15 Gift Ideas for Your Canoeing and Kayaking Kids

family canoeing

(photo courtesy of @five2nine)

Here are 15 gift ideas for your paddling kids that won’t just fill up the toy box. These are gifts they’ll love to use on the water every time they’re out.

You can find most of these items at big box stores and sporting goods retailers for a wide range of budgets.

1. Fun Bucket Hat

Protect your kids’ face, ears and neck with a wide-brimmed bucket hat while they’re on the water. They’ll still likely need some sunscreen due to reflection off the water, but one of these will provide better coverage overall.

2. Kid-Size Life Jacket

Get your kids their own life jacket they can’t wait to wear, preferably in their favorite color. As long as it’s Coast Guard approved, a budget brand will do. If you’re choosing one for a young angler, there are PFDs designed for fishing with D-rings, pockets and other extras.

In order to work properly and provide the necessary safety, it’s important everyone’s PFD fits them snugly. Here are some general sizing guidelines:

  • Infant PFDs fit up to 30 pounds
  • Child PFDs fit from 30 to 50 pounds
  • Youth PFDs fit from 50 to 90 pounds

3. Kid-Size Canoe or Kayak Paddle

Get your kids a paddle that’s made for their size so canoeing and kayaking is more fun for them. Our hand-crafted wood Twig canoe paddle is made with the same care and materials as our adult-size wood paddles. It’s 42 inches long (For comparison, our adult straight shaft paddles start at 52 inches, for torso sizes beginning a 26 inches).

tiny tots in kayak with splash kayak paddles

Bending Branches’ kid-size Splash kayak paddle (photo courtesy of Aaron Stiger)

Do you have a young kayaker? Go for our Splash Kids kayak paddle, perfect for smaller hands and shorter bodies. Here’s our sizing chart for Splash:

splash kayak paddle sizing chart

4. Frog Baits

Frog baits are an easy way for even young kids to learn to fish bass. There are different types for all kinds of water conditions. Our ProStaffer, Tyler Thiede, recently chatted with the host of Paddle & Fin Podcast on the uses and types of frogs.

5. Sunglasses

Your kids need eye protection from the sun and water glare just like you do. Sunglasses will also help protect from flying hooks when you’re out fishing. If you buy ones with polarized lenses, they’ll be able to see into the water better—it’s pretty fun for them to see the fish they’re about to catch!

6. Their Own Dry Bag

Get your canoe or kayak loving kids their own dry bag in their favorite color. These things are a must-have for every paddler. They’re perfect for keeping snacks, drink bottles, a few small toys, a change of clothes, an extra long-sleeve and anything else you want along but don’t want scattered all over the boat!

A 5 to 10 liter lightweight roll-top dry bag is perfect for most day trip uses. If your family loves canoe or kayak camping trips or more intense day trips, go with the heavier-weight options.

boy kayak fishing

Keep your young anglers stocked (photo courtesy of @ospray_tx)

7. Water Toy Bucket and Toys

When your kids are young, stopping along the shore for some swim time and a picnic is a perfect way to break up the paddling. Grab a covered plastic bucket and fill it with fun water toys they can use in the sand and in the shallows.

8. Quick-Dry Tops and Pants

Rather than dressing your kids in cotton tees, denim and khakis when you’re on the water, put them in tops and pants made of quick-dry materials like nylon and polyester. That way when they get paddle drip or splash—or hit by water guns—their clothes will dry out much faster with less risk of them getting chilled by the wind.

9. Durable Thermos to Keep Drinks Hot or Cold

Plastic water bottles are lighter, yes, but who wants to drink lukewarm water when you’re paddling on a hot day? Get your kids a fun but quality thermos that keeps their cold drinks cold and their hot chocolate hot.

10. A Comfy Kid-Size Seat

Check out this kid-size seat from TopKayakerShop, or simply pick up a stadium seat that’s easy to pack along and transfer from boat-to-boat. A seat with some cushion is more comfy than sitting on the bottom of a canoe or kayak.

little boy with canoe paddle and canoe

Ready for some canoeing! (photo courtesy of @damonbungard)

11. Paddle Shoes

Depending on the season and your climate, paddle shoes are any shoes made to get wet that have a decent sole for taking on some rocks on-shore. Inexpensive sports sandals and water shoes will do fine for most kids.

For colder weather conditions, they can wear rain boots in the boat, as long as they’re not stepping in water above the top of their boots, of course. You’ll find high-quality rubber/neoprene boots in the hunting or ice fishing sections of sporting goods stores. Just be sure they’re labeled as waterproof.

12. Waterproof Rain Jacket

Every outdoor kid should have a waterproof rain jacket that gets packed along on adventures, including paddle trips. Get one in their favorite color for extra fun. Waterproof also means windproof, which adds warmth on brisk days.

13. Cold Weather Paddling Tops and Bottoms

If your young angler or paddler just can’t stay off the water, even when the weather is cold, they need some cold weather paddling clothes like these from NRS. They’re waterproof, have gaskets around the neck, wrists and ankles, and are great protection in adverse weather conditions.

toddler with mom in canoe

A pint-size paddle suit (photo courtesy of We Found Adventure)

14. Personalized Kids’ Tackle Box with Fishing Gear

This Etsy shop owner personalizes a kid-size tackle box with your child’s name, and fills it with an assortment of basic fishing gear. If your child(ren) are hobby anglers, this will be fun for them!

Serious young anglers will want a serious tackle box, which you can find at any retailer that sells fishing gear. If you choose a waterproof model like this one from Plano, they can keep some of their treasures inside along with their baits.

15. Water Shooter

What’s more fun on a hot summer day on the water than getting wet…and getting everyone else wet? There are a wide variety of water shooters on the market. They’re perfect for enticing reluctant young paddlers, too, just a hint!

boy in a kayak with paddle and frog

(photo courtesy of @mrseasttexaskayakfishing)

That’s our list for 2021! There are plenty of fun options for your young kayaker, angler or canoeist.

Let us help you find your next canoe paddle! Get in touch with our friendly Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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