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Old 02-19-2008
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toys to keep kids happy while sailing

This summer, I'm hoping I can get/keep my kids (8, 11 and 14) sailing with me. We'll mainly be daysailing and overnighting. I know they'll quickly miss their electronic lives while out, as well as the social scene. So, I've been thinking about what I might do to keep things interesting, and maybe even lively. Yup, I'll have them bring their friends along whenever they want to. And, we'll do enough fishing off the stern -- swimming as well. Gets me to wondering what toys other might use on board.

Some thoughts:
Hammock
Squirt guns/Water canon
snorking gear

Any other ideas?
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Old 02-19-2008
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Keep them busy with ship life.
Let them plot a course, read the charts, take the helm, raise the sails, etc, etc. I don't think that 8, 11, and 14 is too young. Its never too young to learn to sail.
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Old 02-19-2008
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There was another thread on this topic not too long ago, but it was geared a bit more toward younger kids. Still, it might be worth perusing.

I always go back to the importance of letting kids get off the boat to explore on their own, without destructive adult supervision. Sit-on-top kayaks are fun for all ages, and require no special skills. A rowing and sailing dinghy is especially entertaining and instructive.

On board, board games and card games can help pass the time on a rainy day. We listen to a lot of books on tape, as well as short stories by folks like Jay O'Callahan and Jim Weiss. Also, Prairie Home Companion on Saturday evenings at 6 pm always gets our kids into a stitch.

Kids always seem to like Hammocks, swings, and going aloft in the botswain's chair. If you have a symmetrical spinnaker, you can anchor from the stern and the kids can go spinnaker flying....
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My little girls, ages 6 and 9, love animals and really enjoy gambling, so when we go for a weekend sail we take along a couple of roosters.
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Old 02-19-2008
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Remote controlled boats, I have both a 'gemini' catamarn lookalike and a small power boat. Power to recharge the batteries might be problematic. The funnest thing I have is a flying boat (styrofoam). Again, battery recharge might be problematic - and gas powered might piss off the nearby boats.

Backward dinghy races (where the have to row the dinghy stern first) winner gets to pick the movie, handicap by age/gender as appropriate.

Swing the boom all the way out over the side, rig a fore and aft preventer to keep it there, then hang a swing on it.

Name that boat part contests.

Art supplies.

Get a sailable dinghy/kayak/sailboard - or make one with the 11 year old one winter.

Ask their/a local teacher how they keep kids occupied.
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Old 02-19-2008
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You're in the Great Lakes, so unfortunately you don't have tidal waters... kids love to explore the ever changing beaches. Getting them comfortable and competent in a dinghy, kayak etc is great entertainment for them as well as a release for the parents.

It's helpful too if they love to read... long passages and grey days can be spent reading a favourite (or a new) book.

Kites can be fun too, both on shore and off the boat in the right conditions.

Craft supplies that can be used to make "paper boats" and then hold races between the boat and the shore - then they have to row over to retrieve them.

A bucket with a see-through bottom (even a yogurt container modified with saran wrap and tape) to look below the surface.

It takes some thought, but keeping them amused and interested will keep them loving to cruise.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailhog View Post
My little girls, ages 6 and 9, love animals and really enjoy gambling, so when we go for a weekend sail we take along a couple of roosters.
So that's what the cockpit drains are for!
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The more they do on the boat, the more fun it will be for them. You will be surprised how quickly they get up to speed. My kids loved learning to tie different knots. We play a lot of cards, board games and backgammon. We also bring frisbees, footballs and baseballs for when we go ashore. Both kids also keep journals on the boat which they surprisingly use a fair amount, and is nice to look back on.
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Quote:
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...... Both kids also keep journals on the boat which they surprisingly use a fair amount, and is nice to look back on.
Good point there, but an observation I'd make on it is that it's the girls that do the journal thing.... our boys never got onto that.
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If you are anywhere near the dunes, or will be cruising where there are dunes, make a sandboard, basically think skateboard with straps that go over your feet and then slide down the dune, lots of fun to make and play with.

If you have a friend that is in the trucking business, get an old truck inter-tube, they're a heck of a lot of fun as a kid and store up pretty small, and usually are free, or close to it.

14 is when I learned how to windsurf, not cheap if you buy new, but maybe you can find used gear?

Remote control boats are always fun, but expensive, maybe have a "pond cruiser" building and sailing contest?
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