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Old 02-10-2016   #31
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 32
All good info - can't add much more - IKs are great - get them paddling as soon as they can (and you are comfortable with it). Keep them safe, happy, and engaged and you will have a blast. Upper San Juan (bluff to mex hat) and labrynth are excellent starters for kids.

The only other advice I would have is start them early, and go as often as you can. I started my boys when they were 6 and 8, and now they're in their 20s and I have to bring three boats to the river 'cause they each want to row their own. The best part is they're in their 20s and it's still okay to vacation with the parents, as long as we're headin' to the river.

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Old 02-10-2016   #32
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 28
Originally Posted by jamwin33 View Post
...The best part is they're in their 20s and it's still okay to vacation with the parents, as long as we're headin' to the river.
Successful parenting in my book.

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Old 02-11-2016   #33
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Lots of good ideas here. We've been doing multi day trips with ours since 18mos and I've found that if you keep them comfortable, they can easily find ways to have fun for a full day on a raft. The keys for us were a Bimini for shade, lots of dry towels, warm clothes and rain jackets and lots of snack breaks. The main thing is keep them comfortable and fed. They'll figure out the rest.

They spend a lot of time rowing the raft (if we're not in a hurry), hopping between boats in our group, swimming, fishing, playing with squirt guns, and paddling a blow-up Kmart raft. Also, break up the day with lunch on a cool beach.

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Old 02-11-2016   #34
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Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
Pick easy river miles, give yourself time to stop at cool stuff, like awesome swimming holes and cool beaches. Days that went bad for us usually revolve around getting a late start and or picking too long of a float. I'm a newer boater myself I still suck at estimating how long a section will take. I also marvel at how fast commercial guides navigate honestly I can never keep up so when asking advice from a guide I always add time. They are pros and know how to follow every current.

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Old 02-11-2016   #35
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
I have an 11 year old who's been on the water since he was 18 mos and an almost 2 year old whose first trip was 5 days on the Juan at 6 weeks old.

With that kind of age span, this is what I've learned:

1. Lots of snacks- our kids will boat hop until they've eaten everyone out of snacks.
2. The right kind of toys- things they don't usually use at home are good as well as favorites like stuffed animals for comfort. We like kites and bubbles since they make the most of a headwind. Glow in the dark or light up balls are fun for games of pass down the flat water.
3. Lots of snacks- the rule is that your kids will rather eat what other people brought than what you brought, so plan on trades.
4. Shade- a must have, especially for little ones who can't swim solo yet.
5. Lots of snacks- they will eat at least 3 times as much as they do at home, especially if they are boys.
6. Water- drink it, swim in it, splash them with it, drink more of it. DRINK MORE WATER!
7. A well-organized boat- Know that the diapers, extra socks, wipes, spare PFD, and snacks are easily accessible throughout the day. Plan a "play area"- for the littlest littles this is the footwell lined with dry bags; for bigger littles, this is a pile of gear in the back, a deck up front or a SUP or IK.
8. Snacks- nothing fixes the problem like food, especially a new and unique flavor or treat.

I think the most important thing I've learned is that they may not love it as much as you do every time and that has to be OK. Don't be heartbroken if they don't love it the first time out. They will either grow into it, or they won't, but either way, someday they will appreciate the effort you made to give them a unique experience. SYOTR, Kjirsten

"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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