September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a grassroots holiday started among a small group of friends that hit the big time when columnist Dave Barry wrote about it because he thought it was cool. So each year an intrepid following of very silly people enjoy a day of talking like pirates, because we can! You should too!

From left: Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers and John “Day. Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur Photo by Karl Maasdam, Karl Maasdam Photography. Creators of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

This year, I decided to celebrate the holiday for the Warren County Library, where I’m Makerspace Coordinator. Since all programs are still virtual, due to COVID-19, I decided to create a virtual escape room with pirate trivia and lots of pirate slang for patrons. Originally I’d intended to host the event online via Zoom, but it was pretty clear that people didn’t want to spend their Saturday afternoon in front of a screen. (Blimey!)

So I decided to use this fantastic app, Flippity, to automate the escape room. Flippity takes Google Sheet templates and builds all manner of useful items for educators like games and puzzles. From an EdTech perspective, any of these would be fun activities for assessment or content exploration. They’re very easy to create and can be adapted as needed. Most importantly, they are not boring! Win! I will certainly be using these tools many times again.

That means ANYONE can take part in our escape room. This room is meant for folks ages 8 and up. It’s not really hard, but I think it’s fun. There are several puzzles like a word scramble, virtual memory, and a rebus, as well as an online jigsaw. Plus there is fun pirate trivia! I definitely think I’ll expand upon it for next year!

So if you want to check out my International Talk Like a Pirate Day Escape Room, visit the website I created for the event, or head straight to the escape room itself. You can also try the word scramble, jigsaw, or memory game as stand-alone activities.

Here are some of the resources I used for the escape room:

If you have a favorite pirate resource, definitely leave it in the comments. I’d love more links for next year!

The virtual treasure I sent as a prize to those that completed the challenge included free items like a sample “Talk Like a Pirate” MadLibs, a meme for creating your pirate name, a pirate activity book, and coloring pages (page 1 | page 2). I also created a cool set of pirate memory cards that you can print out and use for games. The artwork from these cards is from trading cards from the “Pirates of the Spanish Main” series (N19), issued ca. 1888 in a set of 50 cards to promote Allen & Ginter brand cigarettes. You can view the collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art online collection.

And so there we go, International Talk Like a Pirate Day celebrated virtually for 2020. This be Plunderin’ Crabcake sayin’ weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! Tis’ time to move along!

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