Paddle boarding with kids is great for so many reasons.
As a parent, I think it is great to get kids involved in our hobbies so that they see us having fun and we can enjoy life together.
It’s also great for their balance and strength.
Another awesome benefit of paddle boarding with kids is the time you’ll spend connecting with nature. Enjoying the outdoors is so important.
So, how do you go about paddle boarding with kids?
Below we’ll explain how we go paddle boarding with kids (our toddlers and their older cousins).
We’ll share some safety tips and how to encourage a love of paddling!
Safety Tips for Paddle Boarding with Kids
1. Teach your child to swim.
It’s important that a child can swim before they are taken paddle boarding.
It’s also a good idea to practice wild swimming as this will help children to feel more confident on the water.
Swimming outdoors feels very different to swimming in a pool with set depths and warm water.
2. Make sure you’re a competent paddle boarder.
In addition to making sure your child can swim you should ensure that you are confident on a board.
Consider whether you would manage to pull a child from the water without falling off the board.
3. Always wear a personal flotation device.
You’ll often see people boarding without a personal flotation device but it’s not a great idea.
Having been on volunteer lifeboat crew for a number of years it isn’t something I would consider doing with children on board.
4. Let someone know where you are going.
It goes without saying that you need to tell someone who you’re going out on the water.
Text them when you leave and when you get back.
If possible someone can watch from shore.
5. Check you board is suitable.
You’ll need to ensure that your board has enough buoyancy to hold both you and your child.
If you feel that they are old enough and confident swimmers then they could have their own board.
Younger children should start on your board. Let them sit, then kneel and then stand when they feel ready.
6. Practice falling off and getting back on.
It’s a good idea to have a play around with jumping on and off the board with your child.
Check that they can get back on when they need to.
Getting wet early on will also mean that they’re less worried about falling off.
When they fall you want them to avoid putting their hands out to catch their fall. If they fall with arms braced it can cause them to sprain their wrist if it catches on a rail on their way down.
7. Always check the weather forecast.
Check the weather before setting off. A SUP GPS watch can help you to keep track of the weather.
Don’t paddle in offshore winds and be aware that the weather can change quickly.
8. Only take one child at a time.
I only take one child out at a time, whether they are on my board or their own.
9. Leash or no leash?
There ate pro’s and con’s to attaching a leash to a child.
It can help them to find their board again should they need to but they could also get tangled if they can’t work the quick release.
The choice is yours to make.
10. Dress appropriately.
If it’s sunny remember sunglasses, sunscreen and a sun hat. During colder weather you’ll want boots and warm kit.
We’ve listed some essentials at the end of this Kids Paddle Board Guide.
Where To Go Paddle Boarding With Kids
As one of the fastest growing sports at the moment it shouldn’t be too difficult to find like-minded people near you.
Here are some tips for finding suitable places for kids paddle boarding:
1. Search for groups on Facebook.
They’re a great place to ask about safe places to paddle with kids or to ask any questions you have about paddle boarding in general.
2. Find a club.
It’s a good idea to SUP with other people, especially if you’re new to it.
Some areas also have clubs or meet ups that are great places for learning and building confidence and skills.
3. Look for lessons or SUP hire.
Many safe paddling areas will have SUP hire or lessons for the very reason that they’re great for beginners.
For us paddle boarding is about fun, fresh air and fitness.
4. Find a safe body of water.
You don’t want to be paddle boarding with kids on water with currents or waves.
Lakes, calm beaches, and safe bays are good places to start. Just think about places you’d let your child body board or swim.
Amusing Kids While Paddle Boarding!
Many kids will love spending time on the water if we make it fun and follow their lead.
1. Go at their pace.
Our eldest at two years old was a little hesitant at first but after a few minutes in the shallows he loved jumping on and off the board.
If your child is afraid to paddle in deep water then let them play in the shallows until they feel confident to venture further.
2. Make it fun.
Play games like I spy or count how long it takes you to paddle to a landmark.
3. Pack a toy, a drink and snacks.
If your child is sitting on your board then there’s no reason why they can’t bring a little toy along for the ride.
A toy that floats a little before disappearing beneath the water is a good choice!
4. Talk to them.
Paddle boarding with kids is a great opportunity to talk to them about our geography, nature and caring for our planet.
Talk about the water cycle, tadpoles and tides.
You could even get involved in a Paddle and Pick litter picking group.
There are some beautiful books you can get to support these conversations.
We’d love to hear why you’re keen to get paddle boarding with kids…let us know in the comments!