Adventures as Annie: Pirates Past Noon
In March, our theme for Magic Tree House Adventures was Pirates Past Noon. Arr!!! Magic Tree House Adventures (you can view past programs here) is a monthly library program for kids ages 5 & up in which each session is themed around one of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House books. This month, we walked the plank, tried our hand at pirate slang, found buried treasure, and learned a great deal about the pirates from long ago.
And I even dressed for the occasion…
Where Are We? Who Are They?
We started with our regular game of “Where are we? Who are they?”. Here’s how it works… I flash pictures of people and places on the screen relevant to the history of pirates and the kids guess where the picture is, or who is in it, or what is going on. For example, the picture above would flash onto the screen and I would ask the kids, “Who is that dude with his beard on fire? Is he your grandpa?” and they would guess and then I would give a short explanation of who it really was (Blackbeard). The majority of the facts came from the Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pirates. The primary focus was that stories and movies about pirates are very different than how life as a pirate really was. We discussed early pirates from all over the world, the Golden Age of Pirates, types of sailing ships, what it was really like being a pirate, and what kind of treasure they were after. We also learned how to talk like a pirate. Aye!
Afterwards we broke out into groups for our pirate activities….
Even though pirates rarely buried their treasure, I thought it might be fun to have an actual treasure hunt. Here’s what I did. I poured a 50 lb bag of sandbox sand into a large metal tub and hid a bag of dabloons (plastic gold coins), precious stones (plastic gem stones), and jewelry (plastic necklaces) in it. In pairs of 2 or 3, I would time each pair a total of 30 seconds to see how much treasure they could dig up in that time frame. This activity was the hit of the program.
Walk the Plank
There is no proof that pirates actually used “walking the plank” as punishment, but it’s apart of pirate mythology that we all know and love. So, using an old board, kids had to balance walking across while carrying a spoon with a ping-pong ball on it. And then they would have to balance holding two spoons carrying ping-pong balls. If the ball dropped or they touched the ground with their foot, it was to Davy Jone’s Locker with ’em!
Treasure Map and Parrot Craft
What is a pirate without his/her trusty parrot or map? I recycled this parrot craft from last year’s Pirate Storytime (which goes through step-by-step on how to make these parrots and a pirate eye patch) for the Magic Tree House Adventures kids to make during this program. We also made treasure maps using torn brown butcher paper and markers. I printed out symbols of objects a pirate’s map might have on it to give them a few ideas. Items such as a compass rose, an island, a mermaid, a palm tree, an “x”, water, sea monsters, and a Jolly Roger were all on the list.
Magic Tree House Adventures Journal
In every Magic Tree House Adventures session, attendees get to take home their very own journal just like Jack uses in the Magic Tree House books. I add facts and pictures discussed in the program and also include whatever worksheets or activities available on the Magic Tree House website. The majority of the journal comes from facts in the Magic Tree House Research Guides. Along with the journals, bunches of books about the particular theme are on display for them to checkout as they leave the program. This display table of books usually gets severely raided.
Here’s a peak inside this month’s journal:
And that’s it me mateys! Hold on to yer hats, cause next month’s book selection is Twister on Tuesday!
image source: Blackbeard