taking children kayaking

We have taken our 6 y/o daughter on our new ocean kayak twice. After a couple of hours she looses interest. Does anybody have strategies to make it more fun-and enjoyable for a longer time period for her (and my husband and me!) Thanks!

A couple of hours is amazing for a
child that age. I always thought anything over 30 minutes was gravy. Does she like to fish?

Places to Paddle

– Last Updated: Jun-18-08 10:08 PM EST –

When my oldest son was 5 we started canoing together in Bucks County PA. We particulary liked to find unusal places to paddle, like an overgrown canal that was somewhat like Bogey sloshing through pushing the African Queen. We moved to Colorado the next year and there were much more exciting places to paddle. Lakes with rocks that make stepping stones out into the water and logs to get out and play on. Lots of log rolling contests and paddling up tributaries to go exploring where you can't hike. Lakes with Eagles. Lakes with large unusal birds. Fishing, catching crawdads was big fun. So we did about 50% goofing around out of the boat and 50 percent paddling. When he got a little older we did very mild whitewater and he thought that was a real gas. We moved to CA when he was in Junior High. When he turned 14 he got me into surf kayaking he is now in his 20s and we set aside time each year to go on wavesking trips and surfing when he is home from college.

A two hour paddle with a six year old is pretty good.

When I took my youngest son with my non-paddling wife on our hobbie tandem .. the boys enjoyed getting everybody on board including the 55 lb dog and seeing how fast we could go on a stormy lake and capsizing on purpose so they could watch mom swim. This did not do a lot for my non-kayaking wifes love of the sport however. The boys loved it. My youngest son has no interest in kayaking at all. So feel lucky she likes it to some extent.

I imply that “Couple of hrs” is at least
two. That is a good amount of paddling. even after an hour of two I often take a breather on the shore for a little while. You know, I am a very avid kayaker, but as the famous book to kill a mocking bird qoutes- you got to get in someone elses skin and crawl around it. Its relevence?? Well, we might love kayaking, but not everyone likes it. See it from your kids percpective. Just because its your passion it might not be hers, and may never become. So dont force it on her all the time if she doesnt like it. If she wants to, great, take her. I do encourage you to take them, but not if your taking them out more than once a week and she doesnt want to do it. That would be taking over her life, a life she may not want to persue. Id go out more if I could, but thats because I have a passion for it. But if your kid never wants to go, try to get her to go at least once a month.

I’ve been on trips where I lost interest
after 2 hours, and I’m in my late 30s. Travel near the bank and see if you can get them interested in the birds and other creatures that are around. Take a few breaks, especially if there’s a good beach or an area that they could explore safely. Kids love the idea of fishing, so even if it’s a simple line and hook on a stick, they can “fish” while you’re underway.

Also, let them participate by making decisions on where to go. If it becomes “their” trip and “their” adventure, they will be more interested. They can even do that in the planning stages. Find places they want to see, areas they might explore, etc on the internet with google maps or live maps satellite imagery.


Aquazooka, Kite, wind guage, gps, skipping stones, Snoopy Fishing kit, occasional Biggest Cannonball Splash Dive Contest, holding on to the end of the kayak and be towed for a bit, dive mask to look over the side at what’s below, etc.

Oh, you can play with all the above too.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


bring the cat along

digital camera

our boys’ favorite entertainment when paddling is to look for wildlife, try to tip us over by suddenly reaching for things outside the boat, and share the waterproof digital camera. we also dole out snacks regularly.

i’ve noticed that the more snacks we have and the more comfortable everyone is – hats, sunglasses, comfortable PFDs, and plenty of cold water – the longer and more enjoyable the paddles are.

I agree with castanet
I have a 6 year old daughter that rides along as I paddle, and what keeps her occupied are binnoculars, a camera, and snacks. But two hours is about the max it will work, she has fallen asleep before when she gets really bored and knows we’re nowhere near our take out location, but usually about an hour in I start getting the “how much longer?”