2023 is flying by; it’ll soon be the summer holidays before you know it. Now, while the summers in Britain do tend to be a little hit-and-miss, they do tend to have some of the best beach weather that we are going to get all year. The summer holidays do tend to stretch out in front of parents, and it can be a challenge trying to work out what to do with your kids every day to keep them engaged and entertained. Whether you are lucky enough to live by the seaside or you are planning a trip, water sports can be a great way to get the kids active this summer. Let’s dive in (pardon the pun).
Water Sports Safety Tips
While water sports can be great for kids, there are a few safety considerations that you will need to make. Most parents do try to introduce their kids to water pretty early on. They tend to start with baths to desensitise their babies to the feeling of water on their skin. There is a debate surrounding when you should start swimming lessons; some people take their children as babies to teach them things like how to turn over in the water and float on their backs. However, proper swimming lessons can’t really begin until your child has enough fine motor skills.
In that respect, you probably should hold off on taking your children on holiday and getting them into water sports until they can swim unaided. That being said, regardless of how good of a swimmer your child is, you should not leave them unattended in any body of water. It is often advisable to get your children a floatation device of some sort. Armbands tend to be a popular choice, although they are perhaps better suited to swimming pools. Most water sports tend to take place in open bodies of water, and it might be advisable to get your child a life vest instead. This ensures that they are buoyant enough to stay afloat without doing anything.
Water Sports to Try
There are a few different water sports out there that you and your kids could have a go at. Firstly, you could try paddleboarding; it is becoming increasingly popular. It is relatively easy, too; all you do is stand on a paddle board – which is a little like a surfboard but thicker and more buoyant- and simply paddle around. Most people start off paddleboarding on their knees until they have gained the confidence (and the balance) to stand up. As long as you are confident in your children’s swimming ability, you can take them paddleboarding. Depending on where you go, you can end up in deep waters, so the ability to swim is important. If you go and hire the paddle boards, then the business is likely to enforce a life vest policy. Of course, if you get into it, you can always buy your own; in fact, Watersports Pro has a great resource detailing the best paddleboard in the UK.
Windsurfing is another option. You can take the children windsurfing either on the sea or on a lake – for first-timers, a lake is probably preferable. Obviously, you are reliant on the wind, and if you go on the sea, then you can find yourself a lot further out than you would like so until you have gained more confidence and experience. Most beginners will need some instruction when it comes to windsurfing, although once you get the hang of it, you’re well away – literally. Some of the equipment can be heavy, although you can get children’s boards. It is probably something that you want to do with older children and not young kids.
Kayaking is great for children of all ages, and again, it can be done on a lake or on the sea. The kayaks can be somewhat hard to get in and of it while you are on the water, which is why most businesses that rent them out will insist on a life vest or other flotation device. They do require a little hand-eye coordination to ensure that the kayak is going in the direction that you want it to. It also takes a little strength to move the oars through the water, which can be hard for younger children. The views are great, and kayaking is something that you can do together; most kayaks sit a single person, but it is much easier to hold a conversation and stick together than it is when windsurfing or even paddleboarding at times.
Finally, if you want a water sport activity that requires little to no specialist equipment (unless you count a swimming costume and armbands as specialist), then swimming is a great choice. Most people tend to swim in a swimming pool, but wild swimming is possible. There are natural sea pools, lakes and other open bodies of water. You will need to be mindful of whether or not it is safe to swim. Some areas might have strong currents or high levels of pollution and should be avoided.
Water sports are great exercise, and they are fun, too, which is a bonus for the kids. They are perfectly safe when approached properly, and there are a few that are definitely kid friendly too. Why not give them a go?