In this series of excerpts from my book, Cruising the Caribbean with Kids, I’ll share ideas for keeping sailing kids busy, happy, and tuned in to their surroundings. Part 3 on monitoring resources here!
A good way of keeping kids tuned in to the sailing life is to assign them the job of monitoring resources at your disposal. How much water do the tanks hold? What is the battery capacity on board? What about fuel?
A boat equipped with solar or wind power connected to a charge control unit has the makings of a thought-provoking lesson. Watch what happens when the sails shade the solar panels or when a burst of wind hits the wind genny. See (or even graph) how input varies as conditions change or at different times of day. We bought our son his own small solar panel with which to charge his electronic devices. There’s nothing like limiting a previously unlimited resource to teach a child the value of an amp! Our son learned how to position the panel and how to ration his power use so that his Kindle and MP3 player stayed charged. It’s a valuable life lesson in renewable energy sources and energy consumption, available for under $50. A side benefit we as parents appreciated was the natural cap this placed on the time he could spend on his devices. Once the power was out, he had to get out a book, build Lego, or just get creative with whatever he found on board.
For more ideas on fun and educational activities to do on board, check out Cruising the Caribbean with Kids, which sells for only $2.99 in ebook format!