International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated every September 19th. Like many themed holidays, this particular day has great potential for teen programming. Here are some ideas for things you can do with your teens on September 19th:
Themed Snacks: If you search for pirate-themed snacks on the internet, you will be inundated with a plethora of ideas. The teens at my library will be greeted with a bowl of cannon balls (grapes), fish bait (gummy worms), and fish and chips (goldfish and potato chips). This is a decent balance of not completely unhealthy snack foods that also avoids many of the possible allergy issues.
Icebreaker Activity: Have teens create their own Jolly Roger flag. This can be on fabric if you like, but can also be as simple as providing black construction paper and a supply of markers, glue sticks, scissors, and stickers. Teens could make a flag for their team, if you want them to compete in teams, or one just for themselves.
Pirate Jokes and Trivia:
What does a pirate use the library’s computer for?
To look up arrrticles, of course!
There are lists upon lists of these on the internet, and many of your teens will be able to make up their own variations, too, once they hear a few. Most pirate jokes are some variation on the sound “Arrr,” and if you look these up before the program you can separate out the library-friendly jokes from the ones you may choose not to tell the teens. The trivia is also a good way to get teens into a pirate-y mood or to choose which individual or group will go first in the next activity.
Project Walk the Plank: This is my take on Project Runway. The teens will be given a limited amount of craft supplies (yarn, construction paper, duct tape, scissors, markers) as well as black trash bags, and they will be creating Pirate Couture which they will then premier on our library runway. If you have particularly loquacious teens in your group, you could challenge them to emcee the runway event using pirate vocabulary.
Library Treasure Hunt: Take a typical library scavenger hunt and turn it into a treasure hunt! I have eight riddles, each of which leads to a particular book or location in our library. At each location I will place an envelope containing a piece of a treasure map. This piece will also have the next riddle printed on the back. The teens must solve the riddles and find all the map pieces, then put together the map and figure out where the treasure is. To do this, I made a parchment-y looking document in Microsoft Publisher and drew a rough map of our library on top. Then I placed an X where the treasure is and left another riddle that clues the teens into what they might be looking for.