Years ago, my Mother's Intuition told me to hold off on the whole world of piracy, at least until the topic was introduced in American history. Cautious mother that I am, it all just seemed a little . . . unwholesome.
As my son approached nine years of age, I examined all of the catalogs that came in the mail for pirate gear. I watched, I waited, then this summer we took the plunge!
Current Read: Swallows & Amazons. The first few chapters were tedious to read aloud, but now we are fully engaged in the adventures of the Walker children as they camp on Wild Cat island by themselves equipped with matches and knives, and no life jackets. So far this is a family-friendly wholesome story. As I read, I try not to feel too guilty that my children's lives are so boring and unadventurous in comparison. This weekend we pitched the tent in the back yard and hope that with a little imagination backyard camping will suffice.
Field Trip: The Real Pirates exhibit at the MN Science Museum was pricey but fun. We saved a little loot by limiting the tour to one parent (me) and the oldest three kids.
The real life story of the Whydah put the glorified practice of piracy into perspective for my crew. Basically, a man who wanted to win the hand of a pretty girl decided to set sail and steal his fortune instead of make one by honest means. Why not? A pirate ship offered unlimited rum, democratic articles, egalatarian division of labor, and the hope of a fifty pound bag of "pieces of eight" if you could avoid being shipwrecked or caught, hung, and displayed in a gibbet for two years or until your flesh rotted off. Worth the risk?
Road Trip audio book: Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. At the Real Pirate exhibit we learned that this popular novel is partially to blame for the myriad of pirate myths. Treasure chests were not buried and enemies were not made to walk the a plank - unwanted men were simply thrown overboard. But the story was entertaining all the same, especially for my husband and son. I still can't believe he let them listen to a story so full of violence and alcohol, but the CD was paused frequently for plenty of family discussion and parental guidance. But, still, they are likely to belt out "Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--...Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" in the middle of the grocery store.
Movies: We are sticking to the interactive Playmobile version for now. No Pirates of the Carribean yet, but we have watched Pirates of Penzance and I am looking at the Gene Kelly/Judy Garland DVD of The Pirate.
Birthday party theme: With a little help from google I found 15 Unique Pirate Party Games and pretty much every one we attempted was a hit with our crew of party guests. (I don't want to post pics of other kids without permission - I can only find this one)
Black water balloons make great cannonballs, the obstacle course was fun and easy to set up, a treasure hunt is a must, and Capture the Flag was a huge hit. Pirate Booty and Goldfish were perfect to serve for snacks. The Target party supply aisle had a great selection of pirate hats, tablewear, and party favors.
Birthday Gifts: My little seadog is still enjoying his pirate gear:
Pirate Dress-Up from Nova Naturals
Picture Books: The only book I bought at the museum gift shop was this DK sticker book. I wrote down the titles of many more, intending to check them out of the library, but lost the list! There are plenty here.
Time to get some grub for my buccaneers!