Tag Archives: Activities for toddlers in marinas

MYO jigsaw puzzles

Painting the puzzle

Painting the puzzle

Regular readers would know that craft is one of our ‘go to’ activities on Medina. Craft allows both Orbit and I to feed our creative sides, develop our fine motor skills and is a great way to recycle a few things that we would otherwise throw in the rubbish/recycle bin.

I have found it easiest to try and keep most of our craft things in one box (or the messy things at least). By messy I mean things that are harder to clean up, like paint, glitter, goggly eyes etc – basically all the things that Orbit really likes to play with and the Skipper doesn’t want in the bilges. Things that don’t go in the craft box are larger items, like egg cartons, old magazines or boxes. I just ‘stash’ these around Medina where ever they will fit.

With the unpleasant weather this week, overcast and windy – low likelihood of muddy puddles, I turned to one of my guides of raising kids on sailing boats Kids in the Cockpit. One activity that Jill suggests is to make your own (MYO) jigsaw puzzles using the cardboard from boxes. Orbit enjoys doing puzzles, so out came the craft box.

After going through the cardboard options on Medina, I decided on the cardboard from one of the boxes that bulk baby wipes come in.  After cutting off the bits we could use, Orbit and I got into painting our designs and left them to dry. It was time for Orbit’s afternoon nap before they were dry, so while he was asleep, I drew some puzzle type shapes on to our designs and cut them out, ready for Orbit to ‘test’ when he woke up.

Putting our MYO puzzles together at a local cafe

Putting our MYO puzzles together at a local cafe

I learnt a few things while Orbit was sound asleep. Firstly, I am not very good at drawing puzzle pieces and stuffed up a few ‘trial’ jigsaw puzzles. Secondly, the thick cardboard from bulk baby wipe boxes is probably not the best for making puzzles as its too thick which means its really hard to cut.

But then I reminded myself that the whole point of the exercise was to have fun and to be creative. So, thirdly, there aren’t any rules when making jigsaw puzzles! So I ended up going with the flow of cutting where the cardboard ‘wanted to go’ and the result wasn’t to bad (for a first go).

When Orbit woke up he was more than happy to play with his new jigsaw puzzles and even wanted to take them to breakfast at a local cafe the next day! So we’ll definitely be doing MYO jigsaw puzzles again, but probably with a thinner type of cardboard next time.

A tale of two puddles

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Muddy puddles

This week was a tale of two puddles. With the rain came muddy puddles and with the low tide came sandy puddles.

Jumping in muddy puddles is such a simple but entertaining exercise for Orbit and we don’t even have to leave the marina! It’s a wonderful adventure searching out for clean puddles but also the best puddles. By clean puddles I mean those that are less likely to have any nasties in them (like run off from rubbish bins). The best puddles are those that are safely away from car parks and frequently used roads within the marina so Orbit can play freely, without me asking him to move because cars or trucks are coming past. But most importantly, they need mud – the higher potential for mud the better. As little boys know, the amount of fun is directly correlated how dirty one can get!

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Why I try to find ‘clean’ puddles

Each new puddle would start out with clear water and we would examine if there was anything interesting in it (like a leaf or a stick) before Orbit jumped in, adding to the number of mud splats on his face. By the time we got back to Medina, Orbit had very wet pants and socks and very muddy gumboots and rain coat and I had a collection of ‘interesting things’ from the puddles in my pockets. While I went about cleaning up the mud, there was one very happy little boy who fell asleep contented (if not exhausted) that afternoon.

At the moment I am trying to teach Orbit only to jump in puddles when he has his gumboots on. As we only have so much space on Medina, we are limited to the number of shoes we have, so I try to keep Orbit’s shoes clean and dry. As clean and dry as possible for a 2.5 year old that is!

A few days later Orbit and I were off to one of the local parks. After playing in the muddy puddles, he was determined to wear his gumboots, so off we went to the park gumboots on.

The park we went to has a playground on one side and a small beach on the other. It was low tide and there were ‘salt water’ puddles left on the exposed sand. Am not sure what causes these depressions, someone once told me it was from the stingrays resting on the sand at high tide – but who knows, please let me know if you do.

IMG_4373As Orbit walked down the beach, he started to get really excited started to yell “puddles, puddles!” and ran towards them. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to catch up because Orbit usually takes his shoes off before jumping in the water at the beach. But this time, after examining what was in the puddle and collecting the mangrove seeds, he jumped in – gumboots on!

Although Orbit was having trouble jumping in the puddles because his boots were sinking into the sand, he still persisted, running from one puddle to the next, each puddle getting a bit deeper the closer to the waterline he got. In one of the puddles, his gumboots finally filled up with saltwater and called me over to help him out of his predicament of being stuck in the puddle.

While I was trying to get his gum boots off, which can be quite tricky with wet sandy socks, I wondered why he still had his gumboots on. Then my words came back to me “only jump in puddles when you have your gum boots on”. Orbit was doing exactly what I had asked him to do!

Its only chalk dust

We’ve had some fantastic winter days this year and I have been thinking of some activities for Orbit to do while we are still in the marina, the sun is shining and its not too hot to be outside.

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Orbit’s chalk drawing

There are a number of activities we can do within the marina. We can go to the play area, visit our marina family, explore the gardens (i.e. look for lizards), roll down the grassy hill or watch the activity at the hard stand area (watching travel lift put boats in and out of the water is a particular favourite at the moment) to name a few.

But its always good to have a few extra activities up our sleeves – in case we don’t have these activities at our next marina.

Our plan is to cruise but we’ll be based in floating marina’s while the Skipper goes to work to top up our cruising kitty. As it will be Orbit and I on Medina by ourselves (while the Skipper is at work), we’ve chosen to be based in floating marinas because it makes life for me so much easier. The thought of getting myself and Orbit in and out of the tinnie with the groceries on my own is not something I really want to deal with now or in the next few years. No worries if the Skipper is with us, but not on my own, not until Orbit can drive the tinnie anyway.

Anyway, back to activities we can do in the marina … I have come up with a few and will post more in the coming weeks.

DSCN1828This week we tried drawing with chalk on the concrete walkway of the floating marina.

We checked with the marina manager and he said it was ok as long as Orbit was supervised, we don’t draw on the main walkways and to clean up afterwards, but then clarified that this shouldn’t be an issue, because “its just chalk dust”.

I also checked with our neighbours who we share a walkway with. They thought it was a great idea and said they looked forward to seeing some of Orbit’s art work.

I spoke with a few other families in the marina and one mum suggested I lay hoses down the side of the walkway to prevent the chalk rolling into the water. We only have one hose (that is handy) and thankfully our neighbours have ‘permanent fenders’ partly along their side of the walkway which are high enough to prevent the chalk from rolling in.

Orbit loved drawing with the chalk and was keen to have me draw as well. This triggered me to write the alphabet. Once Orbit had finished his drawing, he began to practice the alphabet and we tried to come up with words from what we could see, like B for boat, C for chalk, F for fish, W for water … not very creative I know!

We both enjoyed this activity, although, I think Orbit’s preferred part was washing the chalk off the walkway. It’s something we’ll definitly be doing again.