Little Hands Learning is a children’s activity box subscription service that supports your child’s learning and development through the magic of books. July’s Pirate-themed box contained ‘The Pirates are Coming’ written by John Condon and illustrated by Matt Hunt and four fantastic activities which kept Penny entertained and engaged for hours.
The book itself was a wonderful read. It’s a hilarious retelling of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ but with an unexpected twist. The illustrations are bright and the repetitive aspect of the book allows children to join in with the storytelling. The story really is the heart of the box and the activities (created by qualified and experienced primary school teachers) are designed to help children explore different aspects of the story through play whilst giving them the opportunity to get messy, creative, and imaginative.
July’s box included the following materials: detailed activity cards with easy-to-follow instructions, tips, keywords and interesting talking points; card, crayons, a teabag, ribbon, strips of coloured paper, mini pirate hat, glue, lolly sticks, playdough, play sand and origami paper.
Activity 1: Hunting for Treasure
This activity may seem very simple and even (to an adult’s eye) boring on the surface but, when you look closely at this sensory activity, there’s so much potential for role play, counting, sorting, and imaginative play. Each activity in your Little Hands Learning box can be adapted depending on your child’s age and stage of development. My youngest, Poppy (2) loved this activity because I hid lots of toy animals in the sand which she would ‘dig up’, identify them and make the corresponding noises. She also had fun pushing their feet into the sand to make shapes and patterns. Such a simple idea but so many layers of learning when you break it down. I hid buried ‘treasure’ in the sand for my oldest Penny (5). I used 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p coins. We identified the values of each coin, arranged them all by size, and sorted them into piles.
Activity 2: Pirate Boat
This activity involved designing a boat that floats using the materials provided. We used the lollypop sticks for the base of the raft, the origami paper to form the sail, and the playdough to stick the mast onto the base. Penny had to use her problem-solving skills to decide where the mask should go and used the leftover playdough to make a little pirate. There was lots of playdough left for Penny to play and mold with.
Activity 3: Treasure Map
I remember doing this kind of activity when I was young and I think I was more excited than Pen to get started! Penny designed her treasure map using the card and crayons provided, poured the warm water over the teabag, soaked her map, left it to dry, and then scrunched it up to make it look old and dirty. This simple activity inspired hours of imaginative play in the garden.
Activity 4: Two Pirates & a Parrot
Finally, this activity encourages up to go foraging for natural resources such as petals, sticks, and leaves. We re-read the story and recreated Tom and his parrot using toilet rolls, lolly sticks, the mini pirate hat provided, and our collection of twigs and leaves to make two adorable puppets and put on a show for her baby sister.