Today is “Talk Like a Pirate” Day and it’s perfect timing, as I am planning a  4 year old pirate themed birthday party for the weekend!  While you may THINK talking like a pirate means a a day solely focused on /r/ and /r/-themed activities, we are here to tell you otherwise! Pirates do many things besides saying “arrr, matey!”.  They go on treasure hunts, sail the deep seas, walk the plank, and barter (ok, fight, but we’re keeping it clean) with other pirates.  Since the sun is finally shining, these next few days are perfect to continue celebrating “talk like a pirate” day with a variety of fun speech and language activities!

  1. Go on a treasure hunt! – hide treasure (e.g., gold coins, tin foil balls, shiny rocks, etc) around the yard (remember? The sun is out…go outside!) and give your child directions to “find the treasure”. If they are of reading age, write out directions for a multi-step treasure hunt.
  2. Dig for treasure! – fill a tupperware/shoebox/under the bed box with sand, moon sand, dried pasta and add in the treasure. “Finding” the hidden items will be exciting! Work on action words such as: dig, scoop, dump, bury, hide, find.  Work on 3-word phrases such as: I see __; I found __; It’s a ___.  This activity also targets OT goals as the scooping and dumping works on wrist rotation for better self-feeding and cup drinking.
  3. Pretend to BE a pirate! – what better way to celebrate and work on speech and language than playing pirates. Set up a ship or an island with blankets, pillows, or tents. Create hats and swords with cardboard and tinfoil.  Work on play expansion by acting out your pirating adventures.
  4. Target lots of sounds! – When working on articulation goals, /r/ is the natural one for “talk like a pirate” day.  But those working on velar sounds (e.g., /k/) here are pirate-friendly words for you: hook, walk, plank, shook.  This game addresses them all: Who Shook the Hook?  If you’re working on /s/ words: sea, sail, see, sand.  Practice those words while playing pirates or digging for treasure.
  5. I Spy Pirates– use a telescope (or create one with crayons, markers, paper, and a paper towel tube) to spy on other pirates from your ship. Get creative with descriptive language!
  6. Reading about pirates – there are tons of books about pirates out there. Here are a few to look into:
    1. Where’s the PIrate?
    2. The Pirate Jamboree
    3. Pirates Love Underpants
    4. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pirate Map
    5. Captain Jack and the Pirates

Happy plundering!