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Wannabe Sailing Bum
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Sailed the boat from San Francisco to La Paz, Mexico last Fall. My wife and I are heading down in two weeks for an 8 day cruise with our 3 kids (8,6 and 2 1/2). We're planning a pretty simple cruise with lots of hook time so we can snorkel, kayak, fish and beach comb. Was hoping to hear some clever boating ideas for entertaining young children while away from civilization.

Btw, we have board games and books. They love the car games like "I Spy" and a number guessing game I cooked up. Any other ideas?
 

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When my stepkids were that age we involved them in all aspects of cruising (teaching opportunities!). They helped man the helm and were shown basic navigation techniques and read the chart (slightly older then). They helped plan and cook our meals and clean and maintain the boat. Lots of fishing!

I also had bags of simple arts and crafts projects (making pot holders, simple knitting, etc.) We dried crustacians in the sun and mounted starfish, crab legs and sea shells in our pilot house. And made gifts for family and friends back home.

I've also taped my reading books and my little ones could put their headphones on and follow along with the pictures in the book.

I purchased lots of disposable cameras and let them take whatever pics they wanted and helped them make scrapbooks after we got pictures developed (some very strange shots, I might add).

Hope your board games are the magnetic kind but keep them away from the compass :)
 

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We had our two children aboard with us from infancy to "empty nest" normally cruising the SE US & Bahamas. I had some advice that came to mind, but it seemed almost identical to the post by quidam1947. Our children did those same things as posted above. They enjoyed making creative lunch "snack trays". They would dress up and present short plays. My son enjoyed taking the helm,- especially when I taped a paper towel core tube to the bow pulpit that he could sight through to "shoot" any cloud that passed across our path. The disposable camera idea was good for us too. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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I asked my 8 year old daughter, and she said "drawing, making 3D things is fun (paper, scissors, tape), and playing Apples to Apples and Bananagrams." She also enjoys watching a movie on our laptop. Keeping her interested in steering the boat or working lines is somewhat low on her interest list...
 

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Old as Dirt!
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As a crumb cruncher our daughter enjoyed coloring books and puzzles. She also became our official Journalist and kept a record of our voyages complete with hand drawn pictures of events such as the time her mother rolled a kayak over in the surf at the anchorage in St. Pete; or, on another occasion, came flying out of a pretty rustic shower at Cabbage Key--in the buff--pursued by some very PO'd wasps; or, was attacked by "tarantulas" (sand crabs) that fell off low hanging tree branches as we made our way through the mangrove "Tunnel of Love" to the beach at Cayo Costa (never a dull moment!). While we were traveling, her mom used to read aloud to all of us in the cockpit, after dinner, for the "Story Hour", from Tom Sawyer, Black Beauty, Horatio Hornblower or other good story books and we all looked forward to that. We also worked on identifying stars--we each had our own--and kept track of where they rose every evening.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
 

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Drawing progressed to photographing (everything), fishing and heliping out with dinghy'ing to shore, steering the boat, exploring new isalands, treaure hunting (we never actually found any but fun to look) and dvd/comp games etc - keeping in contact with other cruising kids on the radio.

He used to email his teacher and classmates a few times a week - so not isolated at all. It was one of of best memories - how good was the lifestyle for the boy (age6 to age 11 when we finished)
 
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