You’re a good parent—you LOVE your children, BUT you also have a business to run…from HOME! In the good ole’ days you could look forward to Summer, now your anxiety and stress levels go through the ceiling as you wonder:
“HOW WILL I EVER KEEP THEM OCCUPIED SO I CAN GET MY WORK DONE?”
Never fear–I’ve engineered a solution!
Now, does this mean you’ll have no interaction with your kidlet…no! But it does mean once you set up these activities, engage with your kiddo for 10-15 minutes or so with each one, you can feel good about letting them get to their work, ie PLAYING, while you get to yours! Note: It goes without saying, supervision is still expected from you!
A few universal truths about young children:
1. All young children learn through their senses
——— 2. All children (young or old) need to move their bodies
3. All children should play outdoors everyday—
I’ve used those truths as guiding principles, or foundational girders, in my framework of PLAY.
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Make-believe and pirates are standard fare for child play.
Fingerplays, Chants/Songs and/or Nursery Rhymes: Teach your mateys the following song and you’ll probably hear them singing it as they make-believe in their own pirate ship! Add this puppet when your teaching and I doubt you’ll need to say: “Avast ye” (pay attention) to your kidlets!
Pirate Ship (tune: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
Sail, sail, sail your ship
Gently over the sea
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
A pirate’s life for me!
Pirate play is comment and there are many, many books on the subject, BUT often, little girls are left out of stories about the daring, sometimes menacing, pirates so I wanted to be sure to rectify that in the books I selected below!
How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long. If you’re a fan of David Shannon’s No, David! series you’ll see a similarity in the illustrations. This book has many of the components of the activities listed below…I won’t ruin the story for you, but perhaps when your kidlet is digging in the sand they may look over their shoulders to make sure pirates aren’t sneaking up on them!
In The Night Pirates by Peter Harris you’ll find a group of rough and tough–dare I say swashbuckling– girl pirates that sneak over to a young boy’s house with the goal of stealing the front of the house in hopes to disguise their pirate ship. The story has built-in rhythm and a soothing text even amongst all the mayhem! Best of all, for me though, is that it allows girls to be pirates too.
●Play Sand—a specially graded, washed sand that has been dried and screened
●Plastic sealife creatures
●Sand toys—sifter, molds, rakes, water/sand wheel, scoops for example these in the ToyChest:
*Go out for dinner at any of the many seafood restaurants in the Greater Seattle area and bring home your shells–>ASK for extra shells they may be throwing out to take home too!
Pretend Play-Pirate Ship & Treasure Hunt
Use Crazy Forts or Fort Boards to construct a ship*
Skull & Crossbones Flag –see below
Newspaper pirate hats
Cardboard tube for telescope
Stuffed toy parrot
-filled with “treasures” chocolate gold coins, small plastic gems, 5 & dime necklaces, stickers and/or
Pirate-related visuals–see photos below NOTE: Adding visuals to your kidlets play space is a great way to spark their
imaginations as well as immerse them whatever concept or idea you’d like to present.
Treasure Map & Treasure Hunt
**Depending on the age of your kiddo, you can modify to make the treasure map more or less challenging, as need be.
●Photos or (colored) pencils
●Draw or take photos of different parts of your home. For example, the kitchen, your kiddo’s bedroom, their bed, a bathroom, the family, etc ending with the area where YOU work….that’s where the ‘X’ marks the spot is located! (Really where else would it be?!)
●Place photos or sketch pictures of areas in your home onto paper
●Connect the areas with arrows showing the direction you want your kidlet to follow
●In each area, have a task your child must complete shown on the map—using picture form and/or words.
1.In their bedroom, Open and Shut each of your dresser drawers…count how many are there.
2. In the bathroom, Brush your teeth while “1, Heave ho matey, 2, Heave ho matey, 3, Heave ho matey”,…all the way up to 10
3. In the hallway, Run back and forth, to either end as many times as they are old. In other words, 5 years means up, and then back, counts for 1 and doing that for a total of 5 sets.
4. In the family room or TV area, put the remote on the floor and jump over and back while saying,
“Polly wants a cracker, Polly wants a cracker, Polly wants a cracker—shiver me timbers!”
5. If you have stairs—have them try crawling down the stairs backwards, feet first and then back up the stairs in reverse.
—————————————–USE YOUR IMAGINATION!
●Hand the map over to your pirates and let them figure it out!
●After they’ve completed the tasks and followed the map back to you, reward them with the loot inside the treasure chest!
Physical Play—Obstacle Course
Depending on what you have set up for your requirements in discovering the treasure in the Treasure Hunt, your kidlet may have gotten some physical play already…BUT they can always take more!
