10 Best Kids Kayaks To Buy In 2024


Which Kid Kayak Is Best?

Kids can fall in love with a lot of things while growing up and when they do, they would love to have a blast of whatever it is. The same is true for kids who fall in love with kayaking as much as you did, you can tell this story better, right?

One of the greatest ways to introduce an outdoor activity that kids can grow with is to expose them to sports like kayaking or paddle boarding but in a fun and positive manner. This makes them enjoy outdoor activities as they get older.

Not only that, but indirectly children learn the act of personal responsibility as they obey safety checks such as rules of the equipment, water, and the buddy system while paddling.

That you are here signals two things; firstly e, your kids want an upgrade from the family-friendly tandem to their very own kids’ kayak. Secondly, you are on a quest to get not only what is stable, safe, and affordable, but something they’ll love.

The good news is that you are in the right place to get one of the best boats that will certainly give them a head start in this adventurous journey.

1. Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak For Kids

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Lifetime Youth 6ft Wave Kayak is a perfect starter boat for our little paddlers. It comes with a paddle and to top it all, it is super light.

This makes it easier for kids to haul in and out of the water. Getting one for your child is the absolute best investment you can make, once they are safe and happy on water, you are too!

The Youth Wave kayak is a sit-on-top kayak, specifically designed for kids ages 5 and above, and weighs up to 130 pounds.

It is not designed for rough waters as it can only handle minimal waves and surf; however, it is a recreational kayak that is ideal for flat water environments like beach, paddling at the lake on summer days or casual kayaking on slow-moving local rivers and inland waterways.

This boat comes with loads of features that make life on the water easy and safe for kids. Such features include; a children-sized paddle. The swim-up deck at the back allows kids to jump off to swim and for easier re-entry from the water.

Another interesting feature that singles it out from other hardshell kayaks is its lightweight, making it easier to load into vehicles.

Its short length and size make it compact so that kids can easily maneuver and control the boat on the water by themselves. 

It implies that children can conveniently manage off the water while the hull is narrow enough for paddlers to be able to paddle comfortably with shorter arms and shorter paddle lengths.

Another significant feature of Youth Wave Kayak is its self-bailing ability. The scupper holes in the seating area allow water to drain away.

Also, the comfortable molded-in seating area may not be suitable for long-distance paddling yet, kids enjoy it more when they jump on and off easily.

There are molded footrests to help kids stabilize while they find a suitable paddling position. You will find a toggle handle at the front and molded finger handles on the sides. It also has a molded-in paddle holder


  • Material: Hard Shell
  • Length: 6′
  • Width: 24″
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 130 lbs


  • Quite stable and lightweight
  • Specially made for kids
  • Performs excellently as a starter kayak
  • The swim-up deck makes paddling interesting for kids
  • Comes with a kids-sized paddle


  • Does not come with a seat/seatback
  • Has no paddle leash

Are you looking for a budget-friendly kids’ kayak that can be used on summer days for recreational paddling? Lifetime 6′ Wave Kayak is a great option for adventurous kids who want to improve their paddling skills.

2. Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak

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If you want a friendly kid-sized, highly functional sit-on-top kayak with superior stability, the Pelican Solo Sit-on-top Youth Kayak ticks all the boxes. It is ideal for beginners/kids who need stability and maximum return of effort.

It is designed as a maneuverable and versatile kayak, suitable for having fun days on the lake and beach in summer.

It is built on a twin tunnel hull that makes for easy maneuverability and stability, this in turn signals fewer worries to parents as chances of capsizing are virtually eliminated.

Once young paddlers feel safe on the water they learn their new sought-after paddling skills within a short period.

The Pelican Solo Youth Kayak features multiple footrests that can accommodate different sized children. This allows kids to find the most comfortable and perfect paddling position.

Another significant feature is the swim-up deck. Getting out of the kayak and climbing back into it can be fun for younger paddlers. This however comes easy while alternating swimming and paddling under the dashing summer sun.

This self-bailing kayak ensures that accumulated water that splashed into the boat does not become an additional weight. Rather, the scupper hole in the cockpit area easily drains away water.

