• Imagining History

Design Your Own Pirate Flag - Trivia & Craft Activity for Kids

Updated: Nov 13


The Jolly Roger


Why Fly A Flag?


All ships display a flag (or an "ensign") to enable other ships to identify who they are, what country they are from or where they are sailing to. A pirate would use their flag to try to intimidate their enemies. After all, why bother fighting (at the risk of being injured or killed) when you can just scare your victims into surrendering and handing over their treasure without having to do anything at all. So they decorated their flags with skeletons and weapons to make them as terrifying as possible.


Different Pirate Flags

Blackbeard's Pirate Flag

The most well known pirate flag is called the Jolly Roger*. This is a black flag adorned with a skull and crossed bones. But not all pirates used this flag. Some pirates tricked their enemies by flying a friendly flag so they could sneak up on them.


Some of the most infamous pirate captains designed their own flags so they could be recognised across the seven seas. Blackbeard's flag showed a skeleton stabbing a heart with a spear to show his lack of mercy. Rackham's flag was similar to the Jolly Roger but with crossed cutlasses instead of crossed bones to show he was always in the mood to fight. Moody's flag was red with a winged hourglass indicating that it was only a matter of time before he closed in on his enemies.


Christopher Moody's Pirate Flag

Design Your Own Pirate Flag:


Design your own pirate flag to fly on your ship.


Remember to try to scare your enemies with your design. You could use intense colours like black and red, images to strike fear in your enemies such as weapons and skeletons or images showing how powerful you are such as crowns or muscles.


Or if you want to try something different, you could try to trick your enemies with a friendly looking flag.


Download a free pirate flag printable to create your design at Little Owl Resources.



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*Links to further reading from the Imagining History Blog.



Further Reading from the Imagining History Blog:

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