Tag Archives: Activities for toddlers on sailing boats

The box that keeps on giving

The other week Orbit went shopping with the Skipper. It was the usual “boy’s shopping trip” to the chandlery. A chandlery is to a boat what a hardware store is to a house. They are a treasure trove of boat goodies with everything from anchors, navigational equipment, toilets and clothes through to safety equipment, and door handles!


While the Skipper and Orbit were out shopping, I managed get my head down for a nanna nap. I was woken by a not so little voice yelling, “mummy, mummy, pump, pump” then “up down, up down, up down” … You can imagine what my first thought was in my half asleep nanna nap haze.

Luckily my nanna nap haze lifted quickly, because the next thing Orbit was on the bed, brandishing a new pump for our toilet. I say luckily because in his excitement of trying to get the pump to me as quickly as possible, Orbit got caught in the bedding, tripped and swung the pump into the pillow where my head had just been peacefully resting!

How fortunate are we to have a child that gets excited about a new pump for the toilet! (Am having flash backs to last week’s post …). Why was Orbit so excited? Who knows?! But he is learning to use the toilet on Medina and the old pump was rather hard for him to use, the new one would make his life a lot easier.

What kept the excitement going (even before the Skipper had installed the pump) was converting the box the pump came in, from something pretty bland into into a car garage. I thought it was a great example of reusing before we recycled. The garage is a great addition to Orbit’s toy car paraphernalia, not much of which was originally designed for cars, but he doesn’t know that and I am not about to tell him.


“There has to be a car in here somewhere”

Another unexpected gift from the box that keeps on giving, is because its a lighter colour and a matt finish, its great for Orbit to draw on. Its slowly getting more an more colourful as the days go by.

Am not sure how long this box will last. I am quite conscious of having cardboard on Medina. You see, cardboard and boats aren’t really meant to go together. Insects can come onboard in cardboard or if an insect onboard finds cardboard, it is likely to convert it into its home and begin to breed. This is why we check any cardboard before we bring it on to Medina and keep an eye on it when its on board. Once we have finished with it (i.e. some form of craft activity), the cardboard is usually off to the recycling bin. So it maybe an interesting challenge to get the car garage to the recycling bin when it’s time to go!

A rainbow in the shower

You know that feeling when you have a toddler under your supervision, you know they’re somewhere in the boat/house/apartment but you can’t see them and its very very quiet … too quiet … During the week, I had one of those moments.

This is what I found –



My initial emotion was relief. I was relieved that Orbit was a. on the boat (the fear of him falling in the water never goes away); b. not doing something that could hurt him; c. not causing any damage; and d. not making a big mess to clean up.

IMG_4629The next emotion was delight. I was delighted that Orbit had found something constructive and creative to do.

I asked Orbit what he was drawing and he said a rainbow. We had seen a few rainbows over the previous few days and I was fastinated by his ability to transfer what he was seeing onto the walls of the shower.

Drawing rainbows in the shower has now become part of Orbit’s going to bed routine – dinner, potty, drawing rainbows, shower (washing off rainbows), clean teeth followed by play time with the Skipper and then bed.

Bath crayons are great (thanks Julie for suggesting them). They clean off really easily in the shower (a washer and water is all that is needed) and I think Orbit enjoys removing the pictures as much as drawing them. Am definitely going to be stocking up on bath crayons prior to going cruising!

Living above an aquarium

Bream hanging out under Medina

Bream hanging out under Medina

One of the advantages of living on a boat is being surrounded by wildlife. In our case they are usually of the feathered or scaled variety, with an occasional domestic hairy one stopping by to say hello with its human in tow.

At the moment we have a school of bream hanging out in our section of the marina. They are easiest to see in the mornings, so a new part of out daily routine is to give them a feed. It’s also easier to see the bream from the floating walkway that runs alongside Medina than on deck, so Orbit feeds them from there, rather than leaning over the safety rails.

With my confidence in Orbit increasing and risk of him falling in the water decreasing, I am becoming more comfortable doing activities together on the floating walkway next to Medina. Orbit doesn’t wear his harness anymore (when playing on the floating walkway beside Medina) because it was becoming to restrictive and dangerous. This doesn’t mean I leave him unsupervised, he’s always within and arms length or two, and never on his own.

He’s a pretty smart kid, but still prone to moments of silliness – which is when accidents tend to happen. So we only ‘play’ on the walkway when the moments of silliness are less likely to happen and if he start’s being silly we’re back on deck or below.

Feeding the bream

Feeding the bream

Luckily, one of Orbit’s less silly times coincides with when the its easiest to see the bream. So after our breakfast, we give the bream their breakfast. We’re working on tearing the left over bread into small pieces rather than throwing whole pieces into the water, but its a work in progress. The whole adventure only lasts five maybe ten minutes but the amazement and joy it brings both of us lasts a lot longer.

Orbit hasn’t put the connection of feeding the fish and eating fish together yet. Just as he hasn’t put together the connection of watching Banana in Pyjamas and eating bananas or reading about Super Chicken and eating chicken. I am sure we are going to be having that conversation one day, I can hear the question already, “mummy, am I eating my friends?” … maybe I can divert that question to the Skipper …

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.