Boating with kids

The summer holidays are here! If you're taking to the waters with children this year, there are plenty of ways to keep them entertained. Here are five activities to keep the kids busy, whatever the weather.

Small boy boating Small boy boating

1. Get snapping

Create a picture diary by encouraging the kids to take lots of photos. Our waterways are abundant with wildlife, as well as historic bridges, buildings, tunnels and locks.

2. Take games

Prepare for a change in the weather and take games for both inside and outside. For those sunny days play Wildlife Bingo – download our Wildlife Bingo card and see how many animals, birds and fish can be spotted and matched. To make things more interesting, include a small prize for the winner. For the rainy days, you could settle down to a classic board game, or perhaps get creative – check out what you need to make a margarine tub boat.

3. Get hands-on

Firstly get the whole family involved in planning the route together. Then, after teaching them the safety rules give them specific tasks to do such as casting off, mooring, operating locks and when strictly supervised - steering. The younger children could be in charge of spotting, looking out for landmarks, tunnels and canalside wildlife.

4. Be a pirate

Yo ho ho! Let imaginations run wild and have a pirate day. Make flags, pick new pirate names and hide some treasure onboard. Bring dress-up costumes, eye patches and fake moustaches to ensure maximum fun for your little buccaneers. Obviously walking the plank is not a suitable finale.

5. Roses and castles

Go back to basics and unleash the pencil cases. Using paper plates, decorate the deck with traditional folk pictures of roses and castles. Kids can even make their own postcards to give to friends and families on their return.

Suggestions from our friends on social media

"Give them little jobs to do. Chat to the other boaters and learn about the canal, as well as bird-spotting. Take photos of the bird life, especially the baby birds. My kids love that." Lucy Binney

"The histroy of canals, feeding the ducks and the country code." Neil Macdonald

"Useful knot-tying, roses and castles painting and butterfly bingo." Martyn Brown

"Pound shop pirate gear." Andy Powell

Last date edited: 4 June 2019