If you love kayaking and have little ones, it’s never too early to introduce them to your passion for kayaking. With careful planning, supervision, and adherence to our guidelines, your love for kayaking may very likely pass on to your kids.
Before we get into specifics, let’s talk about how young you can introduce your children to kayaking. In the early infant and toddlers years, just having your child interact with the kayak and paddles while safely on land may be sufficient. As they get older, are walking, and can confidently grasp and hold a paddle, this is the time where the real lessons begin.
Before either you and your child step into a kayak, be sure to lay out all rules and safety guidelines. This includes knowing how to put on and properly wear safety gear like life vests, sunscreen and water shoes. Additionally, you should go over water safety with your child. This includes what to do in the unlikely event that your kayak should capsize – a very scary moment for a child who has barely set foot in the water. As always, lead by example by putting safety first.
Start on Land
Before getting out on the water, introduce your child to your kayak while safe and sound in your backyard. Let your child sit with you in the kayak, getting comfortable with the seating and also with the paddle. Here you can teach basic safety rules such as remaining seated while in the kayak.
Build Kayak Confidence While in Calm Waters
When you feel your child is ready, have them sit with you in your kayak as you gently paddle through very calm waters. Also, don’t plan on a long voyage – a small, quiet and safe area of a lake should do. This is where your child can get comfortable with the experience. From here, teach your child how to do the forward stroke. Eventually, when the safety rules and techniques become second nature, your child can then graduate to their own kayak. At this time, it’s best to stick to the same calm waters so they can further develop their paddling skills.
Kayaks for You and Your Kids
Whether you’re paddling with your child as a passenger or you’re ready for your child to paddle their own kayak with your supervision, here are our recommendations for kid-friendly kayaks:
Pro 2 Tandem (paddling for two)
3.4 (great for kids)
Mini-X (for beginning and intermediate paddlers)
X-13 (includes Gator Hatch)
Stealth-14 (includes Gator Hatch, great for fishing trips with the kids)