Tag Archives: Toys for toddlers on sailing boats

What we’re not taking

At Playgroup this week and one of the mum’s asked “what are you going to pack”, she then laughed and said, “it’s probably a case of you’re already packed!”

“True” I said. Our conversation then turned to how easy it is to accumulate stuff. Our conversation inspired me to undertake another round of taking things off Medina that we don’t or no longer need.

Medin'a half full cockpit

Medin’a half full cockpit

Over the past few weeks I have been decluttering our material possessions, either donating it to local charities or making use of the industrial sized rubbish bins at the marina.

But this week, there just seems to be more and more stuff coming on to Medina than coming off. The stuff coming onto Medina is important and we do need it, but finding spots for some of it has been a bit of a challenge and usually involves taking more stuff off.

I took a photo of our cockpit this morning because, well – its half full! Amongst our washing is, Medina’s headsail and stay sail (the sails on the front of Medina, which we had the UV material replaced), a danbuoy and life sling (both used in a person over board situation) and a new EPIRB. All essential items that will be put in their respective places over the coming days.

Orbit getting to know his new play-doh machine

Orbit getting to know his new play-doh machine

What you can’t see is the extra ‘little things’ I have been stockpiling, the nice to haves, the books, activities and toys, secret treats to have while we’re away from the luxury of being able to ‘just pop to the shops’. I justified their place on Medina because I have already taken of what feels like a large amount of books, activities, toys and stuff we no longer need or use.

Most liveaboards (that we know) have the rule, for every one thing that goes on the boat, one thing must come off. This is a great rule and a great way to manage the limited space available.

Another great rule is everything has a place – there is nothing more annoying/dangerous than having an item fly across the cabin and break because the boat has heeled over. It may sound a bit strange, but over the next few weeks, we will be spending quite a significant portion of our time living on some kind of an angle and constantly moving, even when at anchor.

Below decks when Medina is heeled over

So part of preparing Medina to go cruising means, finding a place for something or it gets off loaded. It is rather a cathartic process to get stuff off the boat, to create space, but sometimes the decision isn’t that easy.

I keep having the thought in my head, ‘but what if we need it?’ On the flip side, we aren’t going to be sailing across oceans or to countries where things can not be easily replaced.

We are only heading up the coast. It may only be a few days sail (if we go directly) but we’re going to take our time and take a few weeks – there are too many interesting places to go, people to see and adventures to be had.

So from that perspective, we really don’t need much at all!

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!

Who would have thought?

Last week we needed to replace our trusty little washing machine. Our little twin tub had served us well, doing at least 2 loads a day, 7 days a week. It survived for two and half years. Not a bad investment for just over $200!

Orbit at 7 months - inlet pipe for the washing machine (which was never used)

Orbit at 7 months – inlet pipe for the washing machine (which was never used)

Unfortunately it got to the stage where I could not fix it with my limited repairing skills, i.e. using a hammer, WD40, duct tape type and/or blu tack to repair.  And given the Skipper’s ever growing to do list, it was easier, faster and less stressful to just buy a new one.

As with most washing machines, there is a pipe to bring the water into the machine (inlet pipe) and a pipe for taking the water to go out (outlet pipe). Rather than using the inlet pipe, we use a hose directly from the water supply on the marina dock or a bucket filled from the galley sink when we are out and about. This left the inlet pipe destined for the rubbish bin, or so we thought …

When we got our first washing machine, Orbit was straight onto the inlet pipe. He would quite happily sit for half an hour chewing on the pipe, which was great because it allowed me to get one load of washing done. But alas, one day it must have been packed away ‘somewhere safe’ because I haven’t seen it in a very long time.

I am learning that it is very easy to lose things in boats. Which might sound strange because we have such a relatively small amount of space to put things. But on the flip side, we have lots of hidy holes to put things and hence lose them!

Orbit's new 'old toy'

Orbit’s new ‘old toy’

This time when we were unpacking the new machine, Orbit’s eye’s lit up when he saw the inlet pipe. I had forgotten that the original inlet pipe was one of his favourite toys when he was a baby. I am not sure if he remembered the pipe from when he was younger, if he just wanted to play with it because the Skipper and were (I am sure our ‘work’ equals his ‘playing’), or if he saw its potential.

Regardless of which it was, it the inlet pipe in back on the ‘favourite toys’ list. Orbit uses the inlet pipe in many different ways, a trumpet, a car bridge, a necklace (for him or me) or anything else his imagination allows it to be.

I am always amazed at how you can give toddlers or kids all the fancy toys in the world, but it’s the simple things, the things we adults don’t necessarily see as toys that are usually the favourites. So my lesson from this experience is, I am not going to worry to much about toys when we’re cruising. Between our three imaginations (the Skipper, Orbit and I) I’m sure we can turn most things into a ‘toy’ and a game out of nearly everything we do. I shall let you know how we go!

Cars, cars and more cars

Playing with cars on deck

Playing with cars on deck

Sorry for not posting last week. I had the flu and Orbit had a cold.  I think we set a record for going through a box(es) of tissues! 

One of things that enabled us to get through few days of not feeling well was Orbit’s love of cars. They are a close second to anything water related. And even better when they can be combined with water! 

Thank goodness toy cars are a boat friendly toy. They don’t take up much space, can be ‘driven’ on almost anything, are portable and some even float! 

I am forever finding toy cars stashed around the boat – tucked in between cushions, in the washing machine, in the freezer, on deck and in the cockpit. I try to consolidate the ones that are easy find at the end of each day. But alas, if I found all of them, there would be no surprises during the day!

The 'road' masking tape not the saloon table

The ‘road’ masking tape not the saloon table

Orbit has only lost one car into the water. Without trying to sound mean, I am glad it was a bit of a traumatic experience for him, as it was a good learning experience. He hasn’t lost another one since.

Orbit’s Aunt found some masking tape with a road printed on it, which has been fantastic for making roads pretty much anywhere on the Medina. We have a ‘road’ ‘permanently’ on the saloon table which keeps Orbit occupied. To keep things interesting the Skipper and I randomly change the design of the road so every now and then, Orbit gets a surprise when he pulls the table cloth off.

You should have seen Orbit’s face the first time he watched the Cars movie, he was enthralled by it. The movie was a godsend last week when we weren’t feeling well. We both snuggled up in the v-berth with our pillows and blankets and watched the movie (a few times) on the lap top. It was like being in our own (very small) movie theatre.