Does your child talk like a pirate and swing his toy sword all day long? Or is he mesmerized by cartoons about pirates? A pirate-themed pretend play area is just what he needs to encourage that imagination. Gather a few basic costumes and props to get your child on his way to an imaginary pirate wonderland.
A big part of dramatic play is setting the stage so your child feels like he is really in a different place. If you can get your hands on a refrigerator box, you’re set to make a child-sized pirate ship as the setting for this dramatic play theme. Check with a local appliance store for a box if you don’t know anyone who plans to buy a new fridge soon.
Lay the cardboard box on it’s side so it is long instead of tall. Carefully cut off the top side of the box so it is open like the top of a ship. You already have the basic design of the cardboard pirate ship. You can cut the sides of the ship to make it curve like a real pirate ship if you want. Cut a lower area on one side so your child can easily climb into the ship.
Let him help decorate the ship. You can paint it brown or just leave it since the cardboard is already brown. If you don’t paint it, take a brown marker to draw the outlines of boards on the outside of the ship. Use large pieces of fabric to make sails for the ship. Attach them to broom sticks or other long, skinny poles.
Don’t forget to make oars. Cut a few oars from cardboard so your junior pirates can row the ship. You can also cut a ship steer wheel from cardboard.
Has your child ever dressed up as a pirate? Pull out his old costume now. If he hasn’t, no need to worry. If you can’t find a cheap pirate costume at a garage sale or secondhand shop, make one. A baggy white shirt on top and baggy red or striped pants on bottom will do the trick. A flowing skirt works well for a girl pirate. Put on a pair of books to finish the look.
The props really put the pirate theme over the edge. A stuffed animal parrot pinned to your child’s shirt is a cute addition. Stock the pretend play area with pirate hats and eye patches. A few cardboard swords add to the pirate feeling. And you can’t play pirates without a treasure box. Use a cardboard box as a makeshift treasure box. All those bead bracelets and other costume jewelry your child has accumulated is perfect as the treasure.
With a little creativity, you can turn your home into a pirate’s paradise. You’ll feel as if you traveled back in time.