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Want to try something new with your kid? Try having a kayak for parent and child activity. Kayaking together is a great way to bond and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a great way to exercise and connect with your child. But trying something new can be scary for you and your child. This article will help you maximize your kid-friendly kayaking trip. We’re with you from planning to arrival. We’re kayaking—wear your PFDs and prepare your paddles.



Kayak for Parent and Child Adventure



Many families enjoy a kayak for parent and child trips. This statement is correct, as various individuals believe kayaking is entertaining. The amount of exercise, enjoyment, and relaxation one can experience will hook anyone. Since kayaking is risky, having children complicates it. This article talks about what I did to make sure my family was safe and had a good time kayaking. My advice makes kayaking a fun and stress-free activity for the whole family. You must learn to kayak with kids, get kayaks designed for children, and even kayak with toddlers.



Kayak for Parent and Child: Tandem Kayak with Kids



Enjoyable and only mildly challenging, kayaking is a great way to spend a day. Kayaking gets more accessible and more fun the more you do it. In the beginning, some children may feel apprehensive about doing it. Still, others may see it as an exciting pursuit. But as time goes on, kids, in general, find it enjoyable.



There are a lot of details to take care of before taking the family out. After all, it would be best never to leave a child alone in a kayak. Tandem kayaking with kids should be the only way option when it comes to boat trips with children. As such, planning is vital.


Bonus Tip: Adult-To-Child Ratio



Kayaking, especially with children, needs to have more adults than children. Parents should be able to handle up to two children during a journey. Precaution is essential since mishaps are unpredictable and happen fast. Still, people might assure you that a one-to-two ratio is safe enough. But it’s sensible why a one-to-one ratio is the safest. This balance even applies when children become more experienced in kayaking.



Things to Note During Tandem Kayak with Kids:



  • Adults should remain in the vessel’s rear when paddling a tandem kayak with kids.
  • Take the time to teach your children how to swim, or ensure they are willing to learn.
  • Keep your eye on your kids since they can be a bit unpredictable.
  • Leave them with enough room to figure things out on their own.
  • Buy a kid-sized paddle so they can practice paddling a kayak.



kayak for parent and child

A family enjoying their kayak excursion.



Plan for the Trip



Before going on a kayaking trip with your family, you must know that preparing is the key. Consider how to kayak with kids or toddlers and find kid-friendly kayaks. As said, a tandem kayak with kids is your only choice. You’ll need the best kayak for youngsters or toddlers for safety and fun.



Aside from the kayaks, consider the time you plan ongoing. If the trip is on the hottest day, your kids and other guests will not enjoy it. It’s never pleasant to be under the sun’s glare.



Last, it would help if you did your homework before vacationing with your family. Enough people should be around to get aid if you need it. Also, such can allow your children to make friends. Despite this, the journey ought to be calm and free of restrictions. This strategy helps kids enjoy kayaking without feeling stifled.



Packing for the Trip



Packing for a trip will always be tricky, no matter who you are. Most of the time, high expectations make things complicated. Generally, packing can get complex, but it doesn’t have to.



Check that you have all the vital details. I make a lot of lists, either on paper or on my phone. Here are the ones both parents and kids need to kayak:



Bonus Tip: Taking Charge



Having my kids, I can tell you they won’t let you pack for them. Usually, kids over seven want to do the packing for themselves. Please give them a list and tell them to double-check before kayaking.



Kayak for Parent and Child Food and Hydration



Bring easy, light, but healthy food items. Hard-boiled eggs, small fruits, jerky, and calorie-rich nuts are good to bring. Try to avoid carrying a lot of food in separate plastic containers. Remember that you need to limit any instance of possible littering.



Staying hydrated can be tricky if you need to know what you’re doing. Children kayaking in a river are often curious and try to drink the water. It would help if you established that they must drink from their water bottles. Hydration is most important since you and your kids will paddle and exercise in the sun.



Bring and Wear the Proper Clothing



You and your family need to wear water-resistant but breathable fibers. In a kayak for parents and children, you must have them as comfortable as possible. Choose easy to move in and breathe wet suits or clothing when going for the best kayak for toddlers.



