Canal boat staycation

Canal boat holidays are a great way to spend time with family and there’s never been a better time to step aboard and enjoy a staycation.

Even young children can help out on a boat holiday Even young children can help out on a boat holiday

If you’re taking to the waters with children, then we've got plenty of activities to keep them entertained on your trip and before you leave.

1. How a lock works

With 1,580 locks along our canals you’re sure to come across one on your trip. Help children to understand how they work with this short film featuring students from Ellowes Hall School.

2. Steer the boat game

A narrowboat is steered from the back using a tiller. To steer the boat left you must turn the tiller to the right and to steer to the right you turn the tiller to the left! Head to the Explorers game zone and play Boat Afloat to practice steering with your children.

3. Learn the language of narrowboats

Do you know your stern dolly from your tee stud? Learn the different parts of a narrowboat with this activity sheet. Turn it into a competition to see who can remember the most on your trip – remember to pack a prize for the winner.

4. Feed the ducks

We all love to feed the ducks but did you know that bread – especially white bread – is BAD for them? Feed the ducks a healthy lunch with our alternative duck snacks. Make sure to raid your cupboards before your holiday!

5. Water birds spotter

Swans and ducks aren’t the only water birds that call the canals their home there are coots, moorhens and even kingfishers. If a kingfisher whizzes past, you are sure to notice as they have striking blue and orange feathers. Your little ones will love keeping a tally of the different water birds they spot on your trip.

6. Colouring out

Pack colouring pencils and our colouring out sheets to entertain the little ones on rainy days. They’ll love completing the pictures of wildlife and canal scenes.

7. Waterside bingo

Canals are full of interesting things to spot so challenge your children to a game of waterside bingo and see what they can spot from onboard. Who will get a full house first?

8. Stay safe near water

Order free copies of our water safety booklet packed with activities and quizzes to help children stay safe on the towpath and beyond.