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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, here goes - my first thread on the Buzz. I'm in my 3rd summer with a DRE raft and fishing frame. Have been out plenty of times with buddies, learning how to row while also catching some fish on the upper C, lower Blue, Green, N Platte, & Bighorn. I am FINALLY taking the wife and 5 1/2 year old son out on Saturday (Rancho to 2-Bridges), and for all you parents out there, here's the question: how do you keep your little one entertained on the river? Is the scenery and fishing enough, or should I have a game plan? I have some ideas, but would love to hear from fellow Buzzards on what has worked for you. Thanks very much!
 

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Lots of small rapids keeps them entertained. If you are doing day trips keep them short with more rapids/ riffles. 5 is a perfect age where being in the raft is entertainment enough to a point. If its going to be long days have plan a plan to stop and swim etc.
 

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Hehe. You made me smile. The wife, not so much. So I should bring the potato gun, then?

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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Jared
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I bring boats, water guns, and some trucks for the shore. We paddle rafted last week and I let him paddle with us as a member of the team and he loved it. Our son is 6 and our daughter almost 4, and they keep pretty entertained.
We typically float for an hour and stop, float for an hour and stop, and so on all day. I don't go farther than 7 miles per day with them yet. We bring a Coleman LXE grill and keep it in the car at the takeout so my wife can grille something fast once we land at the takeout. I can run shuttle and eat as soon as I get back. When we head home, it is usually 7-8 pm and they are dressed in PJs. They fall asleep on the way home and we just transfer them to bed at the end of the journey.
This system has worker very well for 2 summers now. We make sure they have proper clothing for the water temps and air temps, sun screen, and plenty to eat on the boat. Hope this helps
 

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I'm right 50% of the time
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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.

I R2'd Shoshone with my 7 yr old 2 weeks ago. Had a blast, but the key was knowing his swimming ability and how far I could push him before he got scared and cold. Did it again with his 2 buddies and their dad last weekend. Good times on the river.
 

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Renaissance Redneck
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Lots of snacks. Messy stuff you can rinse off them and your boat with river water. Watermelon, pudding cups, edible finger paints, etc. Lots of beach stops too.
 

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sand toys are great for the young ones.
snacks and drinks are critical.

and remember, kids are always in training...
 

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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!
 

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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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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. :cool:
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
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!

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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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.
 

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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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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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