Why we love Pirate Play

Pirate Play is a drama-based game that is pure fun - kids love it! It's great for our children to see us losing our inhibition and joining in 'play'. And, we only need small amount of movement to increase the flow of blood (oxygen and glucose) to the brain, boosting alertness and focus. Lots of wins!

What to do

We suggest taking this to the lawn, but on a wet day you can also create a clear space in your living room.

  • As we said, this is a drama-based game, so… be dramatic!
  • Adopt a pirate attitude and let your children know that they’re your band of pirates and the best band of pirates there ever was!
  • BUT there’s a few things that need workin’ on and they need to listen up.... when you make a call, they'd better be lookin' sharp an' doin' the right thing… Are you with me, me hearties?! ARRRRRRR!!"
  • Tell everyone to spread out and start moving around like pirates. Once they do, call one of the basic instruction from below.
  • Once they have the hang of a few commands, pause the game and explain/demonstrate a couple of the more challenging ones.

Commands to try

  • You say :"Shiver me timbers!" - They say (in a parrot voice) "shiver me timbers!"
  • You say: "Land ahoy!" - They all hop on one foot, doing a salute with one hand.
  • You say: "Scrub the deck." They all drop to all fours and act out scrubbing the floor.
  • You say: "Into the boats!" They all sit down in a row, knees bent and start rowing.
  • You say: "Walk the plank!" They all put their arms out to their sides and walk 4 steps down an imaginary plank (balancing).
  • You say: "Treasure!!!!" They all start digging for treasure in the sand.

More piratey? We have that covered!

Once you've all got the hang of it, get the kids to make up new commands and actions for your family repertoire. Oh, and begin to play the game a bit faster!

You could also introduce an elimination component, where anyone who doesn't follow the correct command, takes over the commands. Who's the fiercest pirate in your whānau?

Another options if you've got two or more pirates in your ship is to add some fun two-player options, like:

  1. Man overboard: Pirates must work in pairs, facing each other. Using two hands, pirate one holds one of player two’s arms. pirate two then leans back as if he’s falling overboard, and they balance.
  2. Octopus: Again, working in pairs, pirate one gets down on all-fours, and pirate two does the same, over the top, to create an X-shape.

Check out Avon the friendly monster, playing Pirates with tamariki via zoom!