* A 5-year old is NOT going to be interested in boat handling. It's a grown-up thing and they sense that. Maybe the 8-year old, but don't bet on it. It's not fun until they can really drive, perhaps about 12 (which is when they let them be safety patrols in school--there's a reason).
How different kids are. Last summer my 6yo took the helm for miles at a time and was very diligent about traffic, buoys, wind direction and etceteras. She is totally into charts and picks everything up fast. My 8yo just couldn't do it yet.
We always let the kids watch DVDs in the evening. Why not? They get plenty of sailing, swimming, hiking, and such the rest of the day. Plus we can do our own thing with friends that aren't kid oriented anyway.
We also try to stop for a treat like ice cream once a day. It's amazing how such a small thing can make a child's whole day.
But underway it's mostly sitting on the bow, sitting on the submerged rail, reading, playing games, and toys in the cockpit.