Tag Archives: Kayaking With Kids

Tips for Kayaking With Kids

By Brandon Rome

With a little thought and planning, kayaking with children is a great way to foster a love of nature and help them develop hand-eye coordination. With kids, it’s usually a good idea to choose a kid-friendly destination without a lot of boat traffic or strong currents. You may want to begin in small lakes nearby until they get a bit more experience. Here are some tips to help you plan a kayaking trip with your children, including advice about where you should go, what you should bring and when your kids are ready to paddle on their own.

What to Bring

The first thing you need to bring, of course, is your kayak! Most families can enjoy a day on the water with an inflatable kayak, which is easy to store in the trunk of the car and inflate when you get to the water. You’ll also need a paddle for everyone that will be actively involved. Look for child paddles, which are usually around 200 cm long with a narrow shaft that’s easier for small hands to hold. PFDs (personal floatation devices) are also necessary, so select models that are approved by the United States Coast Guard. You can find infant-sized PFDs, as well as those for children between 30 and 50 pounds and youths between 50 and 90 pounds. A word of advice here: if you plan to bring a baby, get them used to the PFD before your trip because they may refuse to wear it when you’re ready to hit the water.

Along with these basics, make sure you bring along plenty of snacks and food, a change of clothing and a first aid kit. Small kids will also likely appreciate their own camera to take pictures, binoculars to spot animals, a journal, books or even a fishing pole of their own if you plan to do some kayak fishing.

Choosing the Best Spot

When you’re enjoying paddle sports with your kids, try to choose areas that offer a lot of variety and great scenery to keep them engaged. You’ll also want to know the area well beforehand. If possible, research state parks in your area to find great kayaking areas that are kid-friendly and include a couple of stops for bathroom breaks. You’ll also need to think about the length of the trip, as younger kids won’t be up for a long 6-mile paddle. Keep in mind your child’s strength, coordination, age and swimming ability when you’re planning your trip to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.

When Can Your Kids Paddle?

Some kids can begin paddling their own kayak by 8 to 10 years of age, if they have the experience. You’ll still want to venture into safe areas until they gain more experience. Younger kids do well with inflatable kayaks, which are lightweight and a bit slower. For kids 10 and older, select a small kayak. Kids over the age of 14 can learn to paddle medium-sized inflatable kayaks. If your child is under 8, the middle of the kayak is the best place for them to sit with an adult. They won’t help to propel the boat, but they will learn how the kayak feels as it moves. By the age of 8, they can also begin riding in the bow of a double kayak to help you paddle.

Involve Your Kids in the Planning

Don’t forget to involve your children in the planning of the trip as well. If your kids have never been involved in paddle sports before, let them get in the kayak at home so they can get used to how it feels. They can also help you research the trip by looking through guidebooks, animal charts and pictures online.

Additional Tips for Kayaking with Kids

Be sure to give your kids lots of praise and don’t criticize their efforts unless it’s a matter of safety.

Make rules clear beforehand, including no standing or leaning in the kayak.

Go slowly and don’t get separated from the rest of your family.

Take plenty of breaks to enjoy the scenery and point out interesting things to your children.

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Years ago, a salesperson showed Kitt two boats that were within his limited budget. He ended up choosing the wrong one.

“I was furious,” Kitt says. “I had that boat for three months before I had to get rid of it and get one more appropriate for me. I was so mad at the guy that sold it to me that I opened kayak store in CNY.”

ROGER’S NEW PROJECT IS THE BUILDING OF A PYGMY MURRELET KAYAK FROM A KIT TO PUT TOGETHER.

Day 69 – 1 hour

I finally got the first coat of varnish on the hull thinned 25% with mineral spirts, per my painting expert. We will find out tomorrow how well that worked.

 first coat of varnish

Day 64-66 – Sept 25-29- Day 71-74 – 2 ½ more hours

I couldn’t do too much each day. Applied a coat of varnish each day after a little sanding. It looks pretty good although I wish I knew more about applying varnish. It is tough to get that smooth finish. The thigh pad assemblies are completed as much as I could without setting in the cockpit and finding their final position and the angles necessary for my legs.

