I can’t say that I understand the fascination with pirates, but it exists! Kids love pretending to be pirates! They adore the ideas of ship travel, the anchor drop, a hook for a hand, buried loot, and treasure maps.
If your little one has a fascination for playing the part of a pirate, why not teach some Biblical truths while you’re at it? Here are some simple activities that you can do this summer with your little swashbucklers. Each activity is a great opportunity to have fun, make memories, and learn about the treasure of the Word of God.
Make a Ship
Ask around for a giant appliance box. Post your need for one on Facebook or Twitter and you are sure to find one. You can also find boxes at local department stores, particularly family owned stores, Sears, Lowe’s or Home Depot. Place the box lengthwise, remove the top, and paint your pirate ship. Tape a large stick (branch, yardstick, or broomstick) to the side of the box and attach a flag. A simple flag can be cut out with a triangular pattern out of an old shirt. Now set sail!
Once inside your ship, read Acts 27:13- 44, that details one of Paul’s journeys at sea. Have your children act out the Bible reading. Use pails of water and spray bottles to reenact the trip. Discuss the fear that the sailors would have had. What message from God does Paul tell them? Why shouldn’t they be afraid? Discuss your fears and how God has overcome them. Give your children the opportunity to talk through their fears as well.
A Treasure Hunt
Create a simple treasure hunt for your child. Place clues around your house or yard. One clue should lead to another. For pre-readers, draw illustrations or use photographs as a clue. For beginning readers, use one or two-word clues. For older children, create a riddle to solve. Have a treasure waiting at the end, such as chocolate gold coins in a box, with Bible verses hidden inside.
Proverbs 2:3-5 says, “Indeed, if you call out insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” Discuss this verse with your child. Allow them to ask questions that they might have about God. Give them the opportunity to express even doubts or concerns. Talk through them. Challenge each other to search for understanding like it is buried treasure.
Create a Treasure Chest
Create your own treasure chest out of a shoebox. Decorate it with construction paper, stickers, and drawings. Have your child use the chest for a memory box or a special collection box (for rocks, baseball cards, etc.)
For a more durable treasure chest, purchase one at an arts and crafts store and decorate it with paint. Keep it as a family treasure chest, where you keep photographs, ticket stubs, postcards, mementos, etc. One year our family made a treasure chest for the grandparents. Throughout the year, they placed items inside, as reminders of special times together. At Christmastime, they go through the box and talk about their favorite memories.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, which reads, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Continue with verses 16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Discuss hard times that your family has had or that your children have had recently. Talk about how God can walk us through those hard times and how He has in the past. Encourage them to keep their eyes on Jesus and realize the benefits of hard times. Discuss how you can encourage one another and cheer each other on.
Buried Gold Coins
Find small rocks or pebbles and paint them yellow. Pretend that the rocks are nuggets of gold. Hide them in a sandbox. You may also want to get rid of loose change this way. Empty it all into the sand and have your children hunt for different coin values. The loot can be collected in pails and saved up for a trip to the dollar store.
Discuss Matthew 6:20-21, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Talk about how much fun it is to find and save treasure. But, what kind of treasures are we to store? What might happen to any treasure that we have on earth? What is the greatest treasure we could ever have? Pray for your hearts to seek an eternal treasure, that is far greater than any treasure on this earth!
More Fun Ideas!
For additional activities, have your children pretend to be castaways, floating in a nearby pool. With a long piece of plywood, a balance beam, or a piece of duct tape on the floor, have your little ones walk the plank. Pirates may feast on a diet of fish sticks and goldfish. For dessert, you can make cupcakes with an icing treasure inside. Simple hooks can be made with a hook-shaped cardboard cut-out, wrapped in aluminum foil, and stuck in a cup. Bandanas, striped shirts, and baggy pants are an easy costume idea. Have fun!