19 September 2006

Favorite pirate paraphernalia for kids

By now I'm sure you've heard (and heard, and heard) that today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Rather than bore you with my pathetic attempts at pirate-speak, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pirate-y stuff for kids.

Captain Bogg and Salty are Portland-bred and well loved by children and adults alike. Our friend likes Bedtime Stories for Pirates best, but their other albums, Pegleg Tango and Prelude to Mutiny, are sure to please as well.

This friendly picture book is perfect for younger kids who find pirates a wee bit creepy. There's nothing scary about Pirate Pete or his gold-hungry ways. If you're looking for a follow-up, check out Pirate Pete's Giant Adventure.

We got our son this Playmobil pirate ship when he was three, which, in retrospect, was too young. The detail is beautiful, but the parts are small and likely to be scattered by preschoolers -- at least they were in our house; I still come across a tiny plastic doubloon every now and then. I'd say this ship would be great for 6-8 year-olds, or younger if your kid is the meticulous type (they do exist).

Pictured here is the Blackbeard Pirate Ship, but there's also the Skull Pirate Ship and a ton of pirate accessories.

For younger ones, I like this Fisher Price Little People Pirate Ship (see the chubby little hammock?). A few weeks after my son had gotten frustrated with the Playmobil ship, he happened upon the Fisher Price model at a friend's house and played with it for hours.

Pirateology: A Pirate Hunter's Companion: This gorgeous "pirate's journal" with a spinning compass on the cover and intricate maps and illustrations inside will keep fact-hounds entranced. Our neighbor's son carries his book around with him -- it has become his greatest treasure. From the makers of Dragonology and Wizardology.

Caitlin mentioned Pirate Girl during our discussion of strong princess characters, and it just so happened I was upstairs reading that very book to my daughter at the time. Cornelia Funke's tale of Molly, a brave little girl who's unintimidated by her pirate captors, is funny and inspiring.

I always keep my eye on the Klutz display at our local children's bookstore (which, if you're ever in Portland, is A Children's Place; you could spend hours there). Klutz: How To Build Pirate Ships is ideal for detail-oriented builders. Especially nice: kids can use the laminated building cards to build any number of vessels, not just the one pictured in the directions.

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yarrrr! thar's some pirate booty fer yer pipsqueaks!! (had to be done)

What about the classic Pippi Longstockings books? Back when I was a kid, she was as close as we got to girl pirates. :) (Well, her Dad was a pirate, at least if you believed Pippi. And they did sail to an island in one of the books...)

One of our favorite picture books is How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long. Appropriate to any age.

Usborne books http://www.ubah.com/ make a great activity book called Pirate Things To Make and Do with directions, patterns and stickers to help with the process. The materials are for school aged children.

Two great sites for pirate paraphenalia (great for parties!)
http://www.deadmentellnotales.com
and
http://www.orientaltrading.com/ (search for pirate)

Piratology is at Costco right now for about $15 (way less than the Scholastic price). :)

They also have the Wizardology, Dragonology, and Egyptology books, same deal.

I love Pirate Girl! Such a great book! Since we had a Pirate Party in the not to distant past, here are some other recommendations:

This is an older-kids project, but you can download, print, and build a paper model of the Wicked Wench (the ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) here:

http://www.disneyexperience.com/wwench_model.html

I've never ordered from these guys, but I've thought about it a lot:

http://www.piratemod.com/

You can still find Pirate M&Ms some places:

http://www1.mms.com/us/potc2/

And last but not least, collectible card game fans should check out this:

http://www.wizkidsgames.com/pirates/

You actually get to build little plastic ships -- you punch the pieces out of the cards and assemble them yourself. So cool!

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