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Thread: Children canoeing

  1. #1
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    Default Children canoeing

    Firstly a confession.

    We first got into open canoeing partly because it was an activity that we could drag the kids along on. After two weeks Sea Kayaking in New Zealand, I did spend a while debating whether you could stuff a baby into the hatch or not , and decided it may not be very safe ( though I have since heard of people who have done this ).

    But open canoeing offers so much scope that it seemed like the logical thing to do would be to buy a boat . Our 16’ prospector gives us lots of scope from flat water touring to river trips, but as the children get bigger it is going to become a squeeze. We are looking at getting a solo boat sometime which will give us a bit more flexibility. One adult one child in each perhaps and the children on their own at somepoint, as well as just for me .

    A couple of threads have got me wondering about how old children should be before they get actively involved in paddling. Our children have got paddles that they wave around, get in the way with and generally have a good time .
    Our 4yr old has quite a good rhythm and for her age a reasonable concentration span. Our 7yr old ( a very scrawny 7yr old),( can you say that about your kids), is very keen to paddle in the bow and would like to learn some steering strokes so he can take charge. He also wants to learn to kayak this year. Am I allowed to mention the K word?

    Does anyone have experience of what you can expect from different ages? (I have sent 5yr olds off single handedly in optimist dinghies before, but there is not the same physical aspect)
    Are there any boats that would be particularly suitable for children to learn in ( canoes and kayak)?

    Any comments or suggestions or experiances gratefully accepted .
    .
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  2. #2
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    Hi there,
    Quote Originally Posted by Silvergirl
    Firstly a confession.

    I did spend a while debating whether you could stuff a baby into the hatch or not , and decided it may not be very safe ( though I have since heard of people who have done this ).


    Our 7yr old ( a very scrawny 7yr old),( can you say that about your kids), is very keen to paddle in the bow and would like to learn some steering strokes so he can take charge. He also wants to learn to kayak this year. Am I allowed to mention the K word?

    Does anyone have experience of what you can expect from different ages? (I have sent 5yr olds off single handedly in optimist dinghies before, but there is not the same physical aspect)
    Are there any boats that would be particularly suitable for children to learn in ( canoes and kayak)?

    Any comments or suggestions or experiances gratefully accepted .
    .
    Scrawny not breaking any rules there but stuffing a baby into a hatch .

    If you contact some of the outward bound courses run for kids they should be able to give you some general information I'm not sure but there might be an age restriction on some activity / courses. Why don't you send a PM to one of the guys that are instructors / coaches on the forum.
    I know our local outdoor centre runs family days in the summer and these are good for letting & encouraging kids in pursuits - open canoes & kayaks. I attended the canoe one last year and enjoyed it as much as the kids had to give the kid back at the end though .

    Yours MM.
    Maggie.

    ''One is always wiser after the event''

  3. #3

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    My oldest, Ross, is eight and weighs 40kg (he's not fat, just, well, robust). When he paddles in the bow, the canoe moves. I think he'd need a lot more practice for steering, but he's plenty strong enough to propel the boat. He's also a very strong swimmer which is reassuring although obviously we don't take risks. My six year old Andrew weighs 20kg and doesn't have the same muscle strength. and to be honest isn't so keen on canoeing- he prefers archery and does pretty well at it. And my three year old, Scott, will happily sit in a canoe but isn't really up to paddling.

    I'd thought about getting a 17 foot 'family' canoe but I'm gald I didn't, as nearly all my trips have been solo, or tandem with Ross. However, if the other two become keen, the future plan is to buy a second canoe, so we can all go out as a family.

  4. #4
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    Default Children canoeing

    Hi silvergirl the reason I've taken to open boats is so I can get the whole family along and have fun on the water. My children are all about grown up now I won't give their ages as it makes me remember how old I am, but ever since they were quite young and confident in the water we have been in it,on it,in some form or another we were ok in the dinghys but I was always (and still am) worried when they are in the kayaks in an open boat you are in control, on their own they are. I was looking forward to lowering my blood pressure and getting rid of the kayaks but have been told they must stay, as for which to get I would be looking to ask Paul Booker as I believe he is an instructor and looking at some of his posts has a myriad of contacts that should be able to point you in the right direction(sorry if I've put you on the spot Paul) ...Mike B

  5. #5
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    Default Children Canoeing

    Hi,

    Sorry I have not got enough time for a full reply right now, will get back later.
    There is lots of other folk on here that have lots of experience with tiddlers and boats and hopefully they will come forward with their thoughts.

