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Old 06-15-2016   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3
2 y/o birthday on the river

So, some may think I'm crazy but I'm taking my daughter on a deso trip this summer and she will turn two on the trip. Do you have any fun suggestions to make it a fun party for her? And, do you have any suggestions on how to successfully take children (yes, there are more two y/o on this trip) this age down the river? Thanks in advance!

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Old 06-15-2016   #2
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,042
How many day trips have they been on? How well do in water? Do you have an adult for each small child, to get them to safety if they end up in the river? How many times have the oarsman run Deso?Shade? It will be hot down there, depending on time of summer, mosquitos early, or storm season late.
I actually like to see parents taking there kids boating, a week long wilderness trip seems like to much for a 2 year old though.

" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 06-15-2016   #3
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
my kids both did 5 day overnighters at a year old. it's all about how you break them into it. I personally don't think a week long trip is much harder than a week in the living room. The Smith isn't white water though, so that does take out a bunch of the stress. We are anal about the kids and PFD's though, if they're on the boat or near the water they're wearing them.

We had a birthday on a trip a few years ago (3 if I recall) and we made a cake in the DO, did candles, brought some simple presents and did baloon animals (and all kinds of crazy confarctions). They loved it.

We just bring lots of little things, butterfly nets, fishing stuff, sand toys but really they liked playing with rocks and sticks just as much. We don't stop anytime they have the wim, they just get used to finding something to do in the boat. Buy a little spider man fishing pole and some floating bass plugs, take the hooks off and let them learn to cast. (Wrap some foam around the rod so it floats, it'll end up there at some point).

Be safe, but let them learn. Use your head where you let them make mistakes and where not to. I've never heeded to any particular ratio of adults to kids, I just pay attention to the river and keep the kids always in my sight. At that age (2 yo) mom was always in direct control of the kids, usually had a hand on each PFD when we were in even mild whitewater. We went through nothing worse than simple, T-up class III's and they were rare, so I might be more anal if we ran more consequential water. The boys have now done over a dozen multi-days each and they love it. They listen when they're in the boat, hold on when I tell them to and we've had a blast, it's their favorite thing to do. They're 5 and 7 and we're heading onto the Lower Salmon in a month, they ask daily "when do we get to go?".
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 06-15-2016   #4
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
That sounds awesome, Elk. I definitely want my son to love the river with us. We're taking my 11month old on Ruby next week. 5 other couples going, each with a kid and a boat. Oldest kid is 3 and youngest will be 4months. Not sure I'd have wanted the headache of a 4 month-old on the river. I especially like your take on learning: "Use your head where you let them make mistakes and where not to." That's what I do all day at home!

iheart- I'll post back after our trip if I learn anything crazy. I'm with Matt, though, on shade. We've already got a new bimini top installed on the raft. I could imagine things getting pretty miserable pretty fast with no shade. You guys will have a blast!
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Old 06-15-2016   #5
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
Originally Posted by mattman View Post
I actually like to see parents taking there kids boating, a week long wilderness trip seems like to much for a 2 year old though.
Both these girls started out about age 2.5 on week long wilderness trips and went on multiday car camping trips starting at 2 months old. Modern humans, just like you and me, have been living in the wilderness for at least 120,000 years with less than 1% of the amenities and margin for safety that we all take on multiday rafting trips on easy water. Its all in your mind. There is literally no more inherent danger than strapping your kid on a car seat and driving an hour down the road on the interstate to grandma's house. Some youngsters in the 2 to 3 yo range, and a little older:

Fun for kids: dip net and jar to catch minnows and bugs, sun hat and sun screen, lots of snacks, hammock, dog, squirty toys, rocks/sticks/pinecones prove to also be quite entertaining:

FYI - these girls now paddle their own IKs cause their momma raised-em right

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Old 06-16-2016   #6
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
This girl is one of the ones above that started going on the North Umpqua car camping at age 2 months old, while we did laps and took turns babysitting. Here first week long multiday was on the Wallow/Grande Ronde when she was 2.5 years old. Various other week long rivers including the Main Salmon at age 5. Started paddling her own IK last year.

And last month decided it was better to SUP the kayak most of the day:

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Old 06-16-2016   #7
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 165
First time I did Deso I left my 3yo at home. Something I will always regret! She knew what boating was all about and would have been fine. You know your kid best but as has been mentioned shade, entertainment, nap spot, snacks and patience.
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Old 06-16-2016   #8
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482
Sounds awesome, my advice which might have been posted already is to have shade on the boat for the kids.

It will make everybody happier if they are not cooking in the sun all day.

I think it was my sons 5th birthday party that we did on the river and we made it pirate themed. We had eye patches and plastic swords for all it was a blast.
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Old 06-16-2016   #9
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 340
OMG Shap. I think I just OD'd on cute. Those are great!
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Old 06-16-2016   #10
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
A bucket and a sandy beach... I have seen my nieces and nephews busy for hours hauling water up and down the beach.. and as mentioned above shade.. first thing I did when I found out my wife was pregnant was put a bimini on the boat... I have seen hammocks that stretch between the rails that stitches n stuff makes... Or a shallow empty drop bag would work to build a nest. I have a 12 foot frame on my cat so lots of room to toy with such. and of course snacks.

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