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Can I take my kidsCanoeing?

By Jemma Goulds15 October 2018

Mum of four and blogger Jemma Goulds of Thimble and Twig shares her tips for parents who are thinking about taking their children canoeing for the first time, after her first experience doing the same.

My first response to anyone asking this questions is – of course! Any water activities are a great adventure for kids; exploring the water opens up many new teaching opportunities for your family. However, there are a few things to bear in mind to help make your first canoeing trip run smoothly.

I’d say that age 4 is the youngest that a child can go canoeing and properly enjoy it. Any younger and it would probably need to be a very short trip.

Before you set off, make sure you’ve discussed the ‘adventure’ with your kids and make sure that they know ‘an adventure’ means that some things will be tricky, but ultimately they will share lots of great memories and that they will end up feeling proud of what they’ve achieved.

It’s advisable to have double canoes for you and your kids if they’re under 9 years of age or if the trip will be long.

Keep your younger kids occupied for the duration by allowing them to have a smaller set of paddles so they can pretend to paddle – although this does make it more tricky for you to steer! They could even take a small toy with them as long as they sit still on the boat.

It’s advisable, if you’re all inexperienced at canoeing, to ensure that you pick a calm day and calm river – preferably a small canal so that there’s easy access to land. This is likely to provide the best experience of canoeing for you and your family.

Better still is to have an instructor to guide you, if you can, so that you can learn how to canoe and be guided along the water, but also this will allow you to focus on your kids.

It goes without saying that children should always be wearing a life jacket on the water. Kids can also wear wellies in a canoe and this is a good idea if it’s a wet or cold day. Waterproof trousers and coats are also essential if it’s not warm and dry – wet and cold kids will not enjoy canoeing as much as warm and dry kids!

Another top tip is to take some snacks and maybe even a picnic lunch to stop off and eat en-route – kids always find everything easier with food! Just make sure you take a dry bag to carry your picnic in to avoid soggy sandwiches.

Keep the trip short for your first time and enjoy these special moments with your little ones. Don’t expect the first trip to be plain sailing (excuse the pun!) but it will pave the way for more water fun in the future.

Jemma Goulds

About Jemma Goulds

Jemma Goulds blogs about her family’s adventures with four children based in South East London. Their aim as a family is to have more adventures, try new things, and make the most of their weekends, hopefully encouraging others to get outdoors along the way.

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