Bring hats for yourself and your family if it rains or gets sunny. It would help if you ensured that your kids’ clothes fit them right. Also, always ask them if what they’re wearing is alright.



Personal Flotation Devices



A personal flotation device, or PFD, is essential to bring on a kayaking trip with a child. Remember to provide a safe and well-prepared trip for your family. Also, try to get PFDs with exciting designs so your kids won’t have any complaints about their looks.



The law says that children must wear PFDs. It would help if you also used PFDs that meet the standards set by the U.S. Coast Guard. Make sure that your kids have life jackets that fit them well. When kayaking with a toddler, you must have a neck pad to protect your child’s neck in case of an accident.



Don’t Forget Kayak for Parent and Child Sun Protection



Sunscreen for kids will be one of the most important things to bring in a kayak for parents and children. When you read about how to kayak with kids or toddlers, the authors always say you should bring sunscreen.



It is important because children’s skin is much more sensitive. You’re going to be baking in the sun all the time. The coolness of the water will make it more difficult for your body to notice that it has too much sun. Everyone who plans to be outside for an extended time should always use sunscreen.



Apply sunscreen on your kids at least every 2 hours, focusing more on the neck area. Wear long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses if you can’t find sunscreen. You can consider buying Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF clothing to step it up a notch.



The amount of UPF in clothing will tell you how much ultraviolet radiation will reach your skin. The general and safe number would be UPF 50 fabrics since it blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays. The materials used are unique, light, and comfortable.



Where to Go



Look for places where the waters are calm and have minimal currents. Always consider venue safety. Though later on, you may go for more difficult challenges for more excitement.



Check the weather and natural hazards before kayaking. Last, it would help if you asked around or did more research to find safe places where kids can paddle. Talking to other parents who have taken their kids on a boating trip helps. After all, they can help you plan your trip better.



How to Kayak with Kids



As mentioned, you must go for tandem kayaks when learning to kayak with kids. Kids have short attention spans, so you must watch them while staying on the kayak. Do not strap them in too tight; ensure they won’t fall. Making it a game for them is the most effective method. I told my kids that whoever could stay on the kayak the longest will win.



How to Kayak with a Toddler



Parents or guardians must do more research to find out if toddlers are ready to kayak. The U.S. Coast Guard tells parents to focus on physical maturity when making these decisions. After all, it’s far more essential instead of concentrating on a child’s age.



They need to have the discipline to sit still in the kayak. Their boundless vitality can make toddlers a challenge at times. It’s important that kids in tandem kayaks can keep their balance at all times.



They should also be able to float on the water, at the very least. Few parents emphasize teaching their toddlers to swim, and even fewer take the time to do so. So, this criterion is more concerned with the toddler’s balance in the water. The child must fit into a life jacket without wiggle room.



kayak for parent and child



Kayak for Parent and Child, Kid-Friendly Kayaks



Kids should start kayaking between 7 and 10. Consider kayak type and PFD fit. It must be stable and allow them to move around.



Sit-on-Top Kayak 



The best kayak for toddlers and one of the best kayaks for kids, in general, are sit-on-top kayaks. First, determining how fidgety kids can get is a much better way. They can move well and can also feel the water.





Besides, they have holes for scuppering. With these holes, water can’t get into the kayak. When a kayak flips over, scupper holes make it easier to grab on and turn it back over. They are an excellent place to keep your paddle handy.



Still, kids can get back into sit-on-top kayaks if they fall out. This feature can also be helpful if you have kids who know how to swim and want to stop paddling for a while. Many people think that sit-on-top kayaks are the best kayaks for kids.



Size is Important



The size of the kayak also matters. In a kayak for parents and child trips, you must consider one that will fit both parties. When both people can stay on the kayak, they need more space. There also needs to be enough room for the parent to paddle well while keeping the child close.



When choosing kid-friendly kayaks, size will be one of the most critical factors. Aside from comfort, size will affect maneuverability as well. Too big a kayak will be challenging to maneuver, especially with a kid on board.



Choose a Safe Seat Design



Another factor in kayaks for parents and children is seat design. When looking for kid-friendly kayaks, you must look for relatively wide ones. Aside from having wide seats, it would be best if you got open-cockpit designs as well, with easy to hold on to handles.



