Kayaking is a favorite family pastime for lots of reasons. Gliding across the water, looking down at fish, seeing waterfowl swim alongside you, all under a bluebird sunny sky. What’s not to like? With lots of different kayak styles to choose from, a family of three might easily fit in a tandem while their little one is still young and a family of four could occupy a set of twin tandems, and paddle side-by-side. For a day out together, parent and child could get away with fitting in one kayak until the child grows too big. Here are some reasons why kayaking is a good investment for your family…
It’s the gift that keeps on giving
Upfront cost can seem high to purchase gear for kayaking. However, when multiplied out over dozens of outings just in your first season - the sticker shock drops. Remember, once you have the gear, kayaking is essentially free. Although each waterway has its own rules and regulations around passes and fees, many reservoirs and paddle spots off back country roads have no cost. Plus, if you already have a local State Park Pass, National Parks Pass or other seasonal land and water passes, river and lake access may already be at your fingertips. Comparing these costs to movie admission, take-out food and souvenirs from a theme park, cinema or other urban family day out is no contest. Make the upfront investment on kayaking and save in the long run.
Teamwork makes the dream work
When things go wrong on the water or in the wilderness, although at first it may seem jarring, it’s also an opportunity to build character. If someone isn’t feeling well and has to power out another 20 minutes of strokes to get back to land, these situations build character and help kids overcome challenges in bite sized doses. If you forget a critical piece of gear in the car or at home, this is a chance to brainstorm solutions. Being in the great outdoors is always an opportunity to build character rather than crumble when something doesn’t go according to plan. Pro tip for not forgetting gear? Make a spreadsheet gear list, go over it every time you pack the car and let the kids help. Make it a game. Make it a living document and keep adding to it. Learning how to tackle logistics is also character building.
Being sequestered from screens and video games
The great thing about water is that it doesn’t mix well with screens or electronics. Next time you want to ask your kids to take a break from their smartphones or iPads, suggest a kayaking trip instead! Avoid the usual ugly argument and dissension and opt for splashing, laughs and fun for the whole family in kayaks. Your kids won’t even remember they liked video games after they start kayaking.
Breathing fresh air and exercising
Eating dinner together and playing board games as a family are wonderful activities, but they typically happen indoors. When your family is outside breathing deep and exercising together, not only is it a small miracle, it’s also healthy. Not only are these important aspects of life to work in everyday as a family, but they have become harder and harder with crowded parks and outdoor urban centers in the age of COVID. Just remember, kayaking is a family bubble, anti-germ-sharing in stagnant indoor spaces, pandemic friendly, safe sport.
They grow up so fast
Watching your child grow up while participating in a family sport like kayaking is an amazing experience. Watching them first as a toddler sit in the cockpit with you, then advance to swim lessons and paddling in a tandem to having their own kayak and navigating solo is a mirror for what parenting is all about in the first place.
Happy paddling - See you and your family on the water soon!