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Old 08-14-2014   #11
letsgoh2o's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 5
I took my 4 and 6 year olds on the Yampa (Duffy Canyon) and Upper C (Pumphouse to Radium) this year, and aside from plenty of snacks and squirt guns or a super soaker, the best thing that kept them entertained has been a friend or two on the boat with them. Also, having the right gear in case of inclement weather will head off a LOT of whining.

Good luck!

Game over, man, game over!
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Old 08-14-2014   #12
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by brendodendo View Post
Food and Drink are key to happy kids. Being warm and in dry clothes also helps. Plan to stop and play / swim every few miles...
Kids that are well fed and warm are usually pretty happy kids on the river in my experience. Let them swim, jump off a rock or two into the river, then dry them off and warm them back up. We don't take a lot of toys, maybe a water gun or two. Generally, they enjoy just being on the river and doing some running around and exploring when we stop for lunch.

At least you are starting with a short trip. My kids first trip was an overnighter on Ruby/Horsethief. I was worried they would get bored, but they loved every minute. They wanted to go back to the put-in and do it again. Not every kid will react that way, so it's good to start short and simple and then work up to longer trips.

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Old 08-14-2014   #13
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Grab a cheap kid's rod, find an old floating topwater lure like this:

...and remove the treble hooks. Let him drag the lure behind the boat and tell him he's fishing - the lure will wriggle around, he can practice casting, all without risk of him skewering you or himself.

BTW I also agree that it's a great idea to have your kid shoot at Mr. C's boat with a wrist rocket.
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Old 08-14-2014   #14
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
On our first multi-day trip, with kids of 8, 6, and 4, we brought books-on-tape (e.g., kids version of the Hobbit). Kept them happy when not playing in the sand.
"Nothing says dirtbag like a mylar pillow with a spigot."
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Old 08-14-2014   #15
dafewillis's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 143
All really good stuff, everyone. Thanks a bunch. It's nice to hear of so many other families out there, bringing up their kids on the water. The next generation of river stewards and advocates, I hope. And dogalot - I'm a librarian, and I love that idea!

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Old 08-14-2014   #16
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Our river kid started at age 4. She's 14 now, and starting to take over the oars on her mom's raft. She loved the big waves when she was little. She'd beg her grandpa for more. It's amazing the simple things that make kids happy....sand, rocks, leaves, waves.
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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Old 08-14-2014   #17
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Rancho to 2 bridges is a great first run for the kid. There are lots good suggestions already. Don't forget sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Maybe a blanket and place to lay down on the boat in case he gets tired (but it is a short run). Our biggest concern was playing near the water unsupervised. If the little guy went near the water he was to have a life jacket and if he was going near the water an adult had to go with him. I read on the buzz about using a throw bag or drawing lines in the sand so they know the boundary. Give him a safety talk about the river and the shore. No time like the present to get him thinking about river safety. The little buggers have a tendency to wander while the grownups talk shit and drink beer.
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Old 08-14-2014   #18
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 165
friend for sure
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Old 08-14-2014   #19
thinksnow's Avatar
Salida, 81201
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 143
We have a trib tomcat LV. Sometimes I just tow them behind the raft. My son (9) can paddle it in class 2. I have a hard time getting him out of it for the bigger stuff. Super speakers are great. Fishing poles. Music. The best part NO electronics. This is a good time to practice throw bag practice when you hit a nice beach.
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Old 08-14-2014   #20
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 221
Breeders....... Gross.

Go to the mall or the playground

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