Pirate Activities

10 Pirate-Themed Activities for the Classroom

Ahoy, me hearties! If you want to inject swashbuckling excitement into your classroom, there’s no better way than to embark on a pirate-themed adventure. Pirates have captured the imagination of both young and old for generations, making them a fantastic theme for engaging and educational activities. With Talk Like a Pirate Day coming up on September 19, this month is a wonderful time to explore the pirate theme. So, hoist the Jolly Roger, and let’s dive into some 10 pirate-themed activities that will have your students setting sail on an unforgettable learning voyage!

10 Exciting Pirate-Themed Activities for the Classroom

1. Pirate Vocabulary Challenge & Pirate Narrative Story

Since Talk Like a Pirate Day is all about using those daring pirate words, start your pirate-themed journey by introducing students to a list of pirate terms and phrases like “buccaneer,” “plunder,” and “matey.”

Create a word wall for visual reference. In our Pirate Writing Unit, we have Talk Like a Pirate Vocabulary cards perfect for this challenge. Students can utilize these Pirate Vocabulary cards in specific “Pirate Talk Time,” in which they can chat with their neighbors using the vocabulary words.

Challenge students to use these terms in sentences in an action-packed pirate narrative, like in our Pirate Writing Unit, to reinforce vocabulary, boost creativity, and write some splendid seafaring stories. This unit has everything you need from prewriting to publication, including a fun design-your-own-pirate craft and three pirate bulletin board options to display their work. 

Snatch yours while you can, matey!

Additionally, put those pirate vocabulary words into action in specific figurative language practice with this resource. Practicing figurative language will only enrich your students’ writing.

Don’t let them slip through your grasp! Grab now!

2. Pirate History and Geography

Dive into history and geography by exploring the Golden Age of Piracy. Teach students about famous pirates, their exploits, the countries that employed them, and the locations they frequented. Use maps to trace their routes and discuss the impact of piracy on different regions.  The following websites have a plethora of information to introduce this time in history.

Golden Age of Piracy

4 Famous Pirates You Should Know

Pirates and Piracy

History of Pirates

Students can also read a biography about a pirate and complete a project based on everything they learned. 

We recommend Who Was Blackbeard? by James Buckley, Jr.

10 Exciting Pirate-Themed Activities for the Classroom

Don’t let this slip through your fingers, matey!

Another biography we recommend is, Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America by Susan Goldman Rubin.

10 Exciting Pirate-Themed Activities for the Classroom

Grab it while you can!

An engaging biography project students can complete is our Biography in a Can project. Students read a pirate biography, take notes, create the pirate out of a chip or coffee can, and then write an index card book report that fits nicely into the can. 

Grab this bounty today like a true pirate!

4. Pirate Literature Adventure:

Set sail on a pirate literature adventure! Read pirate picture books and discuss the characters, plots, and moral lessons within these stories. 

We love the following pirate picture books and think your students will too!

10 Exciting Pirate-Themed Activities for the Classroom

Lay claim to this treasure!

Make haste and clutch this treasure!

Ye best be swift, for this prize!

If you teach an older elementary or middle school grade, read an abridged version of  Treasure Island for the month of September. We love this version!

Snatch this loot ‘fore it slips through yer fingers!

6. Pirate Playground Treasure Map 

Pirates used maps all the time to navigate the high seas. Map skills are an important standard in geography. Teach students about the parts of a map such as a scale, compass, legend, and so on and so forth. Give students something they need to bury in the playground. Perhaps, a fake gold coin or a piece of treasure from the classroom treasure box. Next, students stay outdoors and create a map of where their treasure is buried. Bonus points on students drawing their maps on crinkled butcher paper or on vintage-looked stationery. Students exchange maps and try to find their partner’s buried treasure. 

7. Pirate Craft & Fun Activities

Create little pirates out of your students with this Photo Fun Activity and then display them on a perfect pirate bulletin board with this resource. Additionally, students can enjoy the Create Your Own Pirate Hat craft, along with pirate coding sheets, word searches, and fun coloring sheets in the same resource. 

Snag this treasure ‘ere it’s lost!

If you have older students, you will love this one!

Be swift, for this prize won’t linger long!

8. Pirate Letter Writing

Practice letter-writing skills by having students craft a letter, pretending they’re a pirate. Perhaps their letter is all about where some buried treasure is located. Here are some more pirate letter ideas!

Pretend you’re a captain of a pirate ship who decided to set sail alone. Write a letter to your crew all about your latest adventures!

Pretend you’re a pirate’s parrot. Write a letter revealing all of the secrets you hear from your rowdy pirate owner.

You’re a pirate who is deserted on an island with a wrecked ship. Write a message that you’ll place in a bottle describing your location and, also,  begging for rescue.

Take it a step further and have students write their letters on fun vintage paper or soak their letters in coffee or tea to create a crinkly old message. Then, roll up the letter and slip it into an empty water bottle!

9. Treasure Scavenger Hunt

Hide some fun “loot” in your classroom and create a scavenger hunt and treasure map for your students to help them find the treasure. Learn all about pirates together and incorporate questions about pirate fun facts in the hunt! Students can work cooperatively in groups to find the “treasure” all while practicing reading by following directions and assessing their pirate knowledge. 

10. Pirate-Themed Classroom Celebration

Cap off your pirate-themed classroom adventure with a Pirate Day celebration. Students can come dressed as pirates, showcase their crafts, read their stories aloud, and enjoy pirate-themed snacks like golden-wrapped chocolates for treasure or peg-legged pretzel sticks. Put on a movie such as Muppet Treasure Island or Peter Pan and have a swash-buckling time!


By incorporating these exciting pirate-themed activities into your classroom, you’ll not only ignite your students’ enthusiasm for learning but also create unforgettable memories. So, set your course for adventure, and let the pirate fun infuse your classroom with a love for exploration, creativity, and knowledge!

Author of Blog