Pirate Telescope Spotting Game

For little explorers and pirates alike, the telescope is an essential play accessory. And kids certainly know how to convert a tube into a scope! For us it's a weekly occurrence that I toss a spent paper tube to my five-year-old son, who immediately puts it to his eye for spotting.

  1. Ages: 3 - 11

  2. 2+ hours

  3. Messy

  4. Grownup needed

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Materials you'll need

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    The no frills step up from the paper towel tube is to roll colored construction paper around the tube and tape on a cuff.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    To make a cone-shaped telescope, we tried layering up different-sized tubes and paper cups.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    We painted it brown to get that rustic look.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Now, with telescopes in hands and hats on heads, we're ready to play our pirate spotting game. This is a fun one for a pirate play date. Here's what we did:

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Start out with a painted scene on a big thick piece of paper or cardboard. In this case my son painted pirate ships and an island, with no help or hints from me! The point is to keep the scene fairly simple, because you'll be adding to it as you go along.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Done!

    Next, all the pirates scope the scene for a minute or two until they feel they've got it in their memory. Then a few chosen pirates get blindfolded. One pirate (or a parent) makes a small change to the scene. For example, the painter adds a new tree, a bird, or a bit of treasure. Next, the blindfolded pirates remove their blindfolds and use their telescopes to see how quickly they can spot what's different in the scene! If you don't want to bother with painting, you can play the game with objects or toys in your backyard or in a room on a rainy day. And of course, you can always bury and find hidden treasure!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

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