Arr, Matey! A Pirate Academic Skills Game


As you know, Little Crafter and I love making time to dress up and play {learn} together!  You might also remember that he’s currently obsessed with being a pirate.  So, when I got an email a few weeks ago asking if I’d like a fun DIY Pirate costume kit, it was an absolute no-brainer.  It came from our friends at Sprout, creators of The Chica Show, which encourages kiddos to visit “The Costume Coop” and engage in imaginative play and learning!  I asked them to address the package to Little Crafter, because I knew how excited he would be to receive a big box of fun…just look at this face!


He didn’t waste any time tearing into it, and when he did, here’s what we found:

– a pirate hat
– a pair of red shorts
– black felt
– black ribbon
– a black scarf
– costume makeup


Naturally, the first thing he did was ask me to help him put on the hat.


He wanted to get dressed up and play in his costume right away, but unfortunately, we were headed out the door to Vacation Bible School.  I let him wear the hat and sash in the car, though.  How could I say no to that adorable little matey?

Once we actually had time to get down to business, er, playtime, we got to work on an eyepatch fit for a buccaneer.  I traced the bottom of a glass onto the black felt, cut it out, and glued it to a piece of ribbon that would fit around LC’s head with enough to spare so we could tie it in place. Then, it was time to put all the pieces together; shirt, shorts, sash, hat, and eyepatch.  And, of course, Scully, the stuffed parrot we got when we rode a pirate ship in Myrtle Beach this summer.  ARRRRRR!


My little pirate was ready for action…in the form of a very special kind of treasure hunt!  As you know, Little Crafter is starting school this fall, and I want him to be as prepared as possible!  The other day, I showed you how to do a fun rhyming game with sight words; today’s game focuses on four skills: Reading, Sorting, Counting, and Money Recognition!  

Here’s how to play it with your own little pirates, princesses, and superheroes!


You’ll need:
– 11 {or more} index cards
– assorted quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies
– washi tape {regular tape works too}
– marker or pen

Step 1: Prepare index cards by writing a clue on each one for where to find the next card.  Use simple words appropriate to your child’s reading level.  The first card will simply give the first clue and you’ll hand it to the child when he or she begins, and the final card will not contain a clue.  Tape one or two pieces of money to each card.


Step 2: Hide the cards!  I found it helpful to have them numbered.

Step 3: Give your pirate a bag to put the treasure in, hand him/her the first card, and let the fun begin!  This first part is fantastic reading practice.  You can see LC studying this card, and I’m beyond excited to report that he read every single card all by himself and only needed help with the words “piano” and “cold.”  A lot of kids this age aren’t always willing to sit down and work through a book, but when they think they’re playing, they’ll do the reading practice without a second thought.  Trust me, I know…


Here’s LC looking for a clue “near the glass doors.”


Step 4: Once all the treasures have been found, it’s time to practice sorting.  Have your child put the coins into piles based on what size and type they are.  After the coins are stacked, ask the child to count how many of each type he/she has.


Step 5: To practice money recognition, ask the child to name each coin type.  And, if you happen to have a boy-genius like Little Crafter, ask him to figure out the total amount of money on the table.  LC immediately figured out that he had $2.78.


Our treasure hunt was a major success!  Both of us had a blast from start to finish, and I was honestly surprised by just how well he was able to read the clues.  I knew his reading improves daily, but I wasn’t prepared for him to barely need my help at all!  We will definitely be playing this game {over and over and over} again, I can tell.  If you try it with the little ones in your house, I’d love to hear how it goes!


For more fun ideas on how you can dress up and play, check out The Chica Show {the new season begins July 29!} as well as the Sprout website where you can see how to make simple costumes like this one using things you probably already have at home.

So what do you think, is he ready for Kindergarten?  Is Kindergarten ready for him?

Hugs & Glitter,


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