Other features include molded carrying handle for easy carrying, molded footrests, a bottle holder, a paddle holder, a drain plug, and a safety flag.


  • Material: Single-layer polyethylene
  • Length: 6′
  • Width: 24″
  • Weight: 19 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 100 lb


  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Maximum stability
  • Spacious deck with a rear swim-up step
  • Open cockpit
  • Safety flags is included


  • Paddle not included
  • Molded seat discourages longer paddling trips

The Pelican Solo Youth Kayak can be a perfect option for anyone who values stability over speed.

3. Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak For Kids

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Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable is one of the cheapest kayaks with an amazing mix of features, so nothing stands in your kids’ way of exploring the waters. The active, Challenger K1 kayak is made of durable welded material with appealing eye-catching graphics.

The manufacturer of this watercraft was intentional with children in mind, ensuring that children do not only tag along on the family tandem kayaks but also independently develop their paddling skills while they are much younger.

Speaking of safety, Challenger K1 is constructed for immediate paddling tours on the lake or slow-moving river.

Children have not really mastered the art of handling the pressure that comes with paddling in rough waters plus, rough water might terrify them therefore, the kayak meets the most stringent safety standards to ensure safe and satisfying result.

Children easily get bored with anything that keeps them waiting, Intex understood this better by ensuring that the Challenger K1 takes nothing more than 8 minutes to be assembled.

As far as comfort goes, the footrest, inflatable seat with backrest and I-beam floor gives maximum comfort. What sets this kayak apart from other inflatables is its lightness, blended with extra buoyancy which it achieved by trading off some sturdiness.

The complete kit features: one 86″ aluminum paddle, high-output hand pump, closed deck, adjustable inflatable seat with backrest, cargo net for extra storage, removable skeg for stability, grab line, carry bag and repair patch kit.


  • Material: PVC
  • Length: 9’
  • Width: 30”
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 220 lbs


  • Very cheap
  • Includes all accessories needed on the water
  • Highly durable and safe for kids
  • Comfortable and spacious cockpit for kids
  • Lightweight and compact


  • Thin carry bag material
  • Slow on water
  • The small and cramped interior is unfit for big kids

If you are looking for a sporty and fun kayak for your kids, you can never go wrong with Challenger K1. The streamlined design makes paddling easy while the bright green colour ensures that paddlers are highly visible in the water.

4. Perception Hi-Five Sit-on-top Kayak For Kids

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The Hi-Five Kayak from Perception is designed for both kayaking and traditional stand-up paddling. 

Kids who are ready for kayaking and paddle boarding can leverage this dual-use kayak that is able to prepare them for these interesting outdoor activities. It gives them an idea of something they might be interested in.

The fact that the kayak shrinks down the features of the well-known Hi Five attributes into a perfect kids-sized kayak makes it an interesting piece for fun. 

It is designed for paddling on lakes, calm coastal waters and ponds. The “room to grow” design offers absolute years of enjoyment as your kids grow with it.

What made the Hi Five kayak stand out is its unique feature that presents young paddlers with choices on whether to paddle while standing or sitting. It comes with a 2-piece paddle featuring smaller blades and a narrower shaft to fits smaller hands perfectly.

With its unique rear swim-up deck where climbing the board is made easy, kids can easily exit for a quick dive and as well reboard with ease.

There is ample standing surface and the large front deck area is perfect for stand-up paddling. The elevated seat makes sit-on paddling much easier.

It also features molded-in easy-to-carry handles, molded footrests, molded-in paddle rest, cup holder, and a ready-to-go solo mount accessory recess where you can upgrade your kayak with other extra gears.

You also have the front hitch and tethering point where mom and dad can attach their boat for towing while they keep an eye on their kids.


  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 6′
  • Width: 24″
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs


  • It’s an excellent dual-use kayak
  • Safe and stable
  • It is upgradable
  • Perfect for kids of any size
  • Highly durable


  • not a perfect option for tall kids
  • Does not include drain plugs

If you would like your kid to learn two paddling skills (kayaking and stand-up paddling) at a goal, the Hi Five dual-use kayak can be a great investment.

5. Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak

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The Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Junior Kids Kayak is made with great intentionality for young paddlers, small enough to tag along and towed behind mum and dad for adventurous paddling. They are big enough for kids who can paddle on their own with some simple strokes.

This kayak is shaped to fit smaller paddlers so that they can easily handle and control it. The Heron Junior is exceptionally stable, easy to maneuver and builds some paddling confidence in your kids.

The Old Town Heron Junior Recreational Kayak features a padded, contoured seat that provides comfort for a fun day on the water. The internal foam billet makes the boat as light as possible, and easy to handle while ensuring that it stays afloat.

Transporting the Heron Junior to and from the water is quick and easy with the bow and stern carry handles. And when your kids get tired of paddling, the innovative “tag along tow system” can be attached to other boats and towed to shore.

This seven-foot kayak can hold as high as 115 pounds of loads, this means that your kids can grow with it into older age.


  • Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Length: 7’5″
  • Width: 24″
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 115 lbs


  • Tag along towing hook
  • Foam billets aid floatation
  • Lightweight and nimble
  • Spacious cockpit for kids


  • Has no paddle
  • Frequent kicks by kids, rid billets open

Heron Junior Kids Kayak is a better option for parents who like to have their child’s boat as close to them as possible when paddling.

6. Lifetime Lotus 8Ft Sit-On-Top Kayak For Kids

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Lifetime is known for reliable, stable and incredibly durable kayaks, the Lifetime Lotus 8 Ft Kayak for kids is not an exception. It is budget-friendly, portable size and has a modest weight. It’s a great choice for summertime fun on local lakes.

If we call it a “do it all” canoe, it is not a mistake. Despite its lightweight design, it is very durable. Whether kids are just starting or have prior experience in paddling, they’ll feel safe and comfortable.

It features a smoothly contoured single-seater with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic construction that’s lightweight and durable.

The adjustable quick-release seat back is designed for comfort while its multiple-footrest positions accommodate riders of any size, making long hours paddling fun.

It also includes a double-sided Lite Elite paddle and an easy-to-carry handle. The incredible hull design offers solid stability and great tracking.

There are self-bailing scupper holes that drain water away from the cockpit area, a built-in cup/bottle holder, flat back end for extra upright storage, ditty trays and shock cord straps that help to keep loose items in place, and molded paddle cradle.


  • Material: Hard Shell
  • Length: 8′
  • Width: 29″
  • Weight:5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs


  • Self-bailing scupper holes
  • Lightweight and very compact
  • Footrests for added maneuverability
  • A rear tankwell with bungee makes a great gear storage system


  • The seat is not that comfortable for long hours of paddling
  • Has limited tracking ability
  • Secondary stability is minimal

If you would like a “do it all” budget-friendly kayak that your kids can grow with, the Lifetime Lotus will serve you better.

7. Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak For Kids

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In the past few years, Sevylor has been known for some of the best kid kayaks. Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak is a more advanced sibling of the Quikpak K-series, having a bit of extra stability in the water and an additional storage space to work with. This boat is a perfect fit for children who have gained some experience in kayak paddling.

If you want a kayak that is pretty decent to paddle, you can trust the Quikpak K5 for that. Its versatility can take on different speeds and water that others in the same category cannot match up to.

It has a blunter bow than other models and can take on the waves with its high-riding position which has become a function of its efficiency. The boat blends solid performance with a relatively low price and surprisingly, it comes with everything you need to hit the waters.

This means that you can walk away without even paying as much as you would on some of the competition on the market.

One of the things that should be appreciated about the Sevylor Quikpak K5 is the comfort that it tends to offer paddlers.

The seat is fully adjustable (though not inflatable) and provides plenty of space to stretch out their legs or better still, they can wedge their knees into the sides for more intense paddling. This is achievable by the included zip-in “spray skirt”.

Quikpak comes with a couple of skegs on the bottom, this helps in tracking so that every little stroke does not swing paddlers back and forth. This kayak is relatively stable, maneuverable, and protected from taking on water.

