Moms know best…especially when it comes to taking your kids rafting. Behold the following Real Rafting Tips from Real Rafting Mothers before the next time you go boating with your brood…
20 Tips from Real Rafting Mothers
Want to really know what it’s like to take a raft trip with kids? Heed the following the advice compiled from real rafting mothers.
- Group kids with compatible kids
- Youngsters are all about snacks–keep plenty on hand (they’re too busy playing at camp to eat regular meals)
- Don’t bring extraneous toys—they have all they need on hand (except, maybe, a Nerf, sand bucket and mini-costume for Costume Night)
- Despite the extra rigging it requires, bring one “Tot Spot” chair per kid
- Campfire stories shouldn’t be too scary
- Keep some shade going all the time (umbrellas, towels, rash guards, etc.). Hint: use poly-pro jammies on the raft
- Get them contributing to the group as young as possible
- Bring unsuspecting “kidless” adults (or even a couple of teenage sitters)
- Bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper in close proximity of a toddler’s tent
- Don’t bring too many clothes—they just turn into a wet mess
- Kids prefer campsites with the best rocks (for jumping, hiding from grown-ups, torturing siblings, etc.)
- Don’t over-commit on distance: 10 miles/day is good
- Don’t bother bringing homework; it just gets wet and never gets done. Do bring a journal and book
- Never allow them to exclude anyone
- Feed kids during happy hour (the kitchen box makes a great table, but get everything you need out first)
- Don’t let them walk around without shoes (scorpions, cactus, etc.)—bring sandals or river shoes
- A squirt gun can make any kid cry, regardless of age
- Be wary of all-dad trips
- Keep the groover handy (says one Mom: “Let them get constipated.”)
- Ideally, stick to minimum one-adult-per-kid rule
10 More Tips for Multi-day Paddling with Kids
- No matter the trip, plan enough days so you can float leisurely. You’ll need plenty of time for potty breaks.
- Bring along some 12- and 13-year-old girls. They’re worth their weight in babysitting gold.
- Bring alternative paddling vessels (inflatable kayaks, rec kayaks, canoes, etc.), as well as an assortment of tubes and alligators that kids can float in behind your raft.
- Give a last call for the groover (portable river toilet) a minimum of five times—and make sure every kid hears you–before packing it away.
- Encourage sleepovers while on a sleep over by letting kids tent-hop (it might even free up some private time for you and your spouse).
- Sand will stick to the nose drool of a 2-year-old and