Paddling along with the kids in a canoe can be one of the greatest adventures your family experiences in the summertime. But if you haven’t ventured out on a family canoe trip before, it can be easy to get bowled over with all the things you’ll need to figure out before you set out.
From choosing a canoe, to getting your kids used to the water, to picking your paddling spot, to sorting through the ins and outs of safety, to learning to pack a canoe, it might seem like too much to deal with.
Don’t let these details scare you into abandoning a family canoe and camping trip altogether. There’s no better time to get the kids involved with the outdoors than when they’re young. As a parent, you know that every kid is different, and new adventures always take some trial and error.
But if you check out the tips below and use them at your own pace as you see fit with your family, you’ll be ready soon enough to head out on the boat with peace of mind.
- Get the kids to swimming lessons.
- Outfit your kids with PFDs (Portable Flotation Devices), no matter how much they throw a fit. Rule of thumb: No life jacket, no boat trip.
- Make sure your kids are comfortable in the boat and that they understand they need to remain fairly still to keep the boat from rocking or tipping. Go through some “test runs” to make sure they know what to do.
- Until your tiny tots become more experienced and comfortable paddlers, stick to short trips on calm, flat waters, and split up trips with frequent bathroom and stretching breaks.
- Keep your kids healthy with gear like caps, water bottles, clip-on umbrellas, snacks, bug spray and sunscreen.
- Based on age and interests, get the kids involved in bird watching, paddling and spotting nature’s features along the way.