The exterior fabric layer of the bottom section is reinforced such that the underside of the hull is protected from punctures while paddling in shallow waters.

Thanks to the included dual-action pump that makes filling up the three chambers of the kayak pretty easy. The backpack design has made the Quikpak K5 one of the easiest kayaks to carry around, either in a car, train or aircraft.

Therefore, it features a backpack system that can be converted to a seat, multiple air chambers that ensure that another chamber stays inflated even if one is punctured, 24-gauge PVC w/ tarpaulin bottom that protects against punctures, 5-minutes set up, spray covers to keep you dry, double lock valves for easy inflation/deflation and D-rings to attach other equipment.


  • Material: ‎Polyester
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 32″
  • Weight:5 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs


  • Set up is a breeze
  • Lightweight, durable and sturdy
  • Tracks well
  • There is lots of space when inflated


  • The paddle needs improvement in terms of quality and strength
  • Pump nozzle does not fit properly

The Sevylor Quikpak is a great pick for kids who already have a bit of experience in paddling.

8. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8-Foot Sit-in Kayak

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If all you want for your kids is to learn the basics of kayaking, the Aruba SS 8′ makes for a perfect option. It’s great for little paddlers who want to deep their toes into the world of kayaking.

It offers maximum stability, tracks well and paddles with ease. This is more than enough for young paddlers to feel secure and safe on the water.

The boat is lightweight, versatile and will be a great choice for youngsters who wouldn’t like to get wet, how? A spray skirt can be easily added to protect them from water splash and other elements.

The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8 sit-on-top kayak is ideal for kids, teens and little paddlers of all skill levels and is recommended for use on rivers and lakes.

It is designed with sturdy and rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene for long-lasting use. 

It features a paddle, while the padded seat and adjustable padded seat offer support to your back during long days of paddling on the water. 

It has a small watertight storage compartment that is suitable for keeping personal effects like personal devices, a jacket, snacks and other items you want to keep dry.

This boat comes with scupper holes to drain water away from the cockpit. It has carrying handles, for easy transport to and from the water. 

Aruba SS 8 has a molded-in paddle holder in front of the seat, this allows you to free your hands if you need a break. It has a recessed drink holder that encourages paddlers to come paddling with their favorite drinks.

There are deck bungees stretched across the stern that can hold a small cooler. It has enough space, is quite comfortable and allows riders to conveniently move their legs while seated.


  • Material: Hard Shell
  • Length: 8′
  • Width: 28″
  • Weight: 27 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 260 lbs


  • Portable, lightweight and easy to carry
  • Its maneuverability gives beginners an easy learning curves
  • Tracks quite well and is easy to paddle
  • Watertight storage space


  • Scupper plugs are not included
  • Its molded plastic seat makes long trips seemingly impossible as rider’s bottom gets uncomfortable
  • Low top speed

With Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8, young paddlers can always have a wonderful day on the water.

9. Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS For Kids

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Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS is recommended for young paddlers. It offers the perfect blend of superb tracking, comfort and ease of maneuverability.

It is a true definition of a compact lightweight kayak for kids in the sense that it allows lengthy paddling sessions that do not compromise your kid’s safety.

It is a recreational sit-on-top kayak designed for kayak fishing, a fancy model for a child looking to learn the basics of kayaking and practice fishing.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this kayak offers a two-go-one special, and everything you need from a comfortable chair and footrests to a spacious cockpit is included.

With that said, the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS widespread availability, affordability and ease of boarding have made it famous for use as a fishing kayak on lakes, bays, inland waterways and slow-moving rivers.

The spacious open cockpit allows the easiest of entry and includes a comfortable padded seat with an adjustable seat back. Also features adjustable foot braces to help stabilize little paddlers in their seats and there are protective thigh pads on the sides too.

Its wide and short hull makes it a great watercraft for any beginner. This feature aids stability and makes a great option for fishing, courtesy of the rod holders and storage compartment.

This kayak comes with one swivel rod holder and two flush-mounted rod holders. At the bow, there is a small storage deck with bungee rigging for extra security.

