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  • Rachel Pessah, M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO

3 "Arrr"mazing Activities for TLAPD

Talk Like a Pirate Day is a great opportunity to "sneak" in speech and language goals into fun pirate themed activities. There is no better day than Pirate Day to work on the dreaded "r" sound! "R" is one of the hardest sounds to learn and one of the last sounds to develop. You can expect your child to make the /r/ sound by the age of 5 (McLeod & Crowe, 2018).

How to Teach the "r" Sound

All pirates need a good "Arrr!"

  • Click here for tips to teach the /r/ sound

  • Watch this video for even more great ideas:

Avast Ye! 3 Pirate-tastic Activities

1. Pop-up Pirate

If you are a speech-language pathologist, you KNOW Pop-up Pirate! I think I've played more games of pop-up pirate than any other game I own.

  • Single Words: You can repeat the same single words throughout the game. Possible words include: "in"," out," "pop," etc. After you have used the word in context several times, when it is your child's turn, wait 5 seconds and see if your child will use the same word.

  • /r/ sound: Putting the swords into the barrel can be a great motivator for speech homework! Practice the /r/ sound each time (you could pretend the pirate is saying "Arrrr" every time a sword goes in).

  • Following Directions: While putting the game away you can incorporate concepts such as some, all, numbers, and colours (e.g., "Pass me some of the swords." "Give me all of the red swords.").

  • Hornswaggle (pirate word for cheating): Try to take an extra turn and see if your child will react! This is sure to get a reaction and is great for building an interactron and using language.

2. Pretend Play/Treasure Hunt

Whether it is TLAPD or Monday, every day is a good day for a treasure hunt!

  • To make the activity extra fun, and to build pretend play skills, put on a pirate patch, dress up as a pirate, and search for treasure,

  • Your child can practice fine motor skills by drawing a map, decorating a flag, or writing clues for a treasure hunt (either you or your child could create the treasure hunt depending on their developmental stage)

  • Build a pretend pirate ship and talk about big versus small ships, what colour to paint the ship, what shapes to cut out (circles or squares for windows, triangles or rectangles for a flag, etc.,). Create a fun name for the ship and have your child guess how to spell the name.

  • Pretend you are sailing the sea looking for treasure. Talk about all of the tings you would see while at sea (dolphins, seagulls, etc.).

  • A treasure hunt can be the perfect time to include phonological awareness activities by including clues that look for something that starts with a certain sound or something that rhymes with another word.

  • You can get into character by using a pirate translator

3. "How to Be a Pirate" Book

This is a super cute book that can be incorporated into any Pirate Themed day. This book is great for learning about rhyming words. It also includes lots of new pirate vocabulary. Many of the words may be unfamiliar to your child which means they will have to practice sounding out the words.

A Pirate-Themed Day is sure to brighten your day, any day of the year!


McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100. Available from:

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