This is a sponsored guest post.
Canoeing can be fun for the who family. It is a time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, while making memories and exploring new places. Children enjoy these experiences as much as adults but when planning a canoe trip with children careful planning must take place. Here are some tips for planning that canoe trip with children.
Where to Go
Children need lots of practice before setting off on difficult, or even medium level, trips. When planning on canoeing with children you must research trips that will not be too difficult, too fast, or too long. Children need to experience smaller, easier trips and the work their way us to the harder more intense trips. Do not push them too hard and let their trip intensity naturally evolve as they get older and more mature. Choose shorter trips, a couple of hours may be all you need when children are young. This may change but getting their feet wet and taking in the scenery is the way to start.
Know Skill Levels for Each Participant
Keep in mind the age of the children on your canoe trip. Age is a major determining point of the type of trip you should make with children. Some kids will need more breaks for snacks, toileting, or just a chance to move around more and get some energy out. Having places to stop and rest along the way could be key to for a child’s enjoyment.
Also, keep in mind your children’s swimming skills. Even under the best conditions, accidents can happen and being ready for the unexpected is important but keeping in mind your inexperienced swimmers is essential. Having one adult per child is always a good idea, that way if there is an emergency everyone will have a responsible person to assist.
Wear Flotation Devices
Everyone, no matter what the skill level, should wear a personal flotation device. When adults lead by example then children are more likely to follow. Even on the calmest day water can be unexpected and safety is the most important aspect of any activity involving water when children are involved. When taking a child canoeing, make sure to have a PFD that fits the child correctly and check ratings on the device to see if the device is right for the setting and situation.
Along the lines of safety, sit children in areas that fit their needs. Children who need to move around or look over the side of the canoe may find that the bow the vessel is a better place for them. Smaller children will need to sit by the parents or between the legs of the parents where they can be better monitored ad attention needed can be given.
Of course the obvious equipment needed is a canoe. If you do not own one then there are places that you can rent canoes. Most will assist in finding the right size for your needs and will be located close to a waterway so that transportation to the water will be a simple process. Canoe rentals in Ohio are easy and affordable. We use several local companies for our day trips and are considering buying our own canoes. Some canoe rentals services will even provide transportation from the end of your trip back to your starting point for an additional fee.
When canoeing with children you must be prepared for all conditions. Taking along a few items to make sure you have everything needed is always a great idea. Canoeing can be dangerous so taking a helmet for everyone is one piece of equipment that is needed. You also need a throw rope, whistle, and throw float in case of emergencies. Take along some dry bags for cell phones, keys, and other items that you want to keep from getting wet. You make need a waterproof bag for dry clothes, so the children can be comfortable when you stop of if the weather changes. Carry an extra paddle in case you need help along the way or lose yours in an accident. A small knife and a first aid kit are always helpful when kids are around. Do not forget the sun protection. Children do not understand the importance of sunscreen so the adults must be diligent in applying as recommended.
Take along some fishing rods and other fun things to do with the children. These are memories that they will remember and reminisce on when they are grown. Take a small paddle for the children to use and maybe even some bubbles to blow. Any activity on a canoe is better than on land.
Food and Hydration
I cannot stress the importance of food and water when canoeing, especially with children. Take an easy lunch, like sandwiches and chips, and several snacks. I like to take apples with me as a quick and easy snack. Be friendly to the environment and teach the children to keep their trash with them so not to pollute the water and nearby lands. Water is most important. Most people underestimate the amount of water that will be needed on a canoe trip so pack more than you think you will need. I would have at least one bottle per person per hour available. If you do not use it all then you will have some left for your next trip but be prepared.
What to Wear
When canoeing you can wear most anything that is comfortable for the weather that you will be in. If it is hot outside, you may want to have a bathing suit for the children so they can enjoy swimming breaks along the way. A good pair of water shoes is helpful. Often time you may be unaware of dangers in the bottom of riverbed and lake so water shoes will add one more layer of protection to your attire. If the weather is not very hot or if it is a windy day, you may want to bring a small jacket for everyone. NO one wants to be cold and wet and that is the chance you take if you are unprepared.
The most important tip I can give you for canoeing with children is to have fun. Enjoy your day and do not stress about the small stuff. Take time to talk and laugh with the children and make up fun games along the way. Children are very impressionable and encouraging them to love and care for the outdoors while spending time with family will carry with it adults who teach the same to a new generation. So when canoeing with children stop and have a little fun, it will help keep you young.