Happy Earth Day everyone! Earth Day, for me, is all about getting outside whatever way you can. This can involve planting some flowers or a tree, taking a hike through the woods, or whatever else you enjoy doing in the great outdoors. In honor of Earth Day and to help conclude the Natural Parenting and Earth Month blog hop, today I am sharing about our canoeing adventure last Earth Day and some tips on boating with young children.
In the kiddie pool one afternoon my daughter invented a game based, of course, on the Sound of Music. She loves the part of the movie when the kids and Maria all stand up in the boat and then fall into the lake. Soon they were standing next to the pool and then diving sideways into the pool with their arms waving widely. This put the idea in my mind that they might enjoy trying out for an actual boat ride - without all the falling into the lake part of course.
The following weekend (because boating with two 3 year olds alone is outside even my idea of possible) all four of us headed to the lovely Devil's Lake State Park and rented a canoe and life jackets. After the initial giddy chatter about the canoe and the paddles and the rules of the boat, our twins settled down. We enjoyed a nice quiet half hour paddling around the lake. They noticed the occassional bird flying over head and tried to spot fish swimming below us. They asked some questions about the paddles and desperately wanted to give them a try. We let them attempt to paddle with one of us when we were in a nice quiet spot. Eventually we headed back to shore. Our canoe trip probably lasted about 30 minutes.
10 Tips for Canoeing with Toddlers & Preschoolers:
1. Life jackets for all are a must, but make sure your child sized ones fit well. We brought our own and rented adults ones. Even though I don't always wear my life jacket when canoeing, when I'm with our kids I do. Role model for them the importance of being safe.
2. Bring a towel or foam pad to make the bottom of the canoe more comfortable and to designate their space.
3. Plan a trip length that fits their attention span. We canoed out about 10 minutes and then took our time coming back.
4. Pay attention to the weather. You don't want to get stuck on a windy or rainy day in the middle of a lake with children.
5. Take a bathroom try before everyone gets in the canoe.
6. Let them explore the canoe before you get it in the water. If they are interested talk about the parts, how to get in and out, where to sit, etc.
7. Discuss safety rules before hand. Our twins sat in the bottom of the canoe and they needed to stay seated at all times.
8. As delightful as a quiet, still lake can be, don't expect your children to be silent. Plan to sing songs, look and talk about wildlife or other boats, etc.
9. Bring a dry bag for your phone and other valuables. This is always a good idea, but especially with children.
10. Have fun! Relax and enjoy your trip.
Make sure to check out these other ideas for Celebrating Earth Day & enter the Rafflecopter to win some awesome prizes!
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