Pretend play is powerful for kids. By using their imagination to play something like pretending to be pirates on a treasure hunt, kids get a chance to practice executive functioning skills when they’re planning out their play. They also learn how to solve problems and compromise.
Here are some materials you can have on hand to spark kids creativity for playing. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list, but just to get your creative juices flowing. Use what you have and see how your children play.
Eye patches (can be made from yarn or ribbon and felt)
Treasure map (kids can draw their own or you can use a pre-printed one)
Gold coins (cut out from stiff felt or wooden coins painted gold)
Pretend pirate hooks
Books about pirates and treasure hunting
How my kids played:
I made pirate eye patches, a couple of pirate hooks, and little gold coins.
My daughter saw the gold coins first and asked what they were. As soon as I told her, she asked to play treasure hunt. I showed her all the pirate eye patches and she asked for one…for me to wear.
They set up a treasure hunt with the gold coins. I made about 40, but she felt she needed more so she made some out of yellow construction paper. The kids had to negotiate where the treasure would be, and they decided to hide the treasure in one of our upstairs room. Then they made me a map on a sticky note, and a trail of doubloons that led to the treasure.