Everything you need to know to get your kid started in kayaking
Can a ten-year-old kayak?
Kayaking is the perfect sport for ten year olds. Kids age ten can paddle a child-sized kayak for half a mile up to a mile on calm water. They are big enough and strong enough to paddle their own child-sized kayak casually around calm water, or they can paddle a tandem kayak further distances with an experienced paddler.
What size of kayak should I get for a ten-year-old?
Ten-year-olds need a kayak that is between 6 and 10 feet in length, with 6.5 to 9.5 feet being most appropriate.
What is the best kayak for a ten-year-old?
The 3 best kayaks for ten-year-olds:
When my oldest was ten he and his friends would kayak up and down our pond looking for turtles, dragonflies, lily pads and anything else they could find. They also raced, had picnics, and took pictures. It was pure joy.
I was amazed at how easily all three of my boys, and also all the little friends that would come and try kayaking in our backyard all picked up paddling within just a few minutes on the water. Even the ones that were scared had no problem once the paddle was in their hands.
The key was that it was a no-pressure situation. The water was calm, the kayak was kid-sized, and because it was sit-on-top and not a sit-inside their was no intimidation factor or fear of taking on water if they flipped.
When kids are brand to new kayaking it's easiest to start with a sit-on-top child-sized kayak.
Best and most popular child-sized sit-on-top kayak for ten-year-olds who are brand new to paddling
The Lifetime Dash is essentially the same kayak as the ever popular Lifetime Wave but is 6 inches longer. That extra 6 inches is really nice for kids age ten and up.
This is the first kayak my kids started with (Dash). Actually, we have two of them. The price is really affordable, the kayak is worth every penny.
The weight limit is 150 lbs. This kayak is easy to carry and loads of fun for young kids. It is very tough material, light enough for my 9-year-old to drag across the yard himself (it has a nice little built-in carrying handle). My kids love the bright colors they come in. You can get one in hot pink, lime green, bright orange, yellow or blue. Each kid gets their own color, and they think that is awesome.
I have not met one parent who has regretted this purchase. Many of our neighbors and friends have bought the Lifetime Wave or Dash kid kayak for their child after kayaking in our backyard with our family. They are cheap, durable, fun and easy to use.
The dash has a little swim deck on the back that make it easy to climb on and off the kayak to play in the water. There is room on the back to tow a younger sibling.
Best sit-on-top kayak for larger stature 10-year-olds who will be sharing with older siblings
Perception Tribe in 9 1/2 feet
(this is a small kayak but it is not child-sized)
Perception Tribe in a small 9.5 foot length is the best entry-level sit-on-top kayak for kids starting about age 10. It is lightweight and perfect for teens but works for kids from age 10 and up.
This is the biggest sit-on-top kayak I would get for 10-year-olds and it would be my top choice for families whose YOUNGEST child is 10.
If your oldest child is ten and you have other little kids I would suggest you instead start with the Lifetime Dash if they will all be sharing kayaks. This kayak is great for kids age 10 and up to young adults to share.
The perception tribe in 9.5 length are versatile kayaks. They are generally the next size up from a 6 or 6.5 ft kids kayak.
They are easy to navigate, but also fits larger paddlers as well (up to 300 lbs).
It has an adjustable seat back and cushy padded seat. While smaller kayaks come with kids paddles, at this size you will need to order your own paddle.
For this width of kayak (31 1/4"), choose a 230 cm paddle for kids under 6 feet tall and 240 cm paddle for 6 feet and taller. Read my Paddle Guide and Reviews for more information about a paddle to go with this or any other kids kayak.
Best sit-inside kayak for ten-year-olds
Perception Prodigy XS 10 feet
The Perception Prodigy 10 feet long, 23" wide with a weight limit of 150 lbs.
These are FAST boats because they weigh only 26 lbs.
Quick and easily maneuverable, they are also very stable. At 26 lbs they are light enough 10-year-olds to move around and to help load.
They are narrow enough that the kids can use appropriately kid-sized paddles without banging their fingers on the sides.
They have real, adjustable foot pegs, which is a huge plus.
Petite women also enjoy using this kayak. It comes in a few different colors.