There is a storage compartment (Portable Accessory Carrier) at the stern, this can be towed behind the boat while paddling to free up additional cargo space in the stern. The water bottle holder ensures that your water or drinks are safely kept.


  • Material: Plastic
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 30″
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs


  • Affordable
  • Widespread availability
  • Towable storage compartment
  • Built-in rod holders and accessible tankwells


  • Does not have cushion seat
  • Does not come with a paddle

When it comes to kayaking, the main thing on every parent’s mind is safety, this easy-to-move-around fishing kayak gives you just that. Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS is a perfect model for kids who wants to combine kayaking with fishing.

10. Emotion Sparky Youth Kayak

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The Emotion Sparky Sit-on-top Youth Kayak is a fun way to introduce your kids to solo paddling. You do not want them to start with something that would make them lose interest in kayaking, right?

So, let them start with a stable, comfortable and easy-to-handle kayak like Emotion Sparky Youth Kayak. It is ideal for recreational kayaking on flatwater like lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers.

That it comes in a smaller design does not mean that it would compromise the stability found in larger designs; instead, the small and semi-flat shallow “V” hull offers easy maneuvering without compromising stability.

It is blow molded from High-Density Polyethylene which in turn provides superior strength and makes it durable.

It features a sit-on-top design for easy access especially when little paddlers want to have a quick dip, while the hull design provides ultra-stability and great tracking.

The molded seat and multiple footrests comfortably fit kids of all sizes. While the front toggle handles offer a helpful place to grab the boat, the molded-in sides with finger grips make carrying a breeze hence, they both make transport a bit easy.

Young paddlers can always come on board with their bottle of water/drinks to chill out, the center cup holder keeps it in place. You also have a small stern tankwell thar serves as a little storage for your gears.


  • Material: Blow-molded polyethylene
  • Length: 6′
  • Width: 25″
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 140 lbs


  • Easy maneuvering
  • Molded seat and footrests fit paddlers of all sizes
  • Side handles and toggled bow handle makes transport easy


  • Tracking system not included

Emotion Sparky Youth Kayak is an entry-level boat, perfect for kids, teens and small paddlers of all abilities.

Other Worthy Mentions

1. GoPlus 6ft Youth Kids Kayak

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It’s rather wise and of course, thoughtful to be constantly aware of the fact that kids grow every day, this key factor was consciously looked into when crafting the GoPlus 6ft Youth Kids Kayak.

The boat is designed to accommodate growing paddlers, taking them to enjoy beautiful scenery and offering them a gleeful tour in their leisure time.

The boat’s width ensures a higher level of stability and provides a roomy deck. It only weighs a few pounds so young paddlers can easily transport it to and from the water.

It is made from kid-friendly material that guarantees high durability and corrosion resistance. This sit-on-top kayak is suitable for use in domestic pools, lakes, calm seas and rivers.

GoPlus Youth Kayak comes with a few features including; a double head paddle, enabling kids to balance training by surfing and tracking. It has a self-bailing scupper hole at the rear.

The backrest and footrest offer a comfortable rowing experience. While the footrest design offers maximum comfort for a kid’s foot, the backrest on the other hand supports the kid’s back and lumbar to prevent pain after paddling.

What’s more? Sufficient storage space. The boat is equipped with storage hitches in front and at the rear, this is where paddlers can arrange their gears and any other necessities needed for their adventurous experience.

It also has a bottle/cup holder for easy access and the bungee cord lacing and mesh help to secure loose items.


  • Material: High-density Polyethylene
  • Length: 6′
  • Width: 24”
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 121 lbs


  • Ensures primary stability
  • The rear wheels make transportation easy
  • Ample storage space
  • Adjustable footrests for growing kids


  • No bottom seat padding
  • Not comfortable for longer hours paddling

GoPlus Kayak design is great for most little paddlers however, it doesn’t quite measure up to other kayaks within a similar price range.

2. Malibu Mini-X Kayak For Kids

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The Mini-X kayak from Malibu is an embodiment of versatility and sophistication. It is a recreational kayak, known for its diverse application in all waters. It can venture out to bumpy rough waters and is suitable for recreational driving, scuba diving and fishing.

