youth canoeing games

My oldest son has gotten a job at the YMCA as a life guard on the water front. He is looking for games he can have the kids play in the canoes(He doesn’t have the kayak in his classes) He has been told bumper boats is out. These are young children and he is looking for ideas to keep them occupied, improve their abilities and not get any one hurt for the one hour a day class. I have played dead fish polo but I am hazy on the rules. What other ideas and rules do we have for a YMCA Counceler? Oh My litttle guy got a job at the same Y just guarding the people. Has to be tough to have sit there and look at the water instead of the bikinis…

Canoe and Kayak Games book
American Canoe Association sells a book with this title. You might be able to get it somewhere else, but that’s where I got mine. Has all kinds of games, both contact and non-contact. I’ve used a few of them, and some have already been mentioned. If he’s going to keep doing this he might want to buy it (not very expensive if I remember right).


If you have a nice beach to work with
You can do relay races. Out around a buoy and back.

A fun one is out to a pole that has clothes on it. One or both people in the canoe put the clothes on and paddle back. They hand the clothes off to the next two team members who put them on while on shore and then take them off and hang them back on the pole when they get out there.

If you have a nice lake area you can do a scavenger hunt. Or a mini canoe orienteering course.

canoe games
canoe polo, use a sponge or something that floats. have a goal to which you have to get the sponge over. you have two teams, the person in the bow usually tries to push the sponge with the paddle while the one in the stern steers and paddles.

A word of caution
Any game that requires moving an object (dead fish, sponge, ball) with a paddle has a big chance of resulting in paddle gash injuries. Take it from an old raft guide! You mentioned skills development, so I would concentrate on games requiring actual paddling skills - not splashing and slashing.

Jim, the Nanny