Top Tips for Paddling With Kids
Paddling with your children is an incredible experience that allows for quality bonding and introduces them to a world of adventure. Age is not a barrier, as paddling can be enjoyed by kids of all ages and skill levels. It’s a versatile activity that can be adjusted to their pace, ensuring an enjoyable trip for everyone involved.
Introducing young children to paddling can be a wonderful opportunity for them to learn essential skills while having fun. While white water courses may be too challenging for toddlers, taking them on a family paddling trip is a fantastic option. They can actively participate in paddling and begin developing crucial motor skills. Once they get tired, they can relax and observe while you take charge. Of course, paddling with young kids may come with its own challenges. To ensure a smooth and happy trip, check out our Top Tips for Paddling With Kids.
As children grow older, they become more independent and ready to have their own paddling equipment. Having their own craft not only boosts their confidence and fitness but also instils in them a deep appreciation for the natural world. Paddling becomes an opportunity for them to explore and connect with their surroundings while developing their physical abilities.
Paddling is a low-impact activity that puts minimal strain on joints, making it accessible for children and older family members alike. It allows kids to engage in a healthy and enjoyable outdoor pursuit that promotes their overall well-being.
Understanding each child’s capabilities is crucial when paddling with them. Age doesn’t necessarily equate to experience, so it’s important to ensure that every child feels confident and safe in the situation. If there are any doubts, consider brushing up your own skills by taking a paddling course from a local provider.
To make the most of your paddling adventures with children, consider a few practical aspects. Choose appropriate paddlecraft for their age and size, ensuring they feel comfortable and secure. This only becomes relevant if you want them to paddle independently – for smaller children (up to 10 years old) we recommend a children specific SUP as they are narrow enough for them to comfortably reach the edges of the board. For larger kids, we recommend going for a board in the region of 9-10ft which they should be able to handle and grow into. Similar theory applies to paddles – for smaller children, a kids specific paddle is recommended – whilst larger kids can opt in for a three piece paddle which they can keep adjusting as they grow. But, since all kids grow at different rates, the above can only really serve as a guide – if you’re unsure what would work best for your child – it’s always best to talk to a specialist.
Safety is paramount when paddling with children. Ensure they always have properly fitting personal flotation devices (PFDs) or life jackets. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them energized and hydrated throughout the trip.
In terms of clothing, especially relevant for the UK, for most of the year you would want them to wear a wetsuit – since they are children they’ll unlikely resist the urge to jump in and fool around in the water. For the warmer months you’ll most likely want to opt in for a shorty wetsuit to make sure they don’t overheat and have an overall unpleasant experience – whilst in the colder months a full wetsuit is paramount.
Paddling with children goes beyond the physical activity itself. It’s a valuable learning experience for them. Encourage their curiosity and foster their understanding of the environment. Teach them about water flow, how their movements affect the craft, and the importance of respecting and preserving nature. Paddling becomes an opportunity for them to develop a deeper connection with the outdoors.
Planning your paddling trips with children should involve their active participation. Discuss what they would like to see and how long they want to be on the water. Consider their interests and choose routes or trails that cater to their preferences. Research local paddling spots or explore family-friendly paddleboarding trails that provide an enjoyable and safe experience.
Paddling with children is an enriching adventure that promotes their physical development, fosters their connection with nature, and strengthens the bond between you. It’s an opportunity to create lasting memories and instil in them a love for outdoor activities. So, grab your paddles, prepare for exciting explorations, and embark on unforgettable paddling journeys with your children!
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