A pirate ship is a sure way to encourage creative play with your kids. Make a detailed model from cardboard that is large enough for the children to play inside of. Ask an appliance store for an empty box. Hand out a few bandannas and eye patches and let them spend the day sailing the high seas for adventure.
You need a large box such as the one a refrigerator or other appliance came in. Tape the flaps closed. Cut off one of the long sides of the box with a box cutter. This will be the top of the boat where the kids sit. This is the shell of your pirate ship.
The ends of the ship need to come to a point. Measure the length of the front and back ends of the box. Cut out 6 triangles---all the same size---with sides the same length as your measurements. Tape the edges of 3 triangles together to make a three-sided pyramid. Repeat for the other triangles. Tape a pyramid to the front and back edge of the boat so it points upward. Tape brown construction paper or other cardboard scraps on the front of the pyramid to cover the space between its faces and the side of the box.
Make your sail. Cut a hole in a piece of foam the same width as the circumference of a wrapping paper tube. Set the tube into the hole and glue in place. Glue the foam to the bottom of the box in the center to erect the mast. Cut a slit 1 inch from the bottom and 1 inch from the top of a piece of white poster board. Slip the tube into the slits to make a flag. Draw a skull and crossbones on front. A crow's nest will top off the mast. Cut the top off a small square box or cut an oatmeal or other round container in half. Tape to the top of the mast.
Cut a strong wrapping paper tube in half. Mount in a piece of foam as you did the mast and glue the foam to the bottom of the ship near the front. Cut out a wheel shape from a piece of cardboard with your box cutter. Poke a hole in the center of the wheel and another hole near the top of the wrapping paper tube. Stick a metal brad through the wheel and tube. Open the brad arms inside the tube to secure the wheel. This allows the wheel to turn. Paint your ship and accessories to complete.
No pirate ship is complete without the proper equipment. Make a telescope with an empty paper towel tubes. Spray paint with gold paint. Place clear packing tape over each end to signify glass.
Make cannons for your ship with more paper towel tubes. Paint four tubes black. Cut two holes the same width as the tubes equally spaced on each side of the ship. Push the tubes into the holes and tape or glue in place. Paint ping-pong balls black for cannon balls. Set a ping-pong ball just inside the tube then flick with your finger to send it shooting out.