Kids and Kayaking

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Looking for some family fun on the water? Are the kids tired of doing the same old thing every summer? If so, take the kids out on a kayak and let them have a hands on adventure.

First and foremost make kayaking fun for the kids. Life is an adventure and you are giving the joy of their very own adventure. Tell them stories, tell them about history, tell them about the people before them that travelled downs these same rivers, just as they are doing. Tell them why they did it and where they were going. Bring history to life for them.

Now that the kids are excited about the trip its time for the practical matters. Every child (and adult) should be wearing a PFD every time they are in the kayak. Go to your local kayak dealers, outdoor specialty store and try different brands to see which is the best fit for your kids. Children’s safety, in and out of the kayak, should be your number one responsibility.

Next, comes the clothing. Hats, kids should have a hat with a brim that protect their eyes from the sun and glare, and from the spray from the water. Think like a fisherman as you want to protect their head, face and neck from the sun and water. Floppy hats with brims work well.

Clothing, think in layers. kids get uncomfortable when they are too hot, Thinks layers that can be added or removed as the weather on the water can quickly change. Think shorts and long pants, tee shirts and long sleeve shirts. Clothing should be brightly colored. Kids are always leaving stuff behind and camouflage will be hard to spot when leaving a campsite where as bright neon blue or lime green will quickly catch your eye. Also in case of trouble those colors are easy to spot by passersby. Rain weather gear should also be close at hand.

Sneakers, boots and sandals all have their pros and cons. One thing for sure if they get wet you want something that will quickly dry or have an alternative at hand.

Kids Stuff. What kid does not have “stuff”, their “stuff”, “stuff” that they just can’t live without. Let them bring some along but only what will fit in a box, ‘their box”. You should also have a box with treats, snacks and goodies that will serve not only to perk up energy levels but also will double as a reward for times when camping chores need to be finished. Also bring a few age appropriate books for the child. It gives them something extra to do and some time for themselves when everyone is tired.

Also give your child a paddle to use in the kayak. Even though they may not be strong enough to paddle distance, and you will be doing all the work, giving them a paddle makes them feel like they are indeed part of the adventure.

Finally, how long at a time on the water? For the first few times only short times to get them used to being confined in a kayak. As they get more comfortable increase the time to 3 to 5 hours. That is plenty of time and distance for young paddlers to enjoy the water and have real life adventures.

Kids and Kayaks? A wonderful experience for both parents and children. Time on the water is creating life time memories to cherish forever!


write by James Brown

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