Toy Central: Pop Up Pirate!

Play is essential for your child’s development and we’ve heard it said before “play with your child” but what they don’t tell you is what games are good to play and how to play them. The what and how is what makes the difference to your child’s development so learning how to play well together and often is key!

So why take the time to play with your child? Well, research shows us play allows children to use their creativity as they develop their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills.  Phew! That’s a lot of areas play can influence. Play is also so important for healthy brain development. Most of all play is fun and simple joy that children love and by playing with your child,  you are giving them time when they feel special.

To help you out we’re going to answer the what and how for playing with your child by telling you about a game we like to use in the clinic and sharing our top three tips on how to play the game to encourage your child’s listening, talking and thinking skills.

This month the spotlight is on one of our absolute favourites: ‘Pop Up Pirate!’ by Tomy.

What’s it about?

Pop Up Pirate is a classic, fun game that welcomes barrels of laughter. The aim of the game is to press the pirate into the barrel and stick different swords in while you wait patiently for the pirate to pop up! This game will keep you and your child on the edge of your seat as nobody knows which sword will be the one to make the pirate pop!

Our top 3 tips

1. Practice target words with repetition

While you are taking turns, using the swords have your child practice speech sounds. Every time they practice a sound/target word they are given a sword to place into the barrel. This helps increase the number of repetitions and makes speech practice fun and enjoyable.

2. Work on conjunctions

Conjunctions such as ‘and’ ‘or’ and ‘because’ can be targeted when playing this game. When asking for a sword, ask your child whether they want the ‘blue OR the red’ sword or ‘I want the yellow AND green sword.’ This helps target your child’s understanding of these concepts as well as provides them with a functional way to practice using conjunctions when communicating.

3. Practice sequencing

Sequence what order you would like your child to pick up the coloured swords e.g. ‘before you pick up the red sword, give me the green sword.’ This helps to target following instructions and listening skills.


Remember learning through play is a fun way to expand your child’s development so keep it light and fun as you play together!


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