Take a Kid Kayaking
One of the most important things we can do for the sport of kayaking is pass it on to the next generation…
There are so many opportunities to introduce kids to kayaking. It can be your own kids, their friends, nieces and nephews, grandkids, a scouting or youth group, school group or neighborhood children.
It’s especially important in our digital age to get kids away from screens and imaginary worlds and into real-world experiences, physical activity and nature regularly. They’ll grow up more balanced, healthier and with a more positive outlook on life.
When kayaking with kids, here are some tips to make your trips successful:
Make it Fun!
After all, that’s why we kayak ourselves—it’s fun! It’s amazing how one bad experience can turn a kid off to an activity for years. The opposite is also true. Make it fun, and they’ll remember it and want to come back for more. Center your paddling experience around the ages and skill level of the children you take along.
Take along packable, ready-to-go snacks and water, especially if you plan to be out for a few hours. A small pack with fruit, individually wrapped bars, cut-up raw veggies, trail mix and other easy finger foods are ideal. You don’t want to have to cut your trip short because your 5-year old suddenly can’t think of anything but how hungry she is!
Keep it Short
The younger the children, the shorter the trip should be. You can always do another loop if they’re begging for more. As kids get older and more independent—especially paddling their own kayak—you can be out longer.
Know the Water You’re On
Keep the “lowest common denominator” for water conditions, especially when the kids are paddling on their own. A small, calm lake is best for first-timers, or a lazy river without water hazards. The more experienced and capable they become, the more challenging the conditions can be.
Watch the Weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading out so you know whether to bring rain gear, an extra layer of warmth, or extra sun protection.
Be sure each kid is wearing a size-appropriate life jacket (PFD—personal flotation device) and that it’s fastened securely. Bring sunscreen even for overcast days. Know the area you’ll be paddling, watch out for other boaters, a rocky shoreline, fast currents or other potential obstacles.
Be Sure They Learn How to Swim
Often the biggest reason kids (and adults) don’t want to kayak is because they’re afraid of the water. Teach your own kids how to swim early on, or get them in swimming lessons. When kids love the water, they’ll usually love everything associated with it—including paddling.
Aqua-Bound’s Sharkie Paddle for Kids
Aqua-Bound makes a special kayak paddle just for kids—the Sharkie. But just because it’s built for kids doesn’t mean it isn’t built up to Aqua-Bound’s standards. It’s tough enough to be handed down again and again.
The Sharkie’s fiberglass shaft is shorter in length for smaller paddlers, ovalized for a comfortable fit, with a snap-button ferrule. The blades are abXII fiberglass-reinforced nylon, just like our paddles for “big people.” It’s available in three different lengths. MSRP: $109.95.
Kayaking is a great way to get kids outside and active. When you bring kids kayaking, you’re introducing them to a lifetime sport—one that will add to their health and enjoyment. You’re also doing your part to keep kayaking alive and well for generations to come.