Keep Your Kids Entertained on Board – Whatever the Weather!
Boating holidays are, as we all know, perfect breaks for all the family. However, when it’s rainy outside and your offspring are bouncing off the walls, it’s easy to run out of ideas to entertain them on board. We’ve asked a selection of Richardson’s staff (with kids!) how best to keep them from boredom during quieter moments of the trip, and here are a few of their suggestions…
If weather permits, moor up in a secluded spot, and arm yourselves with a notepad, bird watching book, and some binoculars. The Broads are home to some easy-to-miss birds, such as kingfishers, greylags, reed and sedge warblers, and coots, to name a few. If your children can manage to stay quiet (and still!) for a few minutes, their patience will be rewarded. However, sometimes it’s a bit easier to rely on a loaf of something stale to tide you over. Children will enjoy feeding the ducks, geese and swans, and you may find the assembled throng are rather appreciative as well. However, be warned – some Broads-dwellers have been known to hop onto your boat in order to get fed first, so be prepared for feathered visitors!
The Broads is a great place to learn how to fish, as there are so many species to look out for – roach, rudd, bream and pike can be spotted throughout the year. There are certain Broads where no fishing is permitted because of conservation, but these are always clearly signposted. Also, make sure you pick the right times to fish – there is a seasonal no-fish period every year from March 14th – June 16th. If your children are 12 years old or over, they must have a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence, but younger children can hone their skills with a watchful parent nearby! It goes without saying that all of you should we wearing your lifejackets at all times whilst fishing – don’t let your children remove them, even if they complain of being hot and bothered. Fishing (much like birdwatching) requires a great deal of patience, silence and soft-soles shoes, as well as warm, waterproof clothes.
Card and board games are always a good bet – make sure that you bring a selection with you. Before you leave, it’s worth packing a ‘Games Bag’ – take everything that you think you’ll need, as well as felt-tip pens, colouring in-books, toys, and story books. It’s always best to assume that the weather will be unpredictable, so never shy away from taking items that you know your kids will love, and prevent homesickness. However, it’s best to avoid anything that needs to be charged, or plugged in – children can bring iPods and hand-held games, but they should be warned that they’ll have to bring their own batteries, or use them sparingly. Don’t forget that most of our boats come with a DVD player, so you might want to bring a large selection of films!
If all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with a wholesome game of charades, or I-spy (hide and seek, as fun as it is, probably won’t work on board a boat). Another great game is trying to spot any Richardson’s boats that you see, then keeping a list of them. Maybe you can set your kids a competition at the start of the break, and ask them to jot down every Richardson’s vessel they pass? The person that spots the most boats during the break wins something small, such as a chocolate bar.