SavvyPicks: Ahoy Mateys! Pirates Ashore!

Amy Rees
August 7, 2008

Pirates are the dinosaurs of this preschool generation. (Just like pesto was the quiche of the '80s, for you When Harry Met Sally fans out there.)

Yes, the dinos are still as big as ever (literally if they weren't extinct as well as figuratively), but pirates are all the rage these days, it seems.

Pirates and princesses, those are the headlines for birthday parties and Halloween and every day in between. Sure, we're talking preschoolers here -- they are also crazy about ladybugs and the moon and trains and fairies and anything at all with wheels, but pirates really seem to spark something in these little imaginations.

Here are some of our favorites for your very own little swashbucklers!

The Night Pirates: Hooray! A pirate book with seafaring girls AND boys, and it's a sleepytime story to boot! When the den has been plundered and abandoned for a night's sleep below deck, break out this darling book. The pictures and text (complete with rhymes and wonderfully written questions that lead to the next page) are charmingly young, and the tale is pirate-y enough to delight but not so pirate-y as to seed nightmares in that sweet little mind. A lovely book to share together before you kiss your little one good night, right above the eyepatch.

Pirate Tattoos: Call us old-fashioned, but it still makes us double-take to see tattoos (of course temporary) on the soft little biceps of our preschoolers. But it is only one of the ways that our kids outpace us (don't get us started on how they know how to use our cell phones and our computers when we know they don't have their own), and at least these are temporary! The truth is that little ones love them. So, keep them under cover for picture day at school or major holidays, but oh what the delight on the face of your rugged pirate lover when these get broken out on any ol' Tuesday just for fun! 

Imagine You're a Pirate:  This is a perfect primer for pirate behavior. A script for the preschool pirate method actor, if you will. It doesn't mince words: pirates are robbers, let's remember, and they adhere to a code of not exactly being nice guys. But you can indulge a little raucous behavior when it's during pretend time, and perhaps it is handy to have a "walk the plank" threat ready if that pirate appears at the dinner table. For mastering being a little pirate, or for a parent who is trying to decode what a little pirate means by all the different names for his foam swords, this books is all you need. 

Fisher Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship:  This model ship, complete with figures, swords and other essential accoutrements, is a step up from the Little People version and yet more charmingly preschool-oriented than the movie themed (and more expensive) flotilla for the bigger kids. It is packed with action - lots of moving parts and action elements, all designed to spark your little swashbuckler's imagination. Do keep the small pieces out of the reach of the younger set, but there is plenty here to delight a whole cabin of preschoolers imagining their life on the open seas.

Alex Pirates of the Tub Bath Set:  For the pirate-in-training who isn't perhaps ready for all the small pieces of the pirate ship or the intricacies of a puzzle, this bathtime set is a true gem. Lots of pieces (good for sharing among sibling pirates), lots of fun. Soapy clean pirates - our favorite kind of all! 

Melissa and Doug Pirate's Bounty 100-Piece Floor Puzzle:  Being a pirate isn't all imagination play, of course. Pirates are tremendous problem-solvers, puzzlers of the first degree. Puzzles are a precursor to that essential spatial relations skill: treasure map reading. And your little sea captain will love this 100-piece floor puzzle with a classic pirate scene. It is challenging but captivating - come to think of it, just like being the parent of a pirate! 

Barefoot Book of Pirates:  This book is a true treasure trove of pirate tales. It is a good introduction to readaloud books, a segue to chapter books that rely on plot instead of pictures. So, yes, it is intended for older kiddos, but we've seen so many little ones listen in rapt attention to the pirate stories from around the globe (Morocco, Scotland, Japan are represented, plus much more) that we couldn't keep it from you. There is even a swashbuckling Pirate Grace for the little girl pirates out there. When the tattoos fade and the little pieces of the pirate ship have been squandered in trades and squabbles, this book will last. (Warning: Like all classic pirate tales, there is adventure and some scary stuff in these fables, but it is more dramatic than gory and we think you'll still love it.)

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    I second "How I Became A Pirate", by Long and Shannon - my son loves it. We changed the name of the little boy in the story to his name and he loves it!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    We like "How I Became A Pirate", by Long and Shannon

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    How can you forget everyone's favorite pirate, Captain Feathersword? Tons of silly pirate songs are in The Wiggles' discography.

    over a year ago


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