Preschool Pirate Games

Written by jim radenhausen
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Preschool Pirate Games
Pirate gear makes preschool games more fun. (jolie petite fille déguisée en pirate image by bacalao from

The success of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films shows that the audience's appetite for pirates remains as strong as ever. Young children especially enjoy the concept of pirates, as it makes for fun dress up and games. Preschool children can channel their inner pirate by donning pirate costumes and playing various games involving cannonballs, hooks and treasures.

Cannonball Sea Battle

Kids compete to land beanbags on targets in this game. The teacher spreads out copies of pirate clip art in a large area. From behind an established toe line, two teams of pirate crews (kids) toss beanbags toward clip art targets. The value of the points earned depends on the targets: for instance, 5 points for an island, 10 points for a pirate ship and 2 points for a shark. If kids toss a beanbag onto a bad storm, they lose 5 points. Kids should have three tries each, with crews alternating until each pirate tosses three beanbags. The crew with the most points at the end of the game wins. Should the game have a tie, each kid takes a single turn tossing a beanbag over her head. Whichever crew lands the most cannonballs on targets wins.

Captain Hook

Kids try hooking as many treasure items as possible when playing "Captain Hook." The teacher places two treasure chests--either cardboard boxes or coolers--on the floor on opposite ends of the room and scatters two different-colour beaded necklaces across the middle of the floor, assigning each team a colour. Two teams of kids line up on both sides of the room, with the first two kids in line getting a candy cane "hook." When the game begins, they have 30 seconds to use their hooks to pick up one necklace at a time, run and place it in their treasure chests, and run back to hook more. Once the 30 seconds elapses, the adult counts the number of necklaces in each team's chest and awards 1 point for each necklace. The teacher again scatters the necklaces, and the game continues until all kids have had a turn. Whichever team has the most points wins the game.

Mutiny on the High Seas

Kids add a pirate flair to this outdoor hide-and-seek game. With a pirate flag marking the captain's post, one kid assumes the captain role and another that of first mate. Remaining kids play crew members, who count to 10 as the captain hides (the first mate stands by). Crew members then search for the captain, who must avoid the crew as he tries returning to his post. If the captain makes it back to his post without a crew member tagging him, he wins. If a crew member tags the captain, the first mate becomes the captain, and the game starts again. Each child should have a turn as captain and first mate.

Pirates Treasure

Players take turns trying to swipe treasure in "Pirates Treasure." Kids form a circle, with one blindfolded child sitting in the middle. The teacher places treasure items (such as play jewellery, chocolate gold coins or real coins) in front of the blindfolded child; the other kids take turns trying to steal treasure from the pile. If the blindfolded kid hears a potential thief, she tries to touch the kid while yelling a common pirate saying, such as ""Aargh," Ahoy matey," "Shiver me timbers" or "Yo ho."

If the blindfolded child touches the thief, the thief forfeits the treasure and must now take his turn as the blindfolded child in the centre. If the thief makes it back to his spot successfully, he keeps the treasure. When all kids have successfully "stolen" a treasure, the game ends.

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