Pirate Activity Ideas for Early Years


Ahoy Matey! Are ye looking for a plan to help turn young land-lubbers into proper sea-faring pirates? Arrr! Look no further, me hearties! We've got the booty for you! 

We also have a printable version of our Pirates Early Years Planning Sheet here,  for useful reference. 

Pirates can be a really exciting topic to learn about with children in the early years. Here's some ideas with activities that cover all the areas of development in the UK's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). We have included a printable planning sheet in colour and black and white. 


  • Learn some new vocabulary by playing pirate bingo
  • Singing songs with children helps with their language development. We have a great pirate song printable which includes actions, counting and rhyme. 
  • Talk like a pirate! Use our glossary of pirate words to learn some new pirate vocabulary. Dress up and role play being a pirate for a day. 

Social and Emotional

  • Discuss what pirates are best known for - theft. Talk about the rules around stealing and why it is not the right thing to do. 
  • Encourage turn taking by playing a game of memory with our pirate themed game cards



  • Read books about pirates! Take the children for a pirate book scavenger hunt at the library. We have a handy book list with picture books and chapter books about pirates. 
  • Play this pirate treasure rhyming game
  • Use gold card and cut out lots of circles. Write letters in the circles so that the children can use them to make words or find the letters of their names. Fill the tuff tray with sand and hide the gold coins in the sand to create a literacy treasure hunt. 


  • Try some pirate themed dot to dots or have a look at our pirate themed maths worksheets which include patterns and counting. 
  • Play our pirate treasure counting game
  • Fill the tuff tray with sand and hide lots of real coins in there for the children to find. Count how many coins the children have found. Who found the most? Who found the least? Encourage the children to look at the coins. Are there any numbers on them? Talk about how each coin represents a different value. 

Understanding the World

  • Introduce the children to maps and compasses by letting them handle them and talking about what they are for.
  • Show the children a globe or a world map. Can they locate the country where they live? What colour is land? What colour are the seas? Encourage the children to look at how the seas connect. Talk about the differences between living on land and living at sea. 

Expressive Arts

  • Include pirate clothes and props in the role play area so that children can create and act out their own pirate stories. 
  • Try junk modelling some pirate ships. 
  • Watch some pirate jigs and listen to shanties. Encourage the children to make up their own jig. 

Printable Planning Sheet

You can download a printable version of this planning sheet here:

More Related Activities


Pirate Activity Ideas for Early Years
Thursday, 15th September 2022

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