We’re going to make some sight word pirate ships, pop them on the ocean then try and sink our enemies! This is a fun way to practice sight words (or any words you’re working on), both reading and writing them. Plus kids get to practice reading numbers to 50 at the same time.
Scroll right down to the bottom of this post for the link to this activity – on the way you’ll find links to other pirate activities from some of your favourite early childhood bloggers!
This game is based on the old ‘Sink the Ship’ game, where you have to find the opponent’s ‘ships’ to sink them. I made a TREASURE HUNT VERSION 3 years ago and decided it was time for a makeover!
Instead of using coordinates to find the chosen squares I have individually numbered all the squares. This is for 3 reasons:
- Young children can find the concept of coordinates quite difficult which can distract rather than add to the game.
- It generally takes longer to find coordinates than a number which can take a child’s focus off the sight words so that they’re thinking more about the actual game board than the words.
- RESEARCH HAS SHOWN that dealing with the numbers in this format adds a side benefit of consolidating number sense.
Prepping the game
- Print off two game boards onto coloured cardstock.
- Laminate them so kids can write on them and erase at the end of each game.
- They need to be folded in half so that the ‘Enemy Pirate Ships’ section sits flat on the table and the ‘My Pirate Ships’ section points up in the air.
- Have some paper clips handy so when you’re ready to play the two boards can be placed back-to-back and held together with the clips.
- If you would like your kids to write their words on separate slips of paper (pirate ships) print off the final page and cut the strips into 3, 4 or 5 letter word strips. Using different coloured paper can brighten the game. You’ll need some blu-tac, too, if you’re doing it this way.
Playing Sight Word Pirate Ships
Each child decides on the sight (or other) words they want to use in the game. Each pair agree upon how many there will be.
The two children (or groups) might like to sit away from each other while they prepare their own board.
Using dry erase markers they write their chosen words on their ‘My Pirate Ships’ grid OR they write the words on the paper ships and then blu-tac them in place on the board.
Once both boards are ready, they are placed back to back and held in place with paper clips.
One side says a number from 1-50. The other child looks at their sight words grid. If that numbered space is empty they could say ‘aaarhh…no’ like a pirate, if there is a letter they need to say what the letter is. The other child crosses out that space on their ‘Enemy Pirate Ships’ grid so they remember it’s blank OR writes in the letter.
They take it in turns to ask about a new square, the goal being to uncover the words hiding there.
When a player discovers a whole word, they say the word and it means that ship has sunk! If using the paper ‘ships’ the player can remove the ‘sunk’ ship and pass it to the other player to keep track of how many ships they’ve sunk.
The winner is the player who sinks all the other player’s ships first!
A note with numbers
If your kids are still learning their numbers above ten it’s perfectly fine for them to say ‘3 and 2’ for 32 as it will help them understand tens and ones and how they fit together on a number line.
Want more pirate activities?
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Treasure Map Upper and Lowercase Matching Activity // I Can Teach My Child
Paper Bowl Pirate Craft // I Heart Crafty Things
Color by Code Addition Sheets // The STEM Laboratory
Pirate Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
Pirate Treasure Beginning Sounds Activity // Mom Inspired Life
Pirate Maths: Doubling Numbers // Adventures and Play
Treasure Chest Beginning Blends Match // The Letters of Literacy
Digging for Pirate Treasure Numbers // Play and Learn Every Day
Pirate Digraph Spin and Cover // Recipe for Teaching
Pirate Color by Sight Word Activity // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Glittering Pirate Treasure Slime // Schooling a Monkey
Pirate Treasure Chest Alphabet Play Dough Mats // Modern Preschool
I Spy ABC Treasure Map Writing Activity // Powerful Mothering
Pirate Dice Activities // Fairy Poppins
Pirate Sight Word Bingo // Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station
Pirate Treasure Greater Than Less Than Activity // Science Kiddo
Pirate Monkey Beginning Sounds Activity // Pages of Grace
Sink the Sight Word Pirate Ships // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Pirate Themed Number Puzzles // Sara J Creations
Story Time with Printable Pirate Math Activity // Homebound but Hopeful
Treasure Chest Math Facts Sort // The Kindergarten Connection
Editable Pirate Sight Word Game // Playdough to Plato
Click on the following highlighted link to download these SINK THE SIGHT WORD PIRATE SHIPS. They will immediately be sent to your downloads folder or other device equivalent.
Want more free sight word activities?
- Editable sight words when you only have a minute
- Community Helpers Little Readers: Part 1 and Part 2