Kayak size for 6 year old

I’m looking for a recreation kayak for my 6 year old. He can paddle and make a bit of progress with him and me in out Tribe 9.5. My 8 year old handles that boat by himself and our Pamlico 120 just fine. Should we look for an 8 foot boat or use the 6 foot kiddie kayak for the younger one?

Oh, yeah. Use area. We’re in a community with a small lake (dammed creek/canal) that’s about 50 yards wide at its widest, a mile long or so, and maybe 15 feet deep in the carved deeper swimming and dock area. Most is stand up depth for me. Hence little danger of drifting away or being stuck in deep water for long at all. No engines, so no significant wakes to cause any danger from that.



Prodigy XS
The $400 Perception Prodigy XS is a great kid sized kayak.


Kayaks for Children
I posted what I could find on my blog sometime ago here:


I still like the one by Tim the best and have seen it at Dicks Sporting goods for as little as $100 with the crappy but servicable paddle.

Hope this helps

For A Six Year Old
Any of these will work just fine.


Small boats spin easily. My experience has been that kids love that.

Prodigy XS
The Perception Prodigy XS is a great little kayak. We just purchased two for our 7 and 11 year old boys. Our youngest is 5 years old and it swallows him though. That said, the description you gave of your paddling area I would be fine with it and you know you are getting a good kayak that will last at least 5-6 years even with him growing and when he is old enough… it would handle more challenging waters unlike some of those other beginner sit on tops.

kids kayak
Dont know where ur from, but on Charlotte craiglist NC is a Wilderness Systems Rascal.Dont remember length from a brochure back in 2000.Post doesnt say, but its a scaled down version of a Pungo hull, but much smaller cockpit. Probably 9 ft long. Selling for $100 in Huntersville NC

Prodigy XS or Acadia Scout
These are stable, easy to paddle, and allow kids to learn in a real kayak rather than one of the plastic bathtubs.

SOTs worked better for us
My wife and I have paddled for many years. When our children were 4 and 6, we were at a lake resort, and they had various SOT’s. Both kids took off in them. They both did well and loved them.

So we bought two Emotion Spitfires:


These were perfect for them. They are unsinkable. You can flip one and just flip it right back over, the water drains off through drain holes. They are essentially indestructible. They are very stable - my son used his as a fishing kayak a few years later, standing up on it and casting. Two kids could pile on one, so they could play with their friends in the water. The seats are comfortable, and kids can sit sideways or dangle their feet in the water. They are great swim platforms, you just jump off and climb back on. Now and then, one of us adults would paddle on - not ideal but you can do it. They are light and easy to lug to a beach. You can put two in J racks on a car roof and still have room for another regular boat, and we even put them inside a mini-van at times.

By contrast, we had several sit-in yaks during the same period, including a Pungo that has served many purposes, and they never much cared for those. The Pungo for example is harder for a child to paddle, due to the width and height off the water (the SOT’s, though wide, are so low that paddling is easy). And you can’t just jump off the thing and climb back on. If it flips, it fills with water and is almost impossible for a child to manage (we do still have the Pungo, though, and will probably never sell it).

Our kids used the Emotions for about six years, and I recently sold both of them (for $100 each, same day I put them on CL). It was amazing how good they looked after years of abuse (scraped up on bottom but clean on top).

not length
Length isn’t the best way to determine the appropriate size. Width, depth, and overall volume are more important to making a boat fit a small paddler.

A narrow, low-volume 12’ kayak would probably be a better fit than a wide 8’ kayak.