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How to survive with kids on board!

Having children on board can be a daunting task, especially if, like me, you aren’t hugely keen on the rug rats! (Despite being a parent myself… I know it sounds bad.)

During my time on board yachts, there were always had nannies there to accompany the children. However, for the most part, their main aim was to sit around, drink carrot juice or coffee and pay the kids little to no attention which meant we would end up having to help keep them occupied.

This is a quick blog with a few ideas to keep the kids on board entertained. If nothing else, it will keep them from being under your feet and potentially earn brownie points with their parents! Win win!

Arts & crafts

This is an obvious one but with some careful thought can entertain for hours! First of all, you need some serious protective sheets and then clothing protection too. Give careful consideration to purchases and be mindful of where you are going to set up your crafts area.
Colouring books etc are all a given but a selection of different papers, cards, glues, pipe cleaners, pom poms, stickers, sparkly things (not glitter.. gets everywhere!) and then some great ideas for who can make the best mask etc will keep kids amused for a while. Maybe the kids can even decorate some candle holders that could be used at their dinner setting…

Board games

Another obvious one but I think children often forget (possibly because they don’t get to play often) how much fun card and board games are. My son and his friends (aged 8) love playing Uno (as do my adult friends). It’s quick easy, takes no space to store and is easy for the kids to learn.

Another staple is of course kids monopoly & Articulate for kids is a winner too!

Movie night

Dress up the sky lounge: cushions, throws, fairy lights and stick on a Disney movie! Get the stain safe movie snacks ready and sit back with the kids and relax!

Pizza night

Now this one all depends on how accommodating your Chef is, however, you could keep it simple by using ready made pizza bases. Gather in the galley, each child has a pizza base and then they simply make their own!

Children generally love ‘helping’ in the kitchen and this is a great excuse to get them involved.

Cup cakes & biscuits

If the Chef is particularly lovely, perhaps s/he could whip up a batch up cookies or cup cakes for the kids on board to decorate. Again requires protective clothing/covers etc but who’s going to turn down a cookie covered in a thick layer of sugary icing and a bunch of sugar balls!

Water fight

Who doesn’t love a water fight! Heavy duty water pistols are a must! Get the crew involved, buy some vests, make teams and get stuck in!


If your yacht has fishing equipment, get the kids involved in doing some late night fishing! They will find it extremely rewarding and exciting to actually catch something and then chuck it back in!

Girls beauty parlour

If you have a Spa on board and the adults aren’t using it, why not have a Spa day for the girls on board. Manicures, pedicures, blow dries! The girls will love being pampered and it doesn’t need to be over the top.


In my opinion, this is just as good for adults as it is kids! Getting the kids active is fantastic and its something the adults and crew can join in with.

Based in the water specifically you can have swimming races, raft races, inflatable races! It’s all great fun and at the end of the day, the kids will be exhausted!


Another fail-safe entertainment for children. To make it more interesting though, you could have a few pictures of figures you have pre-built and then each child gets a copy of the picture but no instructions. Set a time limit and see who comes closest to the original.

Treasure hunt

Requires a lot of organization but always a winner! Amazon is a great source of all things themed and with some imagination and creative heads on board a treasure hunt can be excellent fun and take up a few hours!!

Failing all of the above revert to Pinterest!! A great source of ideas on just about everything!

We’d love to hear or see some of your kids entertainment ideas!

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How to survive with kids on board!

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Caroline Clarke

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