    Has anyone tried the Mobile Adventure Minuet? 13' small boat designed for those of smaller stature and kids, it maybe what you are looking for.

    Paul B.

  6. #6
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    Haven't heard of the minuet, I'll try and look into it.

    Thanks for the comments so far and I look forward to hearing Pauls thoughts soon.
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  7. #7
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    Busy day at work today so I will keep this short.

    Get a copy of the book "Cradle to Canoe". I am half way through it at the moment and it is superb. I would recommend it strongly to people who do not have children and make it a compulsory purchase for those with kids. It covers everything from taking babies with you on wilderness trips to when the children should have their own boat.

    Sorry no link but you will probably get it cheapest at www.abebooks.co.uk

    More when I have time

  8. #8
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    Default cradle to canoe

    Yep - I can vouch for cradle to canoe. Its a cracking book and very inspirational. My daughter is coming up to 3 and I can't wait to get out paddling with her when it gets warmer.

  9. #9
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    Default Kids and paddling

    Hi Silvergirl

    Paddling with kids is like running, we westerners have forgotten that the rest of the world do not have our luxuries, such as a transport system that (although we moan about it) actually works. I read articles from well meaning parents asking when can little Johnny or Jenny start running??

    Well quite honestly as soon as they are able to walk!! Kids run miles to school in Africa from a very early age with no detrimental results, in fact that is why, to a large extent, the African countries excell at distance running. Kids have to get themselves to school and the easiest way is to run.

    Paddling is the same, if one looks at the indigenous peoples of north America, Africa, south America and I am sure a dozen or more other countries and continents, kids paddle at an early age. We need (in my opinion only) to get back to an earlier age, where kids participated in more physical activity.

    Obviously dont put your kids at risk, but they probably will find that simple paddling on placid water is good fun and they will very quickly learn balance and river craft. In fact I would hazard a guess that they will find it easier to learn than most adults.

    In my experience the kids in our club are far more daring and learn far quicker than any of the adults, kids are, as I am sure you are aware, fearless, the only problem you will have is holding them back.

    In short let them have a go, dont forget as long as you are around and they are wearing the correct safety equipment and you make it fun, they will be safe.

    Jim

  10. #10

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    I had my three year old out on his first river trip this weekend, I took him down the town section of the Kent and he loved it, "More Bumpy Waves Daddy !!!"

    I paddle my horizon backwards and he sits on the back seat with his legs in between the gap of the airbag and the seat, this allows him to lever off the airbag and keeps him pretty steady, if I am worried about trim I get him to come and sit on my kneeling thwart.
    I have a very small and light weight wooden paddle for him which he swishes around in the water, the reality is he has not enougth strength to affect the boat in anyway, even though I tell him he is helping Daddy alot.

    In the centre I work in we tend to take years 5 + paddling, though it isnt a written rule, just one that we have found most effective in a group situation.

    My opinion is as long as they are happy and safe get them out there.

    Cheers

    John

    check out water levels @ www.rainchasers.com

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvergirl

    Does anyone have experience of what you can expect from different ages? (I have sent 5yr olds off single handedly in optimist dinghies before, but there is not the same physical aspect)
    Are there any boats that would be particularly suitable for children to learn in ( canoes and kayak)?
    My wife and I wrote a book that probably covers most of what you're asking about called Cradle to Canoe. Seems a few folks here on the forum have read it and found it useful. If there are any questions beyond what's covered in the book, feel free to ask - I'd be happy to do my best to answer. Canoeing was a passion of mine since early childhood. The gal I married introduced herself to me because she was keenly interested in the canoe I'd often have strapped to the roof of my car when coming in to work. When we got married, we arrived at our wedding reception in that same canoe. Our honeymoon was a wilderness canoe trip. Living in Canada, we're surrounded by a tradition of canoeing going back into ancient history. The natives who populated the land took their children with them by canoe and we saw no reason why we couldn't continue that tradtion. We started taking our kids with us from the time they were infants and have never regretted it. They are grown now, but still have a passion for paddling. I'm sure the time they spent with us paddling has made them better people. I highly recommend gettinig the kids involved - the eariler, the better too.

  12. #12
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    HEAR, HEAR.

