Kids absolutely love to play at being pirates: hoisting the Jolly Roger above their ship (otherwise known as your laundry basket), strutting about as Bluebeard, or pretending to chase the Lost Boys as Captain Hook! Fun role-play and costumes are a great way to add a sense of adventure, danger and excitement to your kids’ activities, which is why pirate crafts and games are guaranteed to be a big hit.
We’ve put together a few ideas for pirate activities for children below. Just remember, pirates are supposed to get dirty, so be sure to keep some Persil close to hand to make sure that your clothes are fresh and clean – check out our stain removal tips here for extra help!
Pirate Face Painting
Wearing face paint is a novelty that never really wears off for most kids, so you will probably be asked to create different characters again and again. Pirates are a classic face painting theme, but you don’t really have to draw anything complex to make a great impression. The basic components of a pirate face are:
- A black eye patch
- Facial hair – a moustache or a beard, and perhaps bushy eyebrows
- A battle scar or two
You should be able to create a quite convincing pirate face with paints in black, blue, red, and white.
Pirate Hats for Kids
Every little pirate needs a swashbuckling outfit to go with their painted face, swagger and pirate voice. Pirate hats for kids are really easy to make: either use a scarf or a tea-towel to tie around your little one’s head as a bandana, or follow our pirate hat craft activity below:
To make a pirate hat you will need:
- A large sheet of black card stock
- White paint (or coloured pencil/chalk)
- A pencil
- A stapler
- A length of string
- Sticky tape
How to make your pirate hat:
- Use the string to work out how big your pirate hat should be: wind it around your child’s head (adding a little extra for overlap) and then lay it on the card.
- Cut a straight band of card as long as the string, approximately 5cm wide.
- Staple the ends of the band together to form a loop the size of your child’s head. Be sure to tape the back of the staples to make sure no sharp edges are exposed.
- Next, use a pencil to rough out the shape of a pirate hat – round at the top, with an up-turning brim at the side – and cut it out.
- Use the white paint to draw skull and crossbones on the front of the hat. Allow to dry.
- Attach the headband to the back of the hat shape using tape.
Pirate Activities for Kids
Now you’re ready to get outside and indulge in some right rollicking pirate fun. But don’t worry, not all pirate activities for children involve sword play or making adults walk the plank! Treasure hunts (see our handy how-to here) are fun for children of all ages. Or, you could take to the high seas with our island-hopping elimination game below.
Pirate Activity for Kids: Shark Infested Waters
The aim of this game is to keep your feet dry, and not to get eaten by the sharks!
- Place several pieces of paper on the ground, placed fairly far apart to act as islands.
- Place one piece of paper in the middle as an island, with an empty box on top.
- Give each kid a purse of coins (real or pretend).
- Get your kids to walk around the paper islands, until you shout ‘shark ahoy’!
- You kids must rush to stand on the closest ‘island’.
- Each round an island is taken away, and the last to jump on an island has to put a coin into the empty box.
- When only the central piece of paper remains, the first person to put their foot on the ‘island’ is the winner and gets to keep all the treasure.