Thinking of kayaking with the whole family? Here are some tips to get you started on planning your first family kayaking adventure!
Kayaking is a great child friendly activity for kids of all ages, because it’s both easy ánd a lot of fun. It’s not at all an extreme sport, which makes it ideal for the whole family, small kids and parents (even grandparents!) included.
Teaching your kids to kayak can be a rewarding experience, but before strapping on your life vest, grabbing your paddles and heading out onto the water, have a read through these tips to help you and your kiddies get the most out of your first kayaking experience.
As with any water sport, safety should come first. Each kayaker should be outfitted with a certified life jacket that fits properly, with working buckles and clasps. Model the importance of safety by always wearing one yourself. If your life vest does not come equipped with a whistle, you may want to purchase one in case of emergency, especially if you are taking a family group out onto the water.
The Packing List
Assume that at some point everyone’s clothing will get wet! Make sure everyone is outfitted in clothes made of quick-drying fabric and water shoes, and have a dry change of clothes waiting back on land. You know the importance of having snacks available for any child friendly activity outdoors, so pack some favourites such as dried fruit, nuts, crackers and cheese to keep hunger at bay. Also, don’t forget a good sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat and bug spray to keep the kayaking experience as comfortable and safe as possible.
Begin on Land
When teaching kids a child friendly activity like kayaking, you may want to begin by simulating the kayaking experience on land first.
With life jackets on, have everyone practice sitting in the kayak. Let your children get a feel for the space they will be sitting in and where they should be placing their feet. If they are old enough to paddle, this is the time to teach them how to hold the paddles and do the proper front stroke motion, without having to keep balance in the water.
Little kids can sit in front of you in the kayak and hold the paddle as you guide its motion. For teens, a tandem kayak may be a better choice, allowing them to be a little more independent as they sit in the front and learn to paddle on their own. Practicing on land is going to be much easier than teaching skills out on the water.
The first time out on the water can be both exciting and maybe a little frightening! Spend the first several minutes letting your offspring adjust to being out on the water. Hold on to them if necessary and reinforce lessons learned on land. Encourage them to explore a little as they settle in.
Kayaking is truly an easy child friendly activity that is manageable and fun for all family members. A day out on the water will no doubt have your kids begging for more kayaking days - and leave you with kayaking partners for years to come!