Pirate play

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By Louise RichmondTeaching Assistant in a Reception class

Climb aboard, me hearties, with this boatload of pirate-themed fun activities

Pirate's treasure chest

Activities in this article:

  1. Treasure hunt
  2. Ship ahoy!
  3. Cross-curricular activities

1. Treasure hunt

Follow the instructions to find the hidden treasure

Communication, Language and Literacy – Reading

Development matters: Know information can be relayed in the form of print (30–50 months); Enjoy an increasing range of books (40–60+ months).

Early learning goal: Know that print carries meaning and, in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom.

What you need

A set of instruction scrolls to help find the treasure (these instructions should be numbered and could include picture clues as well as written) and some treasure (perhaps a new toy or book for the setting).

What to do

  • Hide the instruction scrolls and treasure somewhere in the setting without the children seeing!
  • Gather the children and show them the first scroll you have found. Invite them to guess what they think it might be: Is it a letter, a message, a story or a recipe? What should you do with it? Open out the scroll and prompt the children to talk about what they can see – numbers, words, pictures/photographs. What do they think it is now? What do they need to do?
  • Begin to read the instruction, encouraging the children to help you: Where do we need to start reading? Can anyone help me with the first word? Encourage children to have a go and work together to solve the clue. Re-read the clue, ensuring that the children understand it. Once everyone knows what they have got to do or where they need to go, they can carry out the instruction to find the next scroll.
  • Continue to do this with the other instruction scrolls, each time reading the clue and then following the instruction, until you find the treasure!
  • Introduce the children to the poster, ‘Treasure Island’, and talk about the images and areas on the map. Encourage children to complete the ‘Pirate trail’ activity sheet they could even do a nonsense trail!
  • Play the interactive game ‘Treasure hunt’ and follow the directions to locate the pirates’ hoard!
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