Pirate Island Play Dough Storytelling Prompt!

Use black sparkly play dough to create a pirate island small world play scene, and use it as a springboard for creative story telling with kids! A wonderfully tactile, hands on and imaginative way to get children excited about early literacy play.
We made some black sparkly play dough using our super-quick no-cook recipe, that only takes 4 minutes. We added lots of silver glitter to make it sparkle, then rolled and formed it into a rounded island shape and placed it in the middle of a lovely blue ceramic dish, re[resenting the sea. You could simply use a shallow baking tray or chopping board, covered with blue paper instead.
Then we did a search for all our little Playmobil and other small world pirate toys and added them to the scene. I dug out the gold coins and gold bead garlands that we used in the Golden Cinnamon Sensory tub and added those to create the treasure, with a gorgeous little beaded treasure box we picked up at a souvenir shop on a holiday. We also found some acrylic craft gems to add to the booty, a flag from the top of our wooden pirate ship and some lovely natural shells and pebbles from our collection to represent a beach.

And that was their invitation to play, imagine and tell some pirate themed stories! They really enjoyed pushing the bead strings into the dough and out again to look at the pattern impression that they left behind. They used the pirates to explore the island, collect their treasures and bury it safe out of sight! Together we prompted some fun stories about who the pirates might be, gave them some funny names and imagined where they might have sailed from, why they were on the island and who they took the treasure from!

The next step for this play is to create some pirate themed blank books and encourage the children to do some drawings based on their play, accompanied by some emergent writing about the stories that they told. By acting out the stories first, using small world toys in a playful, creative way, children are much more invested in and excited by them and are more likely to want to complete the project as it seems much more real and fun for them!

Extend the play:

  • Add plain books with black covers for encouraging them to draw and write their stories after the play has finished.
  • Add a boat from junk materials and take the pirates on a journey.

What they are learning while they play:
sensory:  exploratory play using all the senses, hands on investigation of natural and man made materials
motor skills: squeezing, pushing, pinching, rolling etc to strengthen fine motor muscles,

creative:using one object to represent another during play, storytelling, role play, imaginative play
literacy: vocabulary development related to pirates, telling stories, remaining in character


Cakie: 4.5
Pop: 2.10
Bean: 11 mos


To see dozens of other Playful Literacy ideas click the image!


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2 comments to Pirate Island Play Dough Storytelling Prompt!