ARRR is for Reading: A Pirate Storytime

August is International Pirate Month, which made for a fun theme for us at storytime today.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Pirate Jack Gets Dressed by Nancy Raines Day and Allison Black

This colorful rhyming picture book follows Pirate Jack’s dressing routine, from his gray long johns to his silver hook, gold earrings, and pink socks. I asked who was wearing each color as we read about it, and the kids enjoyed showing off their own colorful clothes.

Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury

This one was a good fit for our little beach community, since it focuses on three boys building a galleon out of sand, and imagining a big sea adventure with pirates and a treasure (a table full of cupcakes and other goodies). In the end, the boys are captured by pirates, but luckily their captors turn out to be their own parents, who give them ice cream.

The Night Pirates by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright

I liked this one because the pirates are girls, although the plot revolves around a boy named Tom, who catches the pirates stealing the front of his house to disguise their ship. They allow him to join their crew, and together they scare a band of sleeping pirates away from their treasure, and return Tom and the front of his house safely back home. I modelled making “Shhh!” sounds as the pirates are sneaking around in the quiet night at the beginning, and the kids enjoyed joining in.

Songs:

If Your Clothes Have Any Red

This was a fun follow-up to Pirate Jack Gets Dressed. Sung to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It.

[C] If your clothes have any red, any [G7] red,

If your clothes have any red, any [C] red,

If your [F] clothes have any red,

Put your [C] finger on your head!

If your [G7] clothes have any red, any [C] red.

If your clothes have any blue…put your finger on your shoe…

If your clothes have any green…make believe you can’t be seen… (cover your eyes with your hands, and then say, “Peekaboo!”

If your clothes have any black…put your finger on your back…

When I Was One

One of my favorite action songs.

When I was one, I had some fun,
When I travelled out to sea. (move hand in a wavy motion)
I jumped aboard a pirate ship (jump)
And the captain said to me. (salute)

He said, Go this way! (lean right) 
That way! (lean left) 
Forward! (lean forward) 
Backward! (lean backward) 
When you travel out to sea!”

For the next verses, I asked the audience for words that rhymed with “two,” “three,” “four” and “five.” We sang “When I was two, I tied my shoe…” “When I was three, I climbed a tree…” “When I was four, I knocked on a door…” and “When I was five, I went for a drive…” It’s a great way to teach kids about rhyming, and model creating songs together, both of which are wonderful ways to encourage early literacy.

Silly Pirate Song by Jack Hartmann

This was a new song for me, but it ended up being a lot of fun. Here’s the YouTube video:

Once there was a pirate, who sang a pirate song.
Then interrupting the pirate, a surfer came along.

You’d hear…Yo, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee,
Hey dude, surfs up!
Yo, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee,
A pirate’s life for me!

Once there was a pirate who sang a pirate song
Then interrupting the pirate,

A big shark came along.
You’d hear…Yo, ho, ho ho, hee, hee, hee,
Chomp! chomp! Hey dude, surfs up!
Yo, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee
A pirate’s life for me!

Once there was a pirate who sang a pirate song
Then interrupting the pirate,

A helicopter came along.
You’d hear…Yo, ho, ho ho, hee, hee, hee,
Swoosh, Swoosh! Chomp! chomp! Hey dude, surfs up!
Yo, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee
A pirate’s life for me!

I asked the kids for other suggestions, so for the last two verses, we added a dinosaur and a kitten. Lots of fun!


Barges

I learned this song many years ago as a kid at Girl Scout Camp, where they had us melt birthday candles onto large pieces of bark to make little boats. We then sang the song as we floated them out on the lake, and made a wish. For the storytime, I showed the kids a picture of a barge before we sang it, and we handed out maracas so they could play along.

[C] Out of my window, [F] looking through the [G7] night,
I can [C] see the [F] barges [G7] flickering [C] light.
[C] Softly flows the [F] river to the [G7] sea
And the [C] barges [F] too go [G7] silent-[C]ly.

CHORUS:
[C] Barges, I would [F] like to go with [G7] you.
[C] I would like to [F] sail the [G7] ocean [C] blue.
[C] Barges, have you [F] treasures in your [G7] hold?
Do you [C] fight with [F] pirates [G7] brave and [C] bold?

[C] Out of my window, [F] looking through the [G7] night,
I can [C] see the [F] barges [G7] flickering [C] light.
[C] Carrying their [F] cargo out into the [G7] sea
How I wish that [C] someday [F] they’d [G7] take [C] me.

CHORUS

Stay & Play: Pirate Hats

The kids had the best time decorating these simple paper pirate hats. I printed the template from justfamilyfun.com, and used it to cut the hats out of black paper ahead of time. For the storytime, I put out the paper hats, along with strips of paper which they could attach to either side to make a band, gluesticks, colored feathers, stickers, and gem stickers. They needed a bit of help figuring out how to make the bands the right size to fit their heads, but they all looked adorable in their finished hats!

Happy International Pirate Month!

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