Pop Up Pirate Game

by Kathryn

The Pop up Pirate Game is so simple to play that even the littlest kids can join in.It works well as a motivator in Speech Therapy and for other homework tasks.

Number of Players: 1 - 4

Ages: 3+

Target: Great for teaching turn taking skills, developing attention and for use as a reinforcer or motivator for articulation and speech drills.

The Pop up Pirate game from Tomy is a simple concept and design and is another popular children's game that has been around for years.

The box comes with a “wooden” barrel, a pirate face complete with eye patch, and colored swords in 4 primary colors. There is also a blue plastic base that can be decorated with stickers but in most sets I have seen, this part is not needed and ends up getting lost from the rest of the game anyway.

The game play is simple. You push the pirate down into the spring loaded barrel and the kids take turns to push the plastic swords into the slots in the sides of the barrel until the pirate “pops” out.

The mechanism is set so you never know how many turns it will take before he jumps right out so the element of surprise and anticipation is always there.

The game is sturdy enough that it has been around in the Speech Therapy closet for years and is still going strong but a few of the swords have gone missing over the years. Sometimes the little kids struggle to push the sword in hard enough and when that happens you can go right through the game without the pirate popping up! I always give the first few an extra push in just to be sure.

It is a useful game when you have a mixed age group as the winner is determined by chance so you don't need to worry about the different skill levels involved. I find that most kids think that they have won when the pirate pops up rather than this being something to avoid so you might want to switch around the rules of the game from the start so you don't get arguments with older kids who know how it really works!

Unlike many popular games, there is really only one version of this classic. I have never seen a deluxe version or even a travel game. But since it is hardy and stands up to abuse, works well for years and is fairly compact and portable, I guess one version was all they ever needed to produce!

Using the Pop Up Pirates Game in Speech Therapy

Taking Turns

This needs little explanation! Some children need help to take turns as a precursor to developing conversational turn taking and for others it is helpful to get them to increase their attention and ability to wait through game playing.

Either way, Pop up Pirate is a fun way to do this as each turn is short meaning that turns are not slow to come around.

I personally wouldn't play this with any more than 4 kids and it really works best with two.

Articulation and Speech Drills

Print off a set of pictures for the speech sound you are working on and cut them up to make game cards. Each time your child makes a successful attempt at their target sound they get to put in one of the swords on the pirate. The more they get right , the quicker he will pop up.

Almost every Speech and Language Therapist I know has used this game as a reinforcer or motivator at some point. It really is a classic game and well worth keeping at home to liven up homework time.

Now you know all there is to know about the game – you are ready to play. Have fun!
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Top Talking Tips...

Sing Nursery Rhymes and Action Songs

Traditional songs and rhymes have hand actions that let your child join in and take a turn, even before they can sing the words.

This helps to work on listening, attention, imitation and turntaking, all important skills for Speech and Language development!