In one day, the boat is good enough to get you to your favorite fishing spot and go paddling on the comforting lakeside. The Mini-X Kayak is a perfect choice for small-frame paddlers, beginners, young adults and kids of 12 years of age and above.

It performs well in calm waters and can be fun to maneuver. The speed is quite acceptable, but cannot win any race for you. Its short and wide feature makes it track well as expected. Its wide beam offers kids a platform where they can prepare for a dive, observe the horizon or stand to cast a fishing line.

It features an open cockpit with a molded-in seat and multiple foot wells to keep kids in a comfortable position while paddling.

It has paddle holders on each side, ensuring that the paddle is within easy access and that riders have hands-free storage for fishing or capturing moments on the water.

It comes with a molded-in cup holder, 2 rear, flush-mounted rod holders, carry handles (at bow, stern and sides), multiple eyelets attach accessories and drain plugs to get rid of excess moisture. The large centre hatch has a removable canvas bag that can hold a few small items.


  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Length: 9’3″
  • Width:5″
  • Weight: 40 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs


  • Has four easy-grab carry handles for kids
  • Wide beam and suitable standing platform for kids for fishing
  • Perfectly suit shorter and taller kids
  • Adjustable foot braces for kids of any size
  • Lightweight, stable and maneuverable


  • Limited speed
  • Not suitable for a long-term trip on rough water

If your kids enjoy fishing in shallow ponds and lakes or they prefer having leisure paddle on backyard creeks and slow-moving rivers, the Malibu Mini-X kids’ kayaks would be a perfect choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Choose a Kayak For Kids

There are some obvious differences between kayaks designed for kids and adults. However, kids’ kayaks have a lot more in common with beginner kayaks since they are both in the early stages of their kayaking experience.

Key factors such as portability, stability and adjustability cannot be overlooked when choosing a kayak for young paddlers. Nevertheless, you can consider the following factors when choosing a kayak for kids:

  • Weight: go for kayaks that match your child’s weight. Lighter-weight models are a lot easier for kids to steer.
  • Length: kids-friendly kayaks are always the options with a shorter hull
  • Width: kayaks with a wider hull and flat bottom are not usually efficient. That being said, efficiency and speed shouldn’t be a top priority for kids’ kayaks, instead, stability and balance should come first. So, what makes a stable kayak? Kayaks with a wider hull, flat-bottom and reverse chines (V-shaped hull) are known to be more stable, less prone to capsizing and easier to balance.

What size kayak paddle for kids

A child’s age, size, and paddling experience might determine the size of the paddle that would be most suitable.

Paddlers’ most intimate connection to the water is their paddle, so how it feels cannot be overemphasized. Paddles that have narrow shaft and are about 200 cm long will be ideal for kids.

How old should kids be to kayak?

While it is safer to have your kids in your family tandem kayak under your watch, they would like to pilot their boat as they grow and fall in love with kayaking.

Kayak manufacturing companies have made kayaks that a 5-year-old can paddle with on creeks, pools and shallow waters. That sounds great, right!

While this might be interesting, it’s wiser to play safer by waiting till when they are between the ages of 7 and 10 before they start learning how to explore the sport on their own.

How To Kayak With Kids

Here are a few tips on how to kayak with kids:

Be within their voice: if you are kayaking with a group of children, you do not have to impress them with your paddling skills by going faster and further away from them. Instead, go slowly so that you won’t get separated. The rougher the water, the closer all boats should be, maybe one-third your normal pace.

Give rules before you hit the water: providing rules that are as clear and simple as no standing or leaning while paddling can prevent hazards and accidents. State the benefits and consequences of following each rule.

Enlighten them: expose young paddlers to water action and show them the right response. Techniques on how to navigate the currents and bracing against a wave can be reasonable things to talk about.

Take turns to lead: you can make your paddling a little bit more fun by allowing the slowest paddler to take the lead and then switch after a while.

Enjoy the moment: save criticism for later, when you get to shore. Always applaud good paddling. Give, demonstrate and practice safe paddling skills.

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