Pirate Messages

Pirate Messages lesson plan

Yo ho-ho and a shiver me be, a pirate’s map that's clear to see? Not if you hide the directions to the treasure under Crayola® Erasable Twistables™!

  • 1.

    Ah, the pirate’s life, sailing the open seas, visiting the world’s sights, and collecting treasures! Actually, pirates were criminals who took what was not theirs and spread fear around the globe. Many rulers protected and encouraged pirates’ activities while asking for part of their booty. Some famous pirates are John Paul Jones, Jean Lafitte, and Sir Francis Drake.

  • 2.

    Maps were very valuable tools to pirates and sailors alike. Few pirates buried their treasure. Most spent it instead. Rock Braziliano was one pirate who did bury his treasure on a Caribbean island. Here’s one way to make a treasure map using your imagination.

  • 3.

    Picture a land where pirates would hide treasures. Would it be near water? Cover your art area with newspaper. Cover white paper with Crayola Washable Watercolors to make the paper look yellow with age. Air-dry the paper.

  • 4.

    With Crayola Washable Markers and Twistables, draw your treasure map. Show landmarks and details.

  • 5.

    In one corner, write the directions to find your treasure in marker. What measurements would pirates have used to help them find their treasure?

  • 6.

    Using Erasable Colored Pencils of the same colors, cover the details. Now only pirates who have Erasable Colored Pencils will be able to erase the colored pencils and see the map’s precise details.

  • 7.

    To make your map look well used, tear around the edges. Fold and refold it. Crumple it if you like!


  • Students research the actual history of pirates and pirating.
  • Students draw and write directions on an imaginary map in the historical style of a treasure map.


  • Work in small groups to make treasure maps of your school or playground. Hide some fun treasures such as notes or treats. Exchange maps to find the treasures.
  • In the past, boys as young as 12 went to serve their country’s navy. Learn more about what life at sea was really like.
  • Were there any woman pirates? Find out! What do you think were some reasons why women in history dressed in men’s clothing?
  • Pirating still happens today. Who are modern day pirates? Where are they usually found? Discuss the meaning of the word today.