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Old 03-13-2011, 03:32 AM   #1
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Default Long Passage With - Lively - Kids

Hi,

The title says it all: while sailing with kids for weeks without seeing any land, how do you guys keep them - relatively - calm busy? Make sure they are safe without transforming the boat in a jail? How do you involve them, raise their curiosity, entertain them etc... this topic is for children between 2 to 10 in my mind.

Thanks

Frederic
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:08 AM   #2
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How many kids do you have aboard?

A couple others who have done it with small kids...

Rolland and Deb who did the NW Passage with two children aboard. Very inspiring. Their blog isn't up to date but still worth the read: blog can be found through this web link here

S/V Totem blog here

Dave and Jaja Martin who wrote Into The Light (book link here) about their travels with small children.

Fair winds,

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Old 03-13-2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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What I've observed of cruising children is that the most successful parents have established a routine and schedule. For example, "school" from 8 am to 11 am - or noon. Then the children can be engaged in other activities - learning a new skill, such as crocheting, knitting, drawing, net making, whatever. These should not be gender-centric. Boys and girls both will benefit from learning these same things, whether knitting or woodworking. And it's fun for kids to interact with each other, and help and teach one another.

Those games one played to keep kids busy on a long car ride can be modified for ocean travel - identify the bird (and you will be amazed at how very far from land you will see very small birds), the fish (one of our coolest experiences was the dolphin fish that swam under our boat for days, enjoying the shade the hull provided - it wasn't interested in any lure Peter dangled in front of it, it seemed to just want to make miles), the mammals - whales, porpoises, etc. Trained eyes can see a whale spout for a long distance, and then the kids are set on watching for the next one - or two, or whatever. So it's educational and fun for the adults as well. Having the reference books on board to identify and learn more about what they see is always engaging.

And just fun games.

I am an advocate of schedules and routine to teach children discipline and ensure that learning does not go by the wayside when cruising. And breaks from that routine and schedule when necessary - weather, parents' sanity, unusual events.

Part of that routine is requiring that PFDs be donned every time a child goes into the cockpit. Harness, too, offshore particularly.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #4
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What ever happened to the tried and true method of child care?

Hessian sacks and gaffer tape are not that difficult to store in the hold for those special occasions
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
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What ever happened to the tried and true method of child care?

Hessian sacks and gaffer tape are not that difficult to store in the hold for those special occasions
How about those other special occasions? 200 ft of painter with the uneducated in the dinghy - towed at 5 knots.
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:50 PM   #6
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How about those other special occasions? 200 ft of painter with the uneducated in the dinghy - towed at 5 knots.
During the late 1960's and early 1970's our boat was owned by a family with six children. In 1967, when they did the Transpac, the kids ranged in age from 20 down to 5 years old. The 5 year old was left at home with mom (the next-youngest was 7 as I recall) and a couple cousins (10 to 14 years old) joined the group with Dad. When they finished the race, Mom and the 5 year old flew to HI and the family cruised about the islands a bit and then sailed home together (1 month sail) to the San Francisco Bay. I am told, by the fellow who was 20 at the time, that they would habitually put the noisy little children in the dinghy and trail it behind the boat just as you suggest. It sounds like they usually had 11 people aboard the boat that summer including cousins--all but Mom, Dad and the three oldest were under 14. So, six kids 13 and under.
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:29 PM   #7
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It definitely takes a lot of planning. The routine is essential for sure. I like to think of times when they can read books related to ocean adventures. Also if you can find coloring pictures on the Internet that are related to boating even better. LOL. I also like to think of the big Popsicle stick that they can build things with. Crafts are great for entertaining kids. I like the books of Tintin. Try those out.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:33 AM   #8
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You´d be surprised what they can do with empty tin cans and some string! Add in a hammer for extra thrills!

They simply must get creative and inventive and read a lot, do their lessons, play an instrument and there is the old emergency standby GameBoy!

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Hi,

The title says it all: while sailing with kids for weeks without seeing any land, how do you guys keep them - relatively - calm busy? Make sure they are safe without transforming the boat in a jail? How do you involve them, raise their curiosity, entertain them etc... this topic is for children between 2 to 10 in my mind.

Thanks

Frederic
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