke Islands. It’s in the Outer Banks of North Carolina that you’ll find this island that once played home to pirates.
Eat Like a Pirate
Most kids will pass when it comes to eating like a pirate. After all, boats didn’t have much fresh food, and what they had disappeared quickly or spoiled in the first few weeks of sailing. But there was one pirate in particular who was quite the foodie, among other things—William Dampier. A pirate, explorer, navigator, and naturalist, he was the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He’s also credited with contributing 80 words to the Oxford English Dictionary, many of them are words we use every day—barbecue, cashew, kumquat, soy sauce, and tortilla are just a few. Dampier was a big fan of guavas and mangoes and is credited with creating the first English language recipes for guacamole and mango chutney. Can you guess where he traveled, based on these foods?
So if you want to eat like a pirate, we suggest eating like one pirate in particular—Dampier. Try one of these fantastic BBQ recipes kids will love, or this cashew chicken dish made with soy sauce. Use tortillas to make tacos that are palate-pleasing to both kids and parents. Don’t forget the guacamole! And finally, try some of Dampier’s favorite fruits when you whip up a guava mango smoothie for the kids.
After you try these pirate themed physical activities, continue the imaginative play with our World Village Playsets that deliver global adventures for your kids directly to your living room.