Kayaking with Kids – How to introduce little ones to the water


This is a Guest Post by James Horner.

Jim writes about his love for all things water at Dig and Flow where he covers all the gear that he loves along with some tips and tricks.

You can follow James on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Kayaking is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of a wide variety of age and experience.  Young children can learn on calm pond waters, college students can enjoy the rush of adrenaline while conquering river rapids, and multi-generational families can explore a connection of lakes together.  No matter your age, it is best to approach any water activity with respect and a special consideration for water safety.  When introducing young children to this activity keep in mind these tips to make sure everyone stays safe and has an enjoyable first time in a kayak.

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Safety first

Whether this is their first time getting near water, or the 10th time this summer at the lake, take the time to discuss water safety.  Practice putting on life jackets, making sure they feel comfortable keeping them on for long periods of time. If you have the kayak, place it in the yard and practice sitting in it, rocking it back and forth to mimic the motion of the water. If you have more than one child, determine who will go first and practice this at home so it isn’t a tear filled battle at the shore line.

1.) Keep the pace child-friendly

New activities can be stressful to prepare for, especially when they involve introducing children. Keeping a calm and positive attitude leading up to the activity will encourage good behaviour, more consistent listening, and happy smiles throughout.  Do your best to prep the necessary gear you need, including snacks, water, sunscreen, toddler friendly goggles, and towels ahead of time.

If possible have someone leave ahead of you and unload the kayaks at the destination, or come with to help you unload the kayak. If you are renting, give yourself plenty of time to fill out the necessary paperwork.  If you want every child on the kayak at the same time, make sure that you have one adult per child.  You may need to invite a few friends or relatives to help you depending on how many children you have.

kayaking with kids

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2.) Friendly water and beginner kayaks

Ponds and lakes are the easiest for a child to first experience time on a kayak.  The lack of current, and often gradual entry into the water allows for a pleasant and easy introduction into this water sport.  Whether or not you are an advanced water sports enthusiast, it is best to take is slow for younger learners.  A great beginners kayak will be stable, comfortable and allow room for young ones to sit on an adult’s lap to enjoy the adventure!

3.) Enjoy the little things

It’s ok if they want to dig in the sand and splash in the water.  Remember, we want them to be comfortable and calm near the water, not too stressed and nervous to try anything new. One adult can take the first child out while the rest play, but don’t become frustrated if everyone wants to take a dip in the cool water right away.  You may want to too!

Taking a little extra time to be safe, and enjoy the surf and sun will make trying this new activity much more enjoyable for all involved.  Introducing them to this water sport will open up many opportunities for discovery and adventure for the whole family.  So get out their, be safe and have fun!

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Have you taken the kids kayaking?

What are your tips for kayaking?


About James Horner

Hailing from Montana, Jim and his girlfriend Meredith pursue their passion for the outdoors by whitewater rafting, backpacking, hiking and more.
Jim writes about his love for all things water at Digandflow.com where he covers all the gear that he loves along with some tips and tricks.

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