    Jim

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolf Kraiker
    My wife and I wrote a book that probably covers most of what you're asking about called Cradle to Canoe. Seems a few folks here on the forum have read it and found it useful. If there are any questions beyond what's covered in the book, feel free to ask - I'd be happy to do my best to answer. Canoeing was a passion of mine since early childhood. The gal I married introduced herself to me because she was keenly interested in the canoe I'd often have strapped to the roof of my car when coming in to work. When we got married, we arrived at our wedding reception in that same canoe. Our honeymoon was a wilderness canoe trip. Living in Canada, we're surrounded by a tradition of canoeing going back into ancient history. The natives who populated the land took their children with them by canoe and we saw no reason why we couldn't continue that tradtion. We started taking our kids with us from the time they were infants and have never regretted it. They are grown now, but still have a passion for paddling. I'm sure the time they spent with us paddling has made them better people. I highly recommend gettinig the kids involved - the eariler, the better too.

  13. #13
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    Never too young!!


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvergirl View Post
    Firstly a confession.

    We first got into open canoeing partly because it was an activity that we could drag the kids along on.
    Isn't that kind of cruel? Wouldn't they have enjoyed it more, being allowed in the canoe?

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvergirl View Post
    Firstly a confession.

    We first got into open canoeing partly because it was an activity that we could drag the kids along on. After two weeks Sea Kayaking in New Zealand, I did spend a while debating whether you could stuff a baby into the hatch or not , and decided it may not be very safe ( though I have since heard of people who have done this ).

    But open canoeing offers so much scope that it seemed like the logical thing to do would be to buy a boat . Our 16’ prospector gives us lots of scope from flat water touring to river trips, but as the children get bigger it is going to become a squeeze. We are looking at getting a solo boat sometime which will give us a bit more flexibility. One adult one child in each perhaps and the children on their own at somepoint, as well as just for me .

    A couple of threads have got me wondering about how old children should be before they get actively involved in paddling. Our children have got paddles that they wave around, get in the way with and generally have a good time .
    Our 4yr old has quite a good rhythm and for her age a reasonable concentration span. Our 7yr old ( a very scrawny 7yr old),( can you say that about your kids), is very keen to paddle in the bow and would like to learn some steering strokes so he can take charge. He also wants to learn to kayak this year. Am I allowed to mention the K word?

    Does anyone have experience of what you can expect from different ages? (I have sent 5yr olds off single handedly in optimist dinghies before, but there is not the same physical aspect)
    Are there any boats that would be particularly suitable for children to learn in ( canoes and kayak)?

    Any comments or suggestions or experiances gratefully accepted .
    .
    I've had different experiences with kids paddling. When I was a tyke, like most people my age, my parents were stricter with us than we've been with our children. At a very young age we were handed a paddle and advised we were there to help out. Non compliance or too much fooling around (splashing each other or touching the side of the canoe with the paddle) led to a swift swat. My siblings and I learned to paddle well at a very young age. It was serious business as we were on a very large lake and it was how we got around. Paddling was no time for tom-foolery. We also had a large group of very experienced paddlers to view and copy different strokes and methods of canoe handling from.

    When my kids were young, Wing was not too interested in the Girard family methods of canoe training. Not wanting every canoe outing to turn into a family fight, I layed off. Our kids farted around and consequently are still learning things I knew by the time I was 12.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  16. #16
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    Both of ours made flat water trips in the bottom of canoes (asleep) when they were about one. By five they were waving their mini paddles around. By eight both were competent paddlers, and this summer (12 and 10) they have done the Bowron Lakes with us (80 miles in British Columbia) as the bow paddlers in two canoes stern-paddled by their parents. They love canoeing and always have.
    PWC
    ___________________________________
    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  17. #17
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    Default Boats for kids

    The minuet is a great boat for youngsters as it has a very low freeboard and is pretty stable. However it's not made any more so you will have to try and find one second hand.
    With regard to kayaks, try the Perception Arcadia Scout, or the Dagger Dynamo, very different boats but both built especially for young people and therefore scaled correctly and with the right balance of volume.
    The Scout is a scaled down version of the Arcadia so is great for distance and touring but a bit of a pain to turn. The Dynamo is good on upto grade 2 moving water and is much shorter.

  18. #18
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    In the 20 months since I started this Thread, our children have continued to paddle (some what erratically) in their own style. In the canoes with us and on their own.

    Our son, now nearly 9 likes to be in charge or going through bouncy stuff otherwise its 'BORING'.
    Our daughter has continued to paddle sensibly and is good at keeping time (but she sometimes claims not to like canoes)

    We bought a Minuet (second hand) back in the spring and it has seen a fair amount of use since.




    The children are able to paddle for up to an hour on their own depending upon conditions (and things to keep them interested). They do however squabble almost constantly as siblings do anywhere.

    I guess giving them the responsibility of being in charge of their own canoe has helped.
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

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