Stability is Very Important



When looking for kid-friendly kayaks, you need to consider stability. Wider kayaks will give you the best balance. More room will provide you with the kids’ reliability and comfort while paddling.



Stability means that your kayak will less likely capsize or flip over. It will prevent you and your kids from having an unexpected swim. A stable boat for both parents and kids ensures everyone appreciates the experience.



A deeper V-shaped hull will also give more stability. Avoid shallow and flat kayaks for kids. From my experience, you won’t have to worry about capsizing with a deeper V-shaped kayak.



Best Kayak for Children: Make it Fun



After all the preparations, packing, and kid-friendly kayaks, it’s time to have fun. Kids these days often get lost in their own digital words. They need help to connect with outdoor activities, strenuous or tiring ones.



The best way to pitch something to kids is to give incentives. The best motivation would be the amount of fun they’ll have. You also need to follow up on it and make the whole kayaking experience fun so that they become hooked. Here are some ways I got my kids to have much fun during kayaking trips.



Play Games



A little healthy competition will go a long way for kids. Kayaking can get monotonous. Having games and even competing with your kids will liven things up.



If they can paddle, you can do a little race to get their enthusiasm up. You can even play a simple “I Spy” game with them. About how to kayak with a toddler, you can bring small fidget toys that float. Creativity will be a crucial aspect when it comes to child games.



Follow Their Interests



Interests here pertain to what they find interesting. This fun method requires parental attention. Kids are curious and will go out and try to touch everything they find interesting.



Your job as a parent would be to help them identify, get or even prevent them from touching certain things. When discussing how to kayak with a toddler, you must try answering all the “What’s that?” questions. Following up on your kid’s curiosities will keep them engaged.



parent and kid kayaking



Kayak for Parent and Child: Safe and Fun



PFDs and adult-to-child ratios are the most significant considerations when kayaking with kids. The PFDs need to be fitting. But a little space is still good. The adult-to-children balance needs to be at least 1 to 1. Any more than that, and it can get a bit dangerous.



When discussing how to kayak with a toddler, you must consider whether they can fit into a PFD. Generally, toddlers will get too squirmy or very docile on the kayak. With the former, a snug-fitting PFD will guarantee safety for your toddler. Yet, it would help if you fished the toddler back into the boat whenever they fell over. For the latter, you need to keep them engaged and interested. Answer their questions as best you can, and make sure to ask them how they feel now and then as well.



As mentioned earlier, the fun will get your kids hooked. Safety should always come first, but you must ensure your kids have enough space. Keep an eye on them and let them experience kayaking for themselves. Engage with them through games or conversations. Kayaking will bring out their adventurous and nature-loving sides.



Kayak for Parent and Child FAQs



How old should a child be before they start kayaking?



Kids can start kayaking as young as three. Before taking a child out on the water, you should think about how physically and emotionally ready they are. If your child is scared of water or can’t follow simple safety rules, it is best to wait until they are older.



What kind of kayak is best for a parent and a child to use together?



The best choice for a parent and child is a tandem kayak, also called a two-seater kayak. This type of kayak is fun and interactive because both the parent and the child can sit in it and paddle it together.



What safety steps should I take before taking my child kayaking?



Before you go kayaking, you should check the weather forecast and pick a place to paddle that is calm and safe. Wear a life jacket always, and make sure your child does too. Teach your child safety basics, like how to hold the paddle and what to do in an emergency.



How long can a parent and a child kayak at the same time?



The length of a kayaking trip depends on how old and robust the child is. Younger kids might only need to paddle for 30 minutes, but older kids can handle more extended trips. Remember that kayaking can be tiring, so take breaks when necessary.



What kinds of fun things can a parent and child do while kayaking together?



Kayaking allows you to do lots of fun things like watching birds, fishing, exploring, and playing games like “I Spy.” You can also teach your child about nature and the environment during this time.



How can I make it fun for my child to kayak?



Your child will enjoy kayaking more if they focus on having fun rather than reaching a specific goal. Let your child take breaks when needed, and encourage them to look around and find new things. You can also bring snacks and drinks to give them energy and keep them from dehydrating.



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