Kids Boat Stuff For a 3 1/2 Year Old - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 06-01-2010
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bring a friend

My crew consists of an almost 5 and almost 2 year old girls. The oldest has been sailing since 1 year old.

The "surprise bag" contains:

fun notebooks (shaped like a dog and a monkey) and crayons for coloring, the ~2 year old needs to be supervised or the cockpit turns purple.

books (board books for the little one, paper for the older)

"magic" magic markers, that only write on special coloring books - god only knows what chemical is in them, but they claim to be "non toxic" So far no ill effects on yacht or child.

And the big hit - glow stick jewelry for night time adventures (we haven't sailed at night, but have been on the boat for some fireworks).

As previously mentioned the "nautical toys" are fun - a sail tie, a short length of line, the boat cushions etc. The 2 year old loves to help steer the boat.

The boat toys are left on the boat - and are "new" every weekend - kind of like visiting a friend's house - all the different toys to play with.

Now that I've fooled you into thinking I'm Super Nanny - I'll let you in on a little secret. We never sail alone with the kids. My wife is still coming up to speed on sailing/boat handling, and is nervous if I were to go overboard, she wouldn't be able to handle the boat & the children. So, we bring along family and/or friends. An extra set of hands is a huge help to keep the kids entertained (and lets my wife relax and enjoy the boat). I usually hang with the kids, and the extra adult(s) crew while my wife skippers.

We also tend to keep the trips on the shorter side - so far only day sails generally only 1/2 day as we try to time the Merrimac River currents. Since we sail out of Newburyport, we usually experience "town" before or after - ice cream, the playground etc. We've been getting requests for a trip to the beach (we can dinghy out to Plum Island). This past weekend we went to the boat for a "picnic" -The 5 year old was as excited as dad to get a new grille for the boat this spring - we let her pick the menu - Burgers and "speckled" (sour cream & onion) chips. She's already requested the next meal - pizza. I guess I'll have to get the new propane regulator hooked up soon.

The ~2 year old screams "Boat, Daddy Boat" every time she sees one (on or off the water). The ~5 year old is really enjoying it this season. She's old enough now to play in the main saloon while under sail (we have her sit on the cabin sole so she doesn't take a spill if we hit a large wake.

As others have mentioned - keep the kids invovled in the planning process, what are we going to do when we get to the destination, what's on the menu etc.

You'll notice a big difference next season in how much more independent your daughter is. Just tough it out this season.

Last edited by hazmat17; 06-01-2010 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 06-01-2010
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My boat partner has 2 boys (14 and 7). When the younger boy was aboard he wanted to bring some toys along - transformers. Once on board the parents found that using our bucket with a lanyard on it they could bring bucket fulls of river water aboard and splash it out in the cockpit, creating a small wading pool/bathtub for the youngster that would quickly drain. Some things that do not seem like toys to us may provide some amusement for the youngsters. The trick is choosing which boat objects are really safe to be toys for youngsters.
It is good of you to take your children out sailing with you. I wish my boat partner's 14 y.o. would come out more but he wont come out without a friend his age along. You have heard the phrase: "Less is more" but sometimes with kids: "More is less" applies as two of the same age can occupy each other quite well. Short a play date? Bring one of your dogs along!
Have fun.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

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Old 06-02-2010
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We always keep a bunch of "dollar store specials" down at the boat for our daughter. Things like little rubber dinosaurs, plastic animals and my little pony, etc. Basically, small cheap toys that she can use as a group. Also, we keep paper and crayons. Our one rule is that the boat toys are not permitted to come home. This usually results in a bit of begging after a day of sailing, but it seems to make the toys more "special".
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Old 06-02-2010
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my wife reminds me that the surprise bag also contains sticker books (which we don't usually do at home) and toy binoculars.
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Old 06-02-2010
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We have two little toy boats with about 30 feet of string attached...let it out...pull it in...let it out...pull it in...good for about an hour of entertainment

Last edited by T37Chef; 06-02-2010 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 06-02-2010
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My granddaughter hasn't been on the boat this year (she lives 450 miles away) but last year we went out several times. We did some small things, rope, and toy boats etc. But most important, we made short sails, about 1˝ hours. The object is to have a positive experience so she wants to come back.

My best all time trick I am saving until she is about 5. We did this with my daughter and it remains one of her all time kid memories and she is 38. We had a 5˝ birthday party. We planned it, met all the family at a remote dock and she got presents and we had cake etc, My daughter still thinks it was her coolest birthday party ever.
Joe McCary,
Sailing on The Central Chesapeake Bay, West River, MD on my Catalina 27, Aelous II with my wife and friends.
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