Kids were Born to Explore...
Kids were Born to Explore, and as parents we have to be skilled and ready to go!
It’s a wonderful experience to see the joy in your kids’ eyes as they are exploring the outdoors. It doesn’t take much effort to find an adventure for kids in a local hiking trail, park, or playground. In personal outings with our kids, we have found the most joy in some of the simplest trails & outings, but have also cemented the best memories in our more wild adventures.
Both my wife and I have paddled and canoe tripped a lot, so it’s been a natural next-step to take our kids on canoe outings. When our first child was born, there was a big discussion amongst paddling friends that you can take babies out on canoe trips. We opted to wait until our eldest girl was 3 years old before taking her on her first canoe trip. Our 2nd child was 18 months old when we took her on her first canoe camping experience. In both cases the Churchill River System in Northern SK was our choice. To some this may have seemed extreme, but to us this was the safest and best place to paddle. When folks ask me if the Grey Owl Trip in PA National Park is the best choice for a first canoe trip I always answer a hard “no”. Not only are you paying more fees for the camping and access, but Kingsmere Lake is big and when that sucker kicks up in the wind or a rain storm, your trip will be altered or possibly even become dangerous. The beauty of the Churchill River System upstream or downstream from Missinipe, SK is that the lakes are smaller with more islands for shelter and the camping is free!
Kids on canoe trips just makes total sense. For those that have already done trips with their kids, they are nodding in agreement. The canoe allows you to travel in a group at relatively the same pace, allows more space for equipment and gear than a backpack, and in Northern SK, there are limitless amounts of destinations to travel to and from. The trip plans do need some adjustments for pace, breaks, types of food, and snack quantities, but once you have that figured out it’s great.
If someone was to ask me the best tip for taking kids out on canoe trips I would simply answer, kids are comfortable and have fun when YOU are comfortable and having fun. That comfort can be learned, IF you take the right course.
Word of caution… if you push, force, or pressure your kids and they are scared or uncomfortable, you will create a negative memory and that will be a big barrier to cross in the future.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me “How do I LEARN how to take my kids canoeing?” I’d have enough money to register someone for this new course we are offering... For the first time, we are offering a course to help teach parents & kids how to canoe, camp, cook, and be comfortable in the wilderness. https://prairiesummitshop.com/programs/parent-kid-canoe-wilderness-course-july-30-aug-2
The Parent & Kid Canoe Course was created to teach the necessary skills in safe environment, while challenging both the parents and the children to learn something new together! The instructors are qualified not only with their skillset and experience in their field, but have also done these adventures with their own kids! Our goal is to build confidence so that more parents will feel comfortable taking their kids on extended outdoor adventures, knowing what their strengths are, but also knowing their limitations.
Summer is near, let the kids adventures begin!