Fun Trips with Kids - Pirates of the Lake - Car Games

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Fun Trips with Kids:

 Pirates of 
Kentucky Lake
by Laurel Smith

A tale of our family's adventure
on the high seas.  ARRRH!

The crew:  Five adventurous moms (all former college roommates), and 9 swashbuckling children (ranging in age from 3 to 13).  Our fearless and fun loving leader was Captain Kathy (dentist by day, pirate when on vacation.)

The ship:  A pontoon boat from Big Bear Resort at Kentucky Lake.

The booty:  A real message in a bottle.  A treasure map.  A secret treasure chest!

This was our second adventure this summer on a lake where we rented a pontoon boat for the day and camped overnight at a family camping resort in the Land Between the Lakes area. 

Prior to this summer, it had been years since my college pals and I had gotten together. We all crammed into our quarters at the campground and stuffed the fridge with provisions.  It felt strangely normal and familiar to be living with these ladies again after all this time -- as if nothing had changed at all, except that now we all had little people following us around calling us "mommy".  No problem. We hardly noticed. In fact, we just answered to whatever kid was calling, even if it wasn't our own. 

On our first trip, we explored Lake Barkley. Our kids had never met, but they were thick as thieves in no time.  We spent the day on the lake and made pirate jokes when it was time to "Walk the plank!" or "Abandon ship!" (to go swimming).   For our second trip, we were exploring Kentucky Lake.  And this time we weren't just joking about pirates.  We were serious.

Little did our ghastly crew know what fun surprises we had in store for them. 

To begin our day at sea we brought a pirate flag with us and installed in on our ship.  Then we "ordered" everyone aboard, slathered them with sunscreen, and cast off for some adventure on the high seas. The kids were excited to have another day on the lake especially with a cool pirate flag that made our boat way better than anyone else's boat. The pirate flag alone would have made their whole day wonderful, but there was more to come. 

We made our way to deserted island (which we later discovered was actually just the tip of a funny shaped peninsula, but who cares, it was close enough and the kids didn't seem to notice).   We abandoned ship and dragged our big sub sandwiches ashore for lunch and a little exploring.  Meanwhile, our ship's First and Second Mates (my two older co-conspirator crew members), set off in different directions unnoticed by the other children to plant the needed items that we would later "find" with their help.

After lunch we suggested the kids go for a walk along the island beach. Amazingly they found a bottle with what appeared to be a message in it!  They came running down the beach with mouths agape to show us this amazing message in a bottle they'd found.  Lo and behold, it wasn't just a message inside -- it was a "REAL" TREASURE MAP!    See my instructions about how to make a Pirate Treasure Map like this one.

It seemed very detailed (and yet strangely generic). It showed a lake and islands and shore. It had a compass rose and dotted lines leading to a big red X.  (Conveniently, it could have been any island which was good because we happened to just choose any island for our picnic). 

The crew studied the map intensely. Eventually they came to the conclusion that THIS island is the island shown on the map! (How fortunate).   Luckily our First Mate knew how to read this map, and led the entire crew on a 15 minute hike winding all over the island and through the woods and eventually right to a log where they discovered a treasure chest! (Where he had conveniently hidden it when we first came ashore). 
Alongside the chest was an old pirate skull buried next to it in the leaves.  It must be all that's left of the original pirate who was left behind to guard the treasure. (Strangely, it resembled something from my Halloween props collection. Now how did that get there?).
The treasure chest was ceremoniously carried down to the beach where we could all open it together. First Mate did an excellent job of coordinating all of this so that the adults in our crew did not appear to have anything to do with this wonderful "discovery". 

Upon opening the treasure chest the kids, I mean the crew, went at it like a piñata had just burst.  It was loaded with pirate paraphernalia -- There were pirate bandanas for everyone (including the moms), eye patches, metallic skull rings, "gold" coins, and beaded necklaces.

The kids hoarded the gold coins like they were real Aztec gold.  We had to keep an eye on the younger toddlers in our group who liked to "steal" the coins from the stashes of the older crew members. Who knew the were such born pirates?!  Luckily there were enough for everyone to have a generous handful to treasure. 

We spent some time trying to spy on other ships on the lake and trying all different fashions with the pirate bandanas and rings.

After our wonderful surprises on Pirate Island, it was time for some keel hauling.  So, we spent a few hours throwing crew members overboard and dragging them behind the ship on a rope (OK, they got to sit in the Big Bertha tube which was tied to the rope). 

At the end of the day, we returned our boat and headed back to our campground quarters to grill burgers and sing a few rowdy rounds of A Pirate's Life for Me. 

A good time was had by all.  Yo Ho!

--Laurel (Road Trip Mom)

~ ..· ´¨¨))   -:¦:- 
        ¸.·´  .·´¨¨)) 
      ((¸¸.·´  ..·´   Road Trip Mom -:¦:- 
     -:¦:-    ((¸¸.·´* 

PS. If you don't have a ship, you can be pirates on the road!

Don't miss all the  FREE Printable Car Games at

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