How to Create a Pirate Treasure Hunt & More Fun Pirate Crafts and Activities

July 26th, 2011 by Dionna | 5 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Children, Eclectic Learning, Families, Create!, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, Preschoolers

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Kieran is once again into pirates. I decided that the July Families, Create! Swashbucklers theme was the perfect time to share our second annual Pirate Treasure Hunt.

Included below are instructions on how your little one can make his/her own Jolly Roger flag, links to tutorials for making a pirate eye patch and a simple pirate bandana (with my changes), and more links to pirate-related crafts and activities. There are also tips on how to make a pirate treasure map/letter look “authentically” weathered.

Finally, be sure to scroll down to the awesome video tutorial Tom created!

Here’s what we did:

The Treasure Map

No treasure hunt is complete without a map, and this year’s map had a couple of extra stops on it. Instead of simply leading him on a path around the yard like we did last year, we split the map into sections. At each section/stop of the map, Kieran found a piece of pirate treasure.

To get from section to section, we came up with simple sea-related riddles/rhymes. Each riddle was missing a word; Kieran had to complete the riddles to “unlock” the next section of map.1 In each section below, I’ve included the riddle that accompanied that particular treasure.

Here is the riddle that got Kieran started.

Ahoy, Matey, and yo ho ho!
There are places ye needs to go.
Avast ye – are ye ready for a swashbuckling adventure?
Complete the riddles to find me booty and me letter.

Each riddle is about the sea,
so put on your thinking cap.
For each riddle that you complete,
you’ll uncover a piece of me map!

Riddle #1

This creature of the sea has eight arms.
And squirting black ink is one of his charms.
If one grabbed hold of you, you’d kick up quite a fuss!
I’m not talking about a shark, this is an ________ (octopus).

Pirate Treasure Hunt 4

The Pirate Letter

In the tradition of our treasure hunt last year, we revived Cap’n Rainbow Beard. When Kieran solved the first riddle (about the octopus), we revealed the first part of the map. It showed a path leading to our mailbox, where he found the following letter and riddle #2:

2011-07-17 05

Hear me words, scurvy dog! This be Cap’n Rainbow Beard. You found me treasure last year, and there is more booty to be uncovered – if you can complete me riddles.

Each riddle will unlock part of me map. Follow the path on the map, “X” marks the spot of me buried treasure.

Good luck to ye, Lad.
~Cap’n R.B.

Tom used pen to create the map initially. To make our map and letter look “weathered,” we folded the papers and used a damp used coffee filter to darken them. We added color (with markers) after we weathered the map so that the colors would not run when we dampened the paper.

Riddle #2

He eats crustaceans called krill,
and he has a huge tail.
He’s the biggest animal in the ocean,
he is the ________ (blue whale).

The Jolly Roger Flag

When Kieran solved the second riddle (about the blue whale), we revealed the second part of the map. It showed a path leading to our back patio, where he made a Jolly Roger flag and found riddle #3.

To make the Jolly Roger flag, I used the other half of the black t-shirt that I cut up for the bandana (see link to tutorial below). I hemmed around the edges and hemmed one side so that there is an opening to put a dowel. Tom cut a skull and crossbones out of a piece of construction paper. We taped the outline of the skull and crossbones to the flag (along with cutouts for eyes and a mouth), and Kieran painted inside the outline. We left the flag to dry while we finished the rest of the treasure hunt.

Riddle #3

It may live in the sea, but it’s not a fish.
It looks like something on which you’d make a wish.
It has five arms, (but it can’t drive a car).
Beautiful and colorful, it is a ________ (sea star).

2011-07-17 02

The Pirate Eye Patch and Pirate Bandana

When Kieran solved the third riddle (about the sea star), we revealed the third part of the map. It showed a path leading to a tree near the front of our house, where he found his pirate eye patches and pirate bandana and found riddle #4:

Riddle #4

This predator can lose over 1,000 teeth in a lifetime;
maybe that’s because he eats whole sea lions.
You won’t find these guys in a lake or a park,
they swim in the ocean – they are ________ (great white sharks).

2011-07-17 03

The Pirate Treasure

When Kieran solved the fourth riddle (about the great white shark), we revealed the fourth part of the map. It showed a path leading to our square garden plot, where he found How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and found the final riddle, #5:

Riddle #5

Her babies drink mama’s milk, because they are mammals.
When the babies grow up, they eat fish by the mouthful.
She makes sounds like she talks, and she looks like she can grin.
She’s one of the smartest animals in the world, she is a ________ (dolphin).

When Kieran solved this riddle, he uncovered the last section of the map, which led him to the opposite corner of the fence and a wooden pirate ship and play set (much like this one by Imaginarium).

Overall, our treasure hunt was a smashing success! (I would, however, advise not doing an outdoor treasure hunt in the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing lately. It was uncomfortable to say the least.)

Tom put together a super cute video tutorial on our pirate adventure: Enjoy!

Ideas for Other Fun Pirate Crafts for You and Your Kids


Our Family Creates! from Code Name: Mama and Living Naturally With Children

Our theme for July’s Families, Create! Make and Play Carnival was “swashbucklers.” Check out what our participants created this month:

  • With cat-like tread, upon their way they steal, Zoie at TouchstoneZ‘s sons are inspired to perform a little dramatic piracy as captured in pictures.
  • Brittany at Mama’s Felt Cafe shares a tutorial for making an easy hand sewn felt pirate crown. No fancy stitching required!
  • Argh, mateys! Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written ye a tutorial to make easy pirate eye patches.
  • Lauren at Hobo Mama presents parrot play (sprinkled with humor) for your petite pirates.
  • A trip to a local botanical garden turned into a dinosaur safari at Living Peacefully with Children.
  • Shiver me timbers! If you have a pirate lover, check out “How to Make a Pirate Treasure Hunt Plus Other Fun Pirate Crafts and Activities” from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

    Be sure to join us for August’s carnival, our theme is “Weird and Wonderful.”

  1. We do a lot of reading on animals and oceans, so many of these ocean facts are very familiar to Kieran. If you do rhymes, be sure to make them match up to your own child’s skill level, so they will be fun to solve.

5 Responses to:
"How to Create a Pirate Treasure Hunt & More Fun Pirate Crafts and Activities"

  1. Gaby @ Tmuffin   tmuffindotcom

    This is adorable! I especially love “hear me words, scurvy dog!” That makes me chuckle. I can’t wait till Baby T is old enough to play more complex activities like this.

  2. violetsouffle   violetsouffle

    it says the video on youtube is private :(

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Oops! That’s because we uploaded the video days ago, and I was supposed to make it public this morning. It’s fixed now, ty for letting me know! :)

  3. Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe   mamasfeltcafe

    Aww, I love riddle number 5. It’s good to remind kids that other animals love mama’s milk too. Thank you for linking to my pirate crown tutorial!

  4. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ   TouchstoneZ

    Oooh! I think you may have just given me the inspiration for my second sons 3rd birthday in 3 weeks! He would love doing the hunt and the crafts. This is right up his alley. I’m sending this to my husband…

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