Kayaking is a great summer activity that the whole family can enjoy. It can also be a chance for students to learn something new over the summer! In addition to being a fun way to enjoy the sun and get some exercise, there are a number of life lessons kids can learn when kayaking.
Lessons from the history of kayaking
But first, a little history lesson. According to Howstuffworks.com, Kayaks were first built by the Inuit and the Aleuts, which were both indigenous peoples who lived in the Arctic. These boats were made from the scarce resources that could be found in the tundra. Often, kayaks were built with frames of light driftwood or whalebone. Tribe members would then stretch animal skins over the structures. Seal bladders filled with air would be tucked into the fore and aft sections.
Why are these important kayaking details to teach your kids? Because learning about the ingenuity of the kayak’s design is a good example of how something can be made from almost nothing. Furthermore, it shows children the value of conserving — every part of an animal was used for something. That’s a very important lesson to learn in today’s world, where environmental problems are becoming a big concern.
Mindfulness can be a big life lesson kids can learn when kayaking
The history of kayaking can serve as a powerful example of resourcefulness, but once the paddle hits the water, there are plenty of other lessons to learn. Kayaking can be great for teaching focus. When first starting off, children must learn how to stay balanced on the boat. They must also maintain good technique and form while navigating waters that can be turbulent.
Because kayaking can demand a lot of attention, this sport is a great opportunity to teach mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a practice that has been shown to provide clinical benefits such as better concentration. In addition it boosts mental and physical health. In a nutshell, it is the act of giving intense focus to the present moment. We’d recommend trying it out!
Kayaking can help kids face fear
Kayaking sometimes puts riders in uncomfortable situations. Rivers, for example, can offer some pretty bumpy rides and are dangerous on occasion. Obviously, we don’t recommend overwhelming your children by throwing them into the rapids, but small challenges can provide opportunity for personal growth.
Possibly one of the most important kayaking lessons for kids is showing them how to face fear. Breathing exercises, identifying the source of worries and problem-solving are just some examples of coping techniques you can teach your kids. Psychology Today also has a thoughtful example regarding how kayaking through keeper holes, which are like whirlpools, can be a great metaphor for facing fear.
Put the kayaking lessons to the test!
Once you’ve gone over some of the lessons in this article, see if they stick when kayaking! When paddling through the water, try stopping every once in a while and ask your children if they are practising mindfulness. Are they paying attention to their surroundings or are they getting lost in too much thought? If they encounter obstacles like a tricky route in a river, ask them if fear is getting in the way. Then remind them of the coping techniques you taught them. Kayaking is a great way to spur personal growth!