●Orange cones or little boxes
● (6) Chairs
●Bucket or large wooden block
●String or yarn
●Bean bags or folded socks
●Laundry basket or box
●Place cones or small boxes to hop or skip around
●Place several chairs together to crawl over
●Put a hula-hoop on the floor to jump into and out of (the number of times = their age) before moving on
●Set a bucket (or large wooden block) upside down to step up and down to continue onwards, the number of times = their age
●Tie a string or yarn between 2 chair to crawl under
●Place masking tape in a straight line to “Walk to Plank”—make it more challenging by walking on tiptoe and/or walking
●Log roll from the end of the ‘plank’ to pile of bean bags or folded socks
●Place a laundry basket or box approximately 4-6 feet away from the bean bags
●Show your kiddo the different stations of the obstacle course and how to do each action
●Explain one round of the obstacle course is completed when 3 bean bags or folded socks are successful tossed into the
laundry basket or box.
●Emphasize they can do as many rounds of the obstacle course as they’d like!
So, since I was an engineer before becoming a teacher I always feel compelled to bring in some kind of science-related activity…and this one’s just plain FUN!
(2) Straws with string running through and tied off…making a ‘window’–children hold onto one of the straws, horizontally,
letting the other straw hang, underneath, connected by the string. This is dipped into the bubble solution and lifted up,
making a vertical bubble sheet they can blow into.
Plastic pipettes (with very top cut off)—these make fabulous bubble blowers
***Add 5 gallons of water to the wading pool plus the contents of (2) 28 oz original Dawn dish soap bottles. Let the solution rest overnight! Adding glycerin supposedly makes the bubbles more supple, less prone to popping; there’s debate over whether or not it increases the longevity of the bubble.
●Demonstrate how to BLOW OUT with the pipettes before letting your kiddo try it….sucking down a mouthful of soapy water
is not my idea of fun!
●Highlight the fact they’ll get better bubble production if they keep the foam down
●Point out they’ll need to move slowly for successful bubble production—pulling the bubbles up from the wading pool with the hula hoops or hangers and/or blowing out from the pipettes, funnels and/or even from the hula hoops!
ASK YOUR CHILD: “What is a bubble?”
●Here, it’s AIR surrounded by our soap solution.
For chemistry purposes, the definition of a solution is: A homogeneous mixture made up of two or more substances. In this mixture, the solute is the substance dissolved in another substance, which is known as the solvent. For our bubble solution, the soap is the solute, dissolved into the water, which is the solvent.
ASK YOUR CHILD: “How is a bubble made?”
Accept all answers in every question—it gives you valuable information on where their development is and how they see their world. You can always give them additional experiences/information to tack their understanding back to center and true.
●Bubbles form as the result of a tug-of-war, so to speak, between the pressure of someone blowing air and the surface tension of the soap film. Learn more about the formation of bubbles here!
For physics purposes, the definition of surface tension is: A force present within the surface layer of a liquid that causes that layer to behave like an elastic sheet. Surface tension is caused by the attraction between liquid molecules. In totality, the net force is zero, but at the surface the molecules are pulled inwards by others deeper within the liquid without any balancing molecules on the outside, so the surface molecules are subject to a net inward force. BTW, it is this net inward force that supports insects walking on water!
ART is an outlet for self-expression. Young children, in particular, often have to listen to others’, follow rules, have other people’s schedules take precedence—giving your kidlet a way to express what they want, how they want with the materials available is a wonderful gift to give.
Bubblewrap Starfish Prints
Washable acrylic paints in a variety of colors
Cups for paints
Bubblewrap, cut into 9”x12” sections—note, there are big and small bubble bubblewrap!
Starfish template—see below
Construction paper in a variety of colors
Newsprint to cover work area
Starfish visuals to add to your child’s play space–see below
●Cut out starfish in a variety of colors using the different templates
●Tape newsprint down onto tabletop
●Tape bubblewrap sections down onto newsprint/table
●Put paint into cups, add a brush to each cup
●Let your kiddo paint the bubblewrap in whatever color and with as many colors as they’d like!
●Once they have the bubblewrap painted, have them take a starfish shape, place it over the bubblewrap
and press gently all over the back of the starfish
● Peel the starfish away from the bubblewrap to see the pattern created!
●Encourage them to place other starfish on the bubblewrap if there’re still areas with enough paint OR
add more paint and then continue!
NOTE: A group of fish is called a school…what do you think a group of starfish is called? A constellation! LOVE IT!
Here’s a fingerplay to end your Pirate focused play!
Ten Little Pirates
Ten little pirates stood in a row,—————————-(Hold up 10 fingers.)
They bowed to their heads to the captain so! ————-(Lower and raise fingers.)
They marched to the left;————————————(March hands to left.)
And they marched to the right. —————————–(March hands to right.)
They shouted yo ho! —————————————–(Cup hand by mouth.)
And gave their captain quite a fright! ———————-(Hands over heart.)
I’d love to see photos and/or hear back from you and your kiddos on what they did!
Yours in Play!