I didn't grow up in a kayak. In fact I don't think we got one or I was even ever in one until maybe middle school at the earliest. But once we got a taste of kayaks my dad and I were hooked! There is just nothing like being able to explore the smallest of creeks, float smoothly over the shallowest of pools and get into places in such a quiet, calm way all by yourself. I find comfort in seeing ducks, turtles, snakes and birds from the seat of my kayak. I find peace out on the water in my kayak, a reconnection with what I love that I can't get in many other places.
I was the luckiest girl in the world that I had parents that understood that and on the day of my college graduation gave me my kayak as a graduation gift!
This love of mine has taken a backseat for far too long now. With young kids, moving and only having one kayak it just hasn't been high on the priority list. I have not made it the priority that it should be.
But when Sam, Avery and I explored Cherokee marsh the other day I caught the urge to see that little river and those back waters from the inside of my kayak.
So today we went! And I cannot tell you how my heart swelled to be able to share that time with BOTH of my girls.
The Nitty Gritty!
First off, we desperately need to get the girls lifejackets. I am well aware that the swimming floaty they were wearing in the pictures above is not an acceptable life saving device! We will be getting on the purchase ASAP!
I also wanted to share just a little bit about how we made this work so well today.
I got the kayak out this afternoon in the backyard. I let Sam and Avery climb all over and play with both the boat and the paddle quite a bit. Then I showed Sam how I would sit in the boat, how she would sit between my legs and how I would hold the paddle. We talked in length while we were pretending about why we sit very still, what we might see and how she would need to behave. By the end of our playing time Sam was very excited and knew all the rules.
While I was in the boat with Sam I showed her how the boat moved from side to side easily and how it would be easy to tip over if we reached to far to one side. I think this helped to show her why we can't reach over to put our hands in the water. The whole thing was so new and surprising for Avery that I didn't need to control her very much. She sat very still and only moved when she got excited about seeing a bird.
Both girls sat happily in the boat, didn't try to reach into the water and didn't move around much. I was very proud of both of them.
Getting your kids out in kayaks or canoes does not require buying them. You can easily do a yellow pages, google or yahoo search for canoe/kayak outfitters in your area. I would suggest calling ahead to find out the type of water they will be putting you in, the sizes of lifejackets they have available and the length of time their trips take. These would all be important factors to iron out and would be different depending on the age of your children.
We have a river canoe trip coming up in June so this was our first practice run. I am planning on getting the girls out in the kayak a few more times (focusing on that since we have it so easily available) and then at least one adventure for all of us in a canoe. Practice makes perfect!