For this size of kayak (23" wide) consider a paddle between 190 and 210 cm. (see our paddle guide for kids paddle sizing.)
What paddle does a ten-year-old need?
Ten-year-olds need a paddle with sized-down blades and a narrow shaft for easy paddling in lengths between 182 cm up to 210 cm.
What life jacket does a ten-year-old need?
Ten-year-olds paddling on calm water need a Type 3 neoprene or nylon life jacket.
For more information on what paddle size is right for 10-year-olds see my Kids Kayaking Paddle Guide.
For more information on what life jacket is best for your 10-year-old see my Kayaking Kids Life Jacket Guide.
Kayaking exposes kids to the wonders of the outdoors and new sensations.
Yes! Your 10 year old can paddle a kayak!
What is the best kid Christmas gift of 2020/2021 to get our youth back outdoors?
This gift is going to be fun to use, exciting to open, and gets our little ones outdoors again.
KID-SIZED Perception Hi Five kayak paddleboard HYBRID
This year Kayakingkids.com votes for the child-sized kayak/paddleboard hybrids, and specifically the PERCEPTION HI FIVE. What is a hybrid kayak/paddleboard? It's similar to the all-time best selling sit-on-top Lifetime Wave and Dash sit-on-top kayaks, but with the strategic design of the Hi Five Hybrid kids can also stand on their youth-sized kayak and experience the thrill of paddleboarding as well as sit and paddle it like a traditional sit-on-top kayak.
The more we get our kids outside the better.
Always. But never as true as right now during the COVID/Coronavirus years when are kid have been cooped up indoors huddled over Chromebooks all day for school.
Whatever we can do to get them outdoors gives them back a little bit of the childhood we want for them.
What is a kayak paddleboard hybrid?
They are new to the scene of kayaking and kid-sized water recreation toys and are essentially a kayak designed to stand up on if you want to.
There is something undeniably fun about paddleboarding...(standing up on the water?!) and it used to be reserved only for surfers but now we all get to experience it with the sport of SUP. BUT with little ones it can get tricky. Sometimes kids get tired and need to sit down and rest while stand up paddle boarding (at least mine do) and paddling from a sitting position on a paddleboard can be challenging for small kids. But bring in a kayak you can stand on and kids are getting the best of both worlds.
I know my younger kids are always trying to stand up on our collection of Lifetime Dash but there is no where for their feet to be flat and it usually ends in a big spash! Maybe I'll add a little video or youtube link here to show you.
The hybrids add another dimension of fun to a day of play at the lake. Sit-on-tops really are the best water toys ever created for kids and grown-ups alike. They are intuitive to use and very safe if you are on the right water and wearing a life jacket.
If you think your kids might like to try standing up on their kayak consider checking out the Perception HI FIVE.
For other recommendations for the best kayak for your family to get your feet wet in the sport click here for my guide and some suggestions to get you paddling in the right direction.
Play and nature heal kids from stress so get them out there.
Just take the first step and you'll be glad you did.
Here is all you need:
That is all you need to spend a day at a calm lake with the kids this year, no experience required.
Check out our guide and reviews on kayaks, paddles and life jackets at the top of the page.
You can do it Mom or Dad. Some things we help our kids try can change their lives by opening a door of discovery for them. Kayaking is one of those doors!
All the best to your family from ours,
Seven-year-olds are ready to paddle and have many options for entering the world of kayaking. By seven years of age most kids can do all of the following:
Seven years old is a great age to begin kayaking - they are strong enough to have success and a lot of fun!
Option 1 : Paddling a Child-Sized Kayak
Kids 5 to 12 can paddle a child-sized kayak. For families completely new to kayaking this is usually a 6 or 6.5 foot sit-on-top kayak such as the popular and inexpensive Lifetime Wave, or for those looking for sit-inside kayaks something similar to the light and nimble Perception Prodigy XS. See our kid kayak reviews and paddle reviews for more suggestions.
Almost all 6-year-old children are able and ready to paddle a child-sized kayak on calm bodies of water. Six-year-old children can also enjoy kayaking in the following ways:
Six years old is a great age to begin paddling a small kayak
Here is what my experience having many kids try out kayaking on our river the past few years has taught me about starting kids on the little kid kayaks:
Can a 5-year-old paddle a kayak?
Most 5-year-old kids are ready to practice paddling their own child-sized kayak. In addition, five-year-old children can enjoy kayaking in the following variety of ways:
Last year our youngest son was four (we have three boys), and he tried paddling a kayak for the first time! Though his first excursions were short, he absolutely loved it! This year he is turning five and eagerly awaiting spring so he can practice paddling the kayak up and down the banks of the calm river that runs through the back of our property.
Can a 4-year-old go kayaking?
our-year-old children can enjoy kayaking in a few different ways :
Right size of gear for a 4-year-old
The right size of kayak for a four-year-old wanting to paddle alone is a 6' or 6.5' child-sized kayak, and generally this is going to be a sit-on-top kayak at this age. The child will use either a 152 or 182 cm kayak paddle. Kayaks such as the popular 6' Wave Kayak come with a 182 cm paddle and this is what our four-year-old used last summer.
The child-sized kayaks do suggest on the box a recommend age of 5-year-old and up, so realize that any use a 4-year-old gets practicing on it is really a bonus.
Our experience with four-year-olds and kayaks
Our four-year-old son Hudson has been riding on the back of his brother's child-sized sit-on-top kayak since he was three. Together they have been on many adventures to collect lily pads and find turtles and frogs along the bank of the millpond. Riding with his brother feels like an adventure and helped to get him used to the idea of being out in a big body of water floating on a kayak.
Paddling a kayak is very intuitive. Kids only take a few minutes of sitting on a kayak and playing around in the water with a paddle to start to get a feel for what to do. Then the fun begins! Your child will be so excited to propel themselves through the water, even if they don't go in a straight line at first. They will get a feel for how to use their paddle to maneuver their kayak. They will improve with experience and as they get stronger.
For many children, basic paddle strokes come very naturally, and it is not always necessary to discuss every stroke before they get in the water, though talking through stroke techniques as your child makes progress can help them grown in skill.
Besides a kayak and a paddle, the only other thing you need is a life jacket (also called life vest, personal flotation device, PFD) to get your kid on the water. Strangely, choosing a life jacket can be more overwhelming than choosing a kayak! The following advice and recommendations will help you get your child outfitted in the right size, type and material so you can get them out on the water!
Kid Life Jackets: Neoprene Versus Nylon
Neoprene life jackets are softer, more fitted and tend to be more comfortable for kids but do cost more than nylon. Nylon life jackets dry faster and are less expensive, but tend to be bulkier and ride up, sometimes pushing on the child's chin when sitting on a boat and while floating in the water.
How much does a kayak for a child cost?
A kid-sized kayak for the youngest child ranges in price from as low as $80 up to about $130 for a sit-on-top kayak and usually includes a paddle.
For a sit-inside kayak for small children, the price starts at about $350 for something like the Old Town Heron Junior, and can be as high as $900 for a high-end brand such as Riot, Jackson or Dagger.
How much is a kayak for youth, such as kids 12 and up?
Kayaks for youth 12 and older can cost as low as $70 for an inflatable kayak, $260 for a small 8-foot sit-on-top kayak, and as little as $180 for an 8-foot sit-inside kayak up to a Prices tend to vary quite a bit from year to year and seasonally so check current prices on my kayak reviews tab.
How much should I spend on my kid's first kayak?
When deciding what type of kayak to buy for my family to learn on, I had to do a lot of reading about the different styles of kayaks that are out there and the benefits of each. What I learned is that sit-on-top kayaks are excellent for beginners, families, children and are so uncomplicated that anyone can feel comfortable beginning with one as all of the intimidation factor is taken away.
Are sit-on-top-kayaks easier to get started with than sit-inside kayaks?
Almost six years ago we moved into a little New England house with a river in the backyard and quickly discovered the joy of kayaking kids.
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Legal Information: This site is meant as a log of our family's opinions and experiences, but is in no way a comprehensive safety guide for kayaking. Kayak at your own risk and research well anything pertaining to your family's safety. This site shares our experiences and products we have tried and researched. There are affiliate links used to reference the products being reviewed.