I did find a good number of runs from the hull onto the deck. They are a real pain to sand out. I applied masking tape to the hull to try not to repeat the mistake. Hopefully I will have it water ready by next week.

Applied a coat of varnish each day after a little sandingApplied a coat of varnish each day after a little sanding

Day 75-76 – 3 more hours
I have put on the last coat of varnish, installed my deck cords and straps and I am 99.9% completed. All that is left is positioning the thigh braces and foam pads. This has been a unique project. I have learned so much about the process, much of it the hard way, and am looking forward to my next project. I know where I went wrong and the boat does have the scars to prove it. This weekend it meets the water and I am certain all will go well.

As for the amount of time required, the guidelines called for 80 hours. I have almost doubled that but I did install the sliding thigh braces, bulkheads and hatches and every deck related item available. That accounts for a good portion of the extra time. The other component that took much too much time was in trying correcting my error in allowing runs and drips of epoxy run all over the boat. What I have learned there is to cover my seams and wire holes on the outside of the hull with plastic tape and glue the seams from the inside where the runs don’t show.

I have put on the last coat of varnish, installed my deck cords and straps and I am 99.9% completed.

Project complete

I have cleaned out my garage and my car is home again. New Murrelet is happy on its rack and finally we made it to the water. I am really pleased initially how it handles. It has met all my expectations. This has been a great project. The only area which I am unhappy about is the adjustable thigh braces. They do not function well, which could be partially my problem on the fabrication of the slides. In any event, they are going to be located and epoxied into place (when I figure where they should be). Would I do it again? YES! This has been a great experience and the manufacturer has been very helpful. I would recommend their kits gladly.

New Murrelet is happy on its rack and finally we made it to the water.

I used my new kayak on our club’s weekly paddle for the first time Sunday. Almost 7 miles on the canal and I am very pleased. For a boat with no rudder or skeg, it tracked beautifully. Initial stability is good and secondary stability is great. Still having problems with the adjustable thigh braces but that can be fixed. Best of all, the only water in the boat was from our boots. I am very pleased.

I used my new kayak on our club’s weekly paddle for the first time Sunday.

What to Pack When Taking Your Kids Kayaking

Kayaking can be a wonderful way for the whole family to get out of the house, away from electronic devices and into the big outdoors, breathing in the fresh air while spending quality time together. Paddling across a smooth body of water and enjoying the day while getting in some exercise is one of those fun family activity holidays that are sure to build memories that will last a lifetime. Including kids of all ages in a kayaking adventure can be easy and stress-free with a little advance planning, ensuring your trip runs smoothly and is fun for everyone!

Safety First

To start, make sure you all are equipped with Personal Flotation Devices (life jackets) for each member that fit nice and snug. Wear them from day one and your kids will never question having to wear them again. If your life jacket does not come equipped with a whistle, purchase and attach to each jacket, instructing your kids that whistles are for emergencies only.

Keep Dry

Assume clothing will get wet at some point during your kayaking adventure, so wear items made from quick-drying fabric or alternatively, invest in dry tops, pants or wetsuits specifically made for water sports. Store your shore clothing in waterproof dry bags – these are also good for storing food as the odours are contained and you won’t risk attracting nosy bears or other wildlife.

Sunshine & Bugs

Protect your kids from mosquitos and sunburn by packing and applying bug spray and a high SPF sunblock. Another option is to outfit them in long-sleeved bug shirts that will do double duty. A wide-rimmed hat with chin strap is also ideal to protect kids from the heat of the sun. Pack some rainwear, a must for any family activity holidays, in the event the weather turns before heading out onto the water.

Accessories

Proper sunglasses are essential for eye health and comfort when the sun’s rays are reflecting off the surface of the water, so make certain each person has a pair (and wears them!). Bring along binoculars for the kids to use during your kayak expedition and ask them to share any wildlife sightings with the rest of the family. Give one child a compass and allow him or her to guide the kayak or group.

