We are active people and we enjoy being around water so kayaking seemed to be the perfect way to spend a birthday. We set out to spend the day kayaking and prepared some food for a picnic midway, as it was our son’s first time on such a long kayak trip (he’s 3 years old) we also started getting him excited about it a couple of days before.
It’s something that worked well for us in the past on these adventures, we start explaining what we will do and what to expect on the trip, what he can do to help and so, by the time we go he knows exactly what to do and how the day will play out.

Verknė river in Lithuania

We kayaked before in large lakes and river’s and always thought that it was fun but lacked that excitement of the unknown, and we guessed that the perfect location for a kayak trip would be a small river with lots of turns and where you couldn’t see past a couple of meters in front.
Verknė river is just perfect, with lots of turns and a depth of 1 to two meters, it’s a fast river to kayak full of fun moments passing through shallow areas, sharp turns and resting areas.

Nature

We were kayaking in the summer and the weather was great, the river’s banks are full of trees and we even got to pick wild berries that our son loved. The area was quite rural and we didn’t cross any village, but we did notice quite a few adventure lodges offering kayak and other activities so I guess this is quite a popular place in Lithuania.

Is kayaking with a child dangerous?

People´s perceptions about danger are quite different and I’m sure some people will see this as more or less dangerous than it really is. Any outdoor adventure as some risk associated with it and as a parent we should be extra careful and also know our child and take their personality into account. You could be kayaking down a calm water river and out of nothing have a child jump out because his hat was taken by the wind, but most likely it will be boring for them and from time to time you’ll need to hit the bank and create some sort of interest to keep them engaged, we started making small boats out of branches and leafs and race them to keep him interested.
With a good life jacket that fits well it’s perfectly fine, we bought one that we take everywhere with us even on plane trips as we found the ones on rentals to be too big for him. If a life jacket isn’t fitter well it serves no purpose.

How to kayak?

One of the cool things about kayaking is that it’s pretty simple, put on your life jacket grab a paddle and start. To learn proper technique takes a bit longer and there are some basic things you should watch for, the flow of the river and the different paddle technique’s.
If possible and if you’re planning to go on deep river’s, lakes or open water, learn how to re-enter the kayak first, then try 3 different paddling types:

  1. The draw stroke – planting the blade to the side and then pulling the boat and the body sideways towards it, very useful to change direction.
  2. The sweep stroke – Plant the blade near the toes and sweep the blade in a wide arch with the blade as far out to the side of the kayak as you can.
  3. Reverse stroke – Exactly what it sounds like, you do a stroke in reverse.