Kids Paddle Boarding: A Healthy and Fun Activity?
These days it is hard to keep kids active and healthy.
Between video games and YouTube videos, kids spend a tremendous amount of time on staring at screens and parents are always looking for ways to limit “screen time”.
Of course, it’s usually a battle if you take away screen time. Why? Because kids enjoy screen time. So, the best way to get kids away from the screens is to give them an alternative they will find enjoyable.
Give them something fun to do.
Teach them how to use a stand up paddleboard.
Fun Outside Activity
Most kids like to swim and play in the water, and stand up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) is just another way to play on the water.
A sneaky benefit to kids using a SUP is that there are no screens around. You can’t have screens on the water. And instead of your children’s eyes being hit with dangerous blue light from staring at a computer screen, they will get sunlight.
As you probably know, sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a crucial building block of a healthy immune system, in both children and adults. A healthy dose of Vitamin D is just one of the many health side effects for kids when the get on a SUP.
Have you heard the saying that “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down (it’s from Mary Poppins)”? Well, that’s exactly what’s going on when kids are on a SUP. They are getting healthy vitamins, staying away from blue rays, and having fun. They don’t even know that they are being “heathly”.
Give Them the Right Size Paddle Board
Paddle boards are huge. They are usually much larger than a regular size surf board. So, for a child to have fun, you will need to find the best paddle board for kids.
The ideal size for a kids paddle board is in the range of 7-9 ft. These paddleboards have less surface area and are easier to maneuver around. You want to pick a board that is easy for a child to use, because they are more likely to have fun with it.
If they have fun, then they are likely to SUP more often.
The size of the board depends on the age of your child. You’ll want to get a shorter board, closer to 7 feet in length for a younger child, and a longer board for an older one.
Inflatable vs. Rigid
There are two types of stand up paddleboards, inflatables, or rigids. Inflatable boards are just like they sound, they are blown up with air. Rigids are made in a more traditional style like a surf board. They are solid, usually made out of an epoxy.
So which is the best choice for a child? Most parents like to go with an inflatable.
Modern inflatable paddle boards are made tough. They are usually built with double layer construction using military grade PVC coatings. They are designed to take abuse and not pop from simple child’s play.
Because of the construction and nature of an inflatable, you don’t have to worry about the kids board hitting the side of a board, dock, or car door and damaging it, because an inflatable is soft.
You do have to worry about dings and bangs with a rigid paddleboard because when a rigid hits something, it will leave a mark, or the board will sustain some damage.
Inflatables are also considerably lighter than epoxy paddleboards, which makes it easier for kids to transport and to use on the water. This is also a major reason why inflatables are popular with adults as well.
Inflatable boards also tend to be cheaper than rigids, which is another benefit when deciding what board to get.
There are quality choices for children’s paddleboards that are inflatable and rigid. Most parents tend to buy the inflatables though.
Of course the number one thing to be aware of when children start to learn how to stand up paddle is safety.
It makes sense that most of the safety measures are the responsibility of the adult. Just like when kids are swimming at the pool, you do not want to leave your children unattended when they are using paddleboards.
Pay attention to the conditions. You want kids to use their boards when the weather is inviting, basically when it’s flat and calm. You don’t want kids out in windy conditions because it’s much more difficult and kids won’t have fun. But the main reason is that they could get blown far from shore and unable to return safely. Flat water is your friend.
Personal flotation devices (PFD’s) are mandatory. This is non-negotiable. Kids need to wear PFD’s or life jackets, when out on their boards. You can’t rely on the paddleboard to be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. Treat a paddleboard like you would a boat and require all children to wear a PFD.
Make Getting Exercise Fun
The whole idea is to get kids outside and playing because it’s a healthy alternative to staying inside and staring at their screens. By making stand up paddleboarding fun for children, you are getting them to do exercise with out them knowing it.
Children that get out on paddleboards get plenty of Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, and burn plenty of calories from the exercise of paddling.
The end result is happy healthy children that enjoy getting exercise.