Keep Hunger at Bay

Packing a wide assortment of healthy snacks in a number of small plastic bags or waterproof containers will fare well and will keep kids young and old satisfied. Family activity holidays require easy-to-pack, healthy snacks such as fresh apple pieces and grapes, dried apricots and dates, and biscuits. Mixing in some healthy snacks that are higher in fat, such as cheese, pine nuts and macadamia nuts will keep your kids feeling satisfied longer. Take double the amount of snacks you think will be sufficient in order to ensure you have enough for the trip.

Capture the Moment

Lastly, don’t forget the camera! Ensure your special moments together are captured and protect your camera by using a waterproof camera pouch that does not need to be removed to use. Store in your dry bags for extra protection in between uses.

Kayaking with your kids can be the perfect family activity. Holidays spent together on the water will be sure to float your spirits as much as your kayakBusiness Management Articles, as you bring the family together to do something fun and active together. It will no doubt lay the foundation for future trips your children will be sure to look forward to.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard Edwards is the Managing Director of Summit & Blue, an adventure holiday company offering independently crafted family activity holidays to exciting destinations around the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, the USA and Canada. With unique itineraries and exciting activities like biking, hiking, white water rafting and canoeing, we create holidays for those looking for an experience a little more off the beaten track.

Kayaking Accessories

ROGER’S NEW PROJECT IS THE BUILDING OF A PYGMY MURRELET KAYAK FROM A KIT TO PUT TOGETHER.

Day 16 – 2 more hours

Finished the initial sanding tonight (I thought). After I got my leaf blower out and cleaned everything up, some more sanding will be required. I still have to fix those few seams that didn’t get enough epoxy to fill them anyways. SO, not remembering what the “Epoxy Manual” said about hot days (it was 96 here today), I mixed a small batch, filled my syringe, and proceeded to fill the few gaps I have left. About 1/3 of the syringe later, it was so hot I couldn’t hold it. I did get filled what I needed, I hope; but I think I will wait a few days till this heat wave is over. I removed the balance of the epoxy from the syringe with a screwdriver.

I also must acknowledge my photographer. She has threatened to quit if I don’t.

Photos by Anne S.

Finished the initial sanding tonight (I thought).

Day 17 – 1 more hour

Today I had to tackle a messy project. Both seams at the bow and stern need a fillet of epoxy, stiffened to the consistency of cake frosting. This allows the hull to be formed to the rounded shape at these joints without removing wood from the hull. The manual recommends that you fill the dental syringe and apply to both areas. The videos I have watched of this are tedious. It’s like squirting toothpaste out of an eye dropper. Since it is the consistency of cake frosting, I went to a kitchen supply center and bought a cake decorating nozzle. I cut it to produce the correct size fillet, attached it to a plastic bag filled with epoxy and applied. It worked great and quickly. Tomorrow when I start to shape it into the correct dimensions I will find out how well it worked.

Today I had to tackle a messy project.

Day 18 – 1.5 more hours

I sanded my fillets tonight and they came out pretty good. Did some more general sanding around the hull and my next step is the saturation coat of epoxy. This is a little scary with my experience level. Did I get the surface smooth enough? Will the small areas I haven’t completely filled with epoxy create serious air pockets? We will find out tomorrow. Anyway, I can’t put it off any longer. We will see….

I sanded my fillets tonight and they came out pretty good.

Day 19 – 1.5 more hours

Completed the saturation coat of epoxy and smoothed out all my bubbles. Now I wait until tomorrow and see the results. I really wish I knew what I was doing here. It didn’t come out exactly as I thought it would. Of course, I don’t know how it is supposed to come out in the first place. Don’t you just love to do something for the first time; especially when you just spent a whole bunch of money on it and really hope it works out right.

Completed the saturation coat of epoxy and smoothed out all my bubbles.

This Pygmy Murrelet Kayak is For Sale