Everything you need to know to get your kid started in kayaking
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?
Child/youth/Kid kayaks make THE BEST GIFTS for holidays and birthdays because they are an inexpensive yet life changing gateway to adventure, and also make an impressive gift for such a reasonable price!
2020 - the year of Covid and kids being endlessly cooped up indoors has only made it more important than ever to help them discover the outdoors, and kayaking is such an awesome way to get them there.
Black Friday, and the holidays in general, are one of the best times to get an inexpensive youth or child-sized kayak even though there are not usually any specific "2020 BLACK FRIDAY KID KAYAK BLOWOUTS" type holiday sales (for some reason it tends to be only adult sized kayaks on advertised Black Friday kayak deals), but because it's THE OFF-SEASON for water sports and all the kayaks are priced low this time of year it's a great time price-wise to get a kid kayak at an all-time low price.
If you look at this list of kayaks trending now on amazon for kids, EVERY kayak is selling for an average of $25 to $50 less than they sell for in summertime, and some are even $60 to $100 off of the regular price. The trick is whether you can find one in stock, since kayaks are hot-selling gifts (because they are big and impressive on Christmas or birthday mornings) and the companies, thinking it's the off-season, are notoriously terrible at keeping kid kayaks in stock during the off-season.
So if you can find a child-sized kayak IN STOCK during the holiday season online it's a great time to snatch one up because they tend to be marked down from top-selling spring and summer prices.
My Suggestion and Reviews of the HOTTEST SELLING KID KAYAKS FOR GIFTS this year for Black Friday, Christmas or even a Winter Birthday:
Specifically the hottest selling items as far as kid kayaking goes during the holidays, no surprise and for good reason, are the easy to use sit-on-top Lifetime Dash (6 feet 6 inches - great for all kids up to 150 lbs) and Lifetime Wave (6 feet great for the littlest kids 4 and up to 130 lbs). I recommend the Dash if your child is over 8 right now because it's going to last a few years longer. We own multiple and it's our go-to for all young kids visiting our house regardless of ago. However, the Wave is also fantastic and is the #1 most popular selling kayak for young kids because it's so easy for the tiniest kids down to age 4 or 5. They are exactly the same kayak besides the fact that the Dash is 6 inches longer so pick the size you think is best for your family. They are so cheap for the ridiculous amount of joy they bring I can almost guarantee you'll be back for more in the future. We collect them like like baseball cards.
For a child who is getting close to maxing out the Dash, or for a larger stature kid around ten or any teens, I would suggest the Perception Tribe as a gift. My twelve-year-old is still comfortably using a 6'6 kayaks for probably another year but if I was buying for him now I'd probably go bigger and get him something like the the Perception Tribe (9.5 feet long sit-inside).
Hybrid sit-on-top kid kayak/paddleboard...very cool gift this year!
So this is awesome. It's the Perception Hi Five. It's a hybrid kayak/paddleboard.
It can be paddled standing up or sitting down. Everything about it is kid-specific with little handles and lightweight everything. It's the coolest gift right now for kids who might want to try kayaking or paddle boarding and is right for kids up to 120 lbs and at 6 feet 6 inches long it will work until they are 12 - 14 years old (depending on their stature).
For inflatable youth kayaks the two top selling kayaks are the entry-level Intex Challenger (great value and user experience), and the more expensive but long lasting high-quality Advanced Elements Framed Inflatable, which can be customized with add-ons as your family grows into the sport over time. The Intex is $60 off right now as I'm writing this because it's the off-season and the Advanced Elements is $100 off! You would never see a discount like that in the spring or summer.
The best-selling gift kayak for a traditional sit-inside kayak for young kids age 7+ would be the Perception Prodigy XS. You can check here to see if it's back in stock, but it was sold out as I'm writing this. Maybe it will be back in stock soon, but like I said, the trick is finding the great kid kayaks in stock during the holidays. If they are in stock, no doubt they are marked down and are the best deals of the year.
The other sit-inside kayaks I would recommend as gifts would be:
Entry Level, low price - the Perception Flash. It's 9.5 feet long and is a good entry-level kayak that even has rod-holders for your child's fishing poles. It's good for kids 9 and up.
Comfortable, mid-range - The Perception Joy Ride is an awesome 10-foot kayak that is a more comfortable to use and is mid-level priced. It is a great kayak for young teens all the way up to young adults.
(If you think you may take your teens kayak out for a spin ever go for this one rather than the Flash...).
What is the best gift for my 5-year-old? A kid kayak! (Yes -they can kayak at five!)
What is the best is the best gift for your 7- year-old? -- A kids kayak
What is the best gift for a 10-year-old girl? Yes, yes, it's a kids kayak
What is the best gift for a 12-year-old boy? ...Kids Kayak
What is the best gift for a 15-year-old son or daughter? Kayak! Kayak! Kayak!
Here are the 10 Reasons Why a Kid Kayak is the Coolest Gift Your Kid Will Every Receive:
IT IS LARGE AND IMPRESSIVE ON A BIRTHDAY OR CHRISTMAS MORNING
Just imagine your kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and seeing a 6,8, or even 10-foot wrapped present leaning against the wall with a bow on it. It is an impressive start to Christmas morning! You know that they will always remember what they got for Christmas that year! If a kid had never owned a bicycle, then that is the most impressive gift they could get on Christmas morning, but most kids have a bike. A kayak is the next coolest thing a kid can possibly get from their parents or grandparents on Christmas morning.
IT IS A PERSONAL BOAT FOR A KID . . . ONLY A PERSONAL AIRPLANE CAN BEAT THAT!
Yes, you are giving your kid their own boat, and yet it is super-easy to store because it is only 6 or 8 feet long (thank you to whoever make a kid-sized version. You are my hero!). The same way bikes come in sizes for adults, teenagers, tweens, and even little tiny children, so do kayaks. I never knew this until a few years ago. Seeing a 5-year-old paddle around the water all by themselves is so amazing, much like watching your little one learn to ride a tricycle or use their training wheels or take off on two wheels for the first time. I will say that learning to use a kayak is MUCH EASIER than learning to ride a bike, and there are no skinned knees involved! Joy! But it also gives them the same type of ability to explore and discover things in the world around them as a bicycle does.
IT WON'T GET THROWN AWAY IN JANUARY
This present will stick around and bless your kid and probably his or her friends and younger siblings for years to come. You will get your money's worth after the first time or two you use it, yet it will serve your family for years. After all the junky Christmas presents have been donated or thrown out, this one will be treasured. My goal each year is to eliminate as much as possible the nonsense gifts and get fewer gifts that are better quality and more useful to our family in the year to come.
IT GIVES EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Some presents get the family excited for spring. One year we bought our kids a basketball hoop for Christmas morning, and everyone was so anxious to use it together (even a few times in the snow!). A kid kayak is like that. It sets an excitement in the air for adventures ahead and gives everyone something to look forward to in the coming new year.
IT IS GIVING YOUR KIDS A PORTAL TO THE OUTDOORS AND TO THEIR OWN JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY (Few gifts can do that!)
A kid kayak is so easy to use, and when they are equipped with a life jacket, and they are on calm water, you will see them figure it out in a few minutes and then go off exploring on their own. It is the most incredible feeling they will get as they navigate the challenge on their own. Kids don't get as many opportunities for self-discovery in the outdoors as they used to, and a kayak changes all of that.
IT CAN SET A COOL THEME FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS THAT YEAR
Sometimes it can be so hard to figure out what gifts to buy your kids for Christmas. Getting your kid a kayak can set a cool theme for the year. Even though all you need to get started in kayaking is a kayak and life jacket, you now have a whole list of fun extras you can buy as gifts that relate to having a kayak, camping or the outdoors. Kayak, life jacket, paddle, a stylish stainless-steel water bottle, binoculars, possibly a fishing pole, a dry bag for their cell phone, water shoes or sandals, a hat...the list goes on and on. Now it's easy to think of presents for this year, and all of them are useful! Now you don't have to buy anymore toys or video games. Kayak-centric gifts get your kids outside.
IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY COMPLICATED PACKAGING TO DEAL WITH
Oh, the joy of not having to fold up cardboard and try to smash it into the recycling bin the day after Christmas, or pry toys out of plastic or spend an hour untwisting those horrible twisty ties they use to hold toys into the packaging. Our kayak came from Amazon with free shipping in a plastic bag and was leaning against the door a few days later. You may need to be careful that your kids don't see it when they come home from school. Watch the delivery day and have your kids out of the house or call your UPS person to see what time it is going to arrive.
IT CAN WORK AS A PRESENT FOR MULTIPLE KIDS
If you have any two kids under the age of twelve, they can both use the same best selling sit-on-top child-sized kayak, though it would probably be more fun to get them each one in a different color (click to see a pink kid kayak and to see a yellow kid kayak or for all available 6 foot kayak colors.), but yes, one kayak could work for multiple kids!
IT COMES RIGHT TO YOUR FRONT DOOR
No need to strap anything to the roof of your car, it shows up on your front door a few days after you click a few buttons online. It is small and light and easy to manage. Thank you, Amazon for letting me do all of my shopping online!
I just am so grateful for delivery to my front door and free shipping! Thank you thank you thank you. Christmas list, check! Done! No crowded stores! Holiday bliss!
IT IS AFFORDABLE
For around $100 you can get a kid age 5 to 12 a kayak, and for any kids over 12 you can get one for between $100 and $300, or even as low as $70 for an inflatable kayak (which are very high-quality and fun to use).
After their first bicycle, a kayak is the next coolest thing you can get for the price.
The great thing is that you as the parent don't need to be a kayaker. You can let your kids play with the kayaks on the edge of a calm lake or even in a swimming pool.
When I bought my kids their first kayaks, I would use my stand-up paddleboard for myself while my little ones paddled themselves around a lazy river on their tiny kayaks, searching for turtles and frogs. As we've taken friends and neighbor kids out on these adorable child-sized boats, I've realized they are good for all kids and families, whether they are the outdoorsy type or not. They are safe, easy to use, and so much fun and the best memory-making gift I have ever bought for my kids!
Merry Christmas to Your Family From Ours! And Happy Paddling!
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.
You may also be interested in:
We made this website using Weebly. It was an easy and fun family project. To create your own website using Weebly, click here for 10% off your first website.
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.