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Maine Sail 05-31-2010 06:07 PM

Kids Boat Stuff For a 3 1/2 Year Old
 
Hi All,

Our daughter is coming up on 3 1/2 and we're looking for suggestions about good boat toys / ideas that can help keep her having a good time. She already loves the boat but at 3 1/2 the attention span is short and we can't physically fit the amount of toys her attention span seems to require. Last summer all the toys we brought were duds. She much preferred the companionway stairs, pots & pans, the main sheet, knots, the steering wheel etc..

Night time we have fairly well covered and she gets a couple of Dora episodes on TV which she really looks forward to and books. It's time when we are under sail for a while when she tends to get a little bored..

Whet we are looking for:

1- Ideas of toys/items etc. that will not take over the cabin or cockpit but that will be fun and keep her interest.

2- Ideas for fun boat games. We play treasure hunt & scavenger hunt where we look for certain items on an island we visit or boats, whales, seals buoys etc..

Any input from those who have been through 3 1/2 on a boat would be great!!

smackdaddy 05-31-2010 06:44 PM

We have 2 boys, one of whom was 4 when we started sailing (the other was 6). Whatever they bring to the boat has always been a disaster (drawing paper that flies all over the cabin when we heel, army guys that leave every imaginable tiny weapon in every conceivable crevice, games with small pieces, etc.). And we don't allow electronc games, etc. on the Smacktanic. So I've tried to be understanding.

However, after the last time I pulled a tiny bayonet out of my foot I drew the line. Now, they each get one sock and a rubber eraser. That's it. I just tell them to "harden up and use your imagination". Much better now.

I have no idea what to do for little girls.

T37Chef 05-31-2010 09:05 PM

I scooped up a bucket of minnows Saturday...good entertainment for about 2 hours, a large plastic storage container filled with water makes for a nice tub, good for 1-2 hours depending on the temp although not exactly small ;)

Other things we use...water guns, puzzles, swing hanging from the dodger.
No toys that need batteries or make noise allowed on the boat, but we do have a small DVD player for movies :)

Cruisingdad 06-01-2010 09:26 AM

Maine,

Mine were boys, but certinaly went throught that age. Here are some ideas for girls -

My pretty pony, the Littlest Pet Shop, Legos (we used Duplos at this age), took them fishing with a spider man rod (short attentino span until you catch one, but they can use the plug that comes with it to play around). She might also like Matchbox cars, etc? The girls that visited us did. Coloring and drawing was and is always a blast with our kids. They make washable markers. This of course requires attention though.

2 - Hungry Hungry Hippos, Candyland, Memory.

Those are my first thoughts.

Brian

JimHawkins 06-01-2010 09:45 AM

I was thinking of suggesting she play with the companionway stairs, pots & pans, the main sheet, knots, the steering wheel etc.. but I didn't know how that would go over.

My girls always wanted to do what the big people were doing. That might be why your daughter wants to play with all the sailing equipment. Give her a job, and give her lots of attention. Second choice would be to let her bring a friend, but at that age you'll probably need to bring the friend's parents too.

djodenda 06-01-2010 11:10 AM

As a former 4-year old sailor, I have fond memories of:

1) Playing in the V-Berth.. It's like a kid-sized bedroom! Falling asleep there is good, as well..

2) We used the sail bags and pretended they were pizzas. We had a pizzeria in the cabin

3) A small fishing net on a pole to scoop up interesting things that float by.

4) When I was about 5 or 6, I made my own sails. that is, I put a couple of sticks together and made a mast and boom. I made sails out of muslin and put an insignia on it (Shark #106) ... I put my sailing rig in the cam cleat on the aft cabin top, and trimmed my sails accordingly. My dad said it made the boat go faster. I'm sure it did. She may be a bit young to make her own miniature sailing rig, but I bet you could.

No surprise that over 40 years later I still have sailboats!

cormeum 06-01-2010 11:28 AM

Ours (7,5,3) took over the forward cabin (sort of a v-berth but they're singles). We just put together a sterilite box of assorted toys: Barbie, littlest petshop etc. and they play for quite a while. N.B. no teeny parts or you'll be finding them in the bilge for years afterwards. With the oldest being 7 they're just doing imaginativ play and are not too interested in formal games unless we're doing the game with them.

As much as I hate it, I may break down and get a portable DVD player- but not yet.

eherlihy 06-01-2010 11:56 AM

Nothing! It can't be done!!

3.5 year old girls don't belong on a boat, so I guess that you will have to sell her (the boat, not the daughter:D - although I can think of one member that might make an offer for your daughter:eek::rolleyes::eek: ).

You are in luck! I just happen to know someone looking for a boat. :D :D :D

Seriously, I agree with JimHawkins. She needs a small area of responsibility on board. Give her a job, and lavish praise on her for doing it well.

Here is one idea: have her plan what you will do when you go ashore (Jewell / Damariscove/Eagle Islands). Help her to understand that half the fun of sailing is planning what you are going to do.

Put her in charge of watching out for motorboats, Rocna Anchors, Ketches and Sloops. Give her a notebook, and have her keep a running tally.

Fitz87 06-01-2010 03:47 PM

I have boys but my youngest was about that age when we got our current boat. He had a bunch of small plastic animals and would play endless games trapping them with the gear hammock in the V berth. I also keep markers and a giant pad of paper in the nav-desk. They know it's there and usually go right for that now. Without a doubt though their favorite thing is to play in the companionway - climb - swing - fall - cry - repeat!

Stillraining 06-01-2010 04:01 PM

1) Something with lots of nobs and lights...that clicks , squeals and pops... the SSB/Ham radio comes to mind...:D
2) A brother/Sister...they click, pop, squeel and light up when their nobs are pulled too.


One of Martys ( Blt2ski ) crew members use to grab her sisters little feet and pull baby sister off the couch to see what kind of fuss she would make hitting the floor as a 2 1/2 year old....great fun!


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