We love activities that promote family bonding, teamwork, and exploring the great outdoors. Activities like mountain biking, geocaching, and cross-country skiing are all wonderful ways to learn, grow, and have fun in nature! Another activity we love to encourage families to try with their kids is canoeing.
Because canoeing happens at a bit of a relaxed pace, it’s a perfect activity for all skill levels. And, as Trails.com shares, it’s a fun way to introduce kids to outdoor recreation because they will be “hearing, seeing and feeling the sights of nature while paddling down your favorite river…” But before you start planning your family’s first paddling adventure, take a glance at these tips we came across that will help you introduce your kids to canoeing and ensure a safe and enjoyable river adventure.
Safety First! – As we mentioned earlier this month, anytime your family is out on the water, every passenger needs to wear a life jacket. Go Canoeing advises that life jackets should provide a comfortable fit while being tight enough so that the wearer could be lifted out of the water without the life jacket being pulled over their head. Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources suggests having a first aid kit available at all times.
Know How to Move in the Canoe – Canoes can be a bit tricky to move about in, so it’s important to practice before you hit the water. The Wisconsin DNR reminds us that one person should be assigned to hold the canoe steady so it doesn’t tip while everyone else enters. Active Kids Club recommends that kids under age six be carried in and out of the canoe to avoid tipping.
Additionally, passengers should stay low, walk along the center, and use the sides of the canoe to help with their balance. Sudden, jerky movements should also be avoided, as should rocking the canoe from side to side.
Make it Fun – Make the trip more fun by making sure your kids are fully engaged. Kids that are old enough often enjoy helping move the canoe, so outfit them with their own appropriately sized paddle. Also, include kids when deciding which lake or river. While you’re on your trip, paddle up to shorelines and point out interesting plants, wildlife, and other natural features.
Be Prepared (for anything!) – This not only means planning your route for bathroom breaks and packing some snacks, but also teaching your kids what to do if your canoe does happen to tip over. Remind them to stay calm, stay with the canoe, and listen carefully to your instructions. Adults should paddle or push the canoe toward the shore to empty the water and prepare to continue the adventure.
Have you ever gone canoeing with your family? If so, share your experience with Real Kids Shades in a comment below!
Photo via juliaf / sxc.hu