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….

Treasure Hunt

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


16 Responses to “Adventures as Annie: Pirates Past Noon”

  1. Danzel says:

    My first grader is loving the Magic Tree House books right now. She enjoys seeing your posts about the books. :)

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks Danzel! Does she have a favorite book from the series? I like to know which ones the kids like so I can focus one of the programs around those titles.

      • Danzel says:

        She isn’t very far into the series yet. She’s on the third book, with the fourth waiting in the wings. I’m not sure she has a favorite yet.

  2. Betty says:

    Could I have a copy of this journal as well? We just started the series!

  3. Lisa Johnson says:

    Could I also have a copy of this journal? It looks awesome and we are reading this book in summer school!

  4. Sharon says:

    What a wonderful idea for a monthly library program! I would appreciate a copy of the journal to use to stimulate my readers. :)

  5. Heather says:

    Have you done anything for Mummies? I am homeschooling two boys with a little in the wings we have recently had a neighbor join us for “book club ” so we restarted the series. trying to find lots of minni hands on things the two oldest both are spectrum kids with sensory issues so we love to play!

  6. Kathy says:

    We are just beginning to teach the first 12 Magic Tree House books and would love any PDF’s you are able to send us. Your ideas are wonderful! Thank you.

  7. Susan says:

    This is awesome. Would you please send me a copy of your journal. I am teaching Magic Tree House Camp in July and this would make a great resource. Thanks so much.

  8. Grace says:

    I see people requesting copies of your journals. If that’s something you offer, I’d love to partake. I’m a teacher and a mom planning a Magic Tree House birthday party in September. Thanks so much in advance!

  9. Catie says:

    Hi there – Love these journals! Would I be able to get a copy of this Pirates one?

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your hard work!


  10. Melanie says:

    Hi, I am using this book for a reading group. Any way I could get a copy of the journal?

  11. Kris says:

    Just discovered your website…it’s amazing! I’m a librarian at the waverly, Iowa Public Library, and we’re planning a Magic Treehouse party at the end of March. I would absolutely LOVE to use your journals, if you’re sharing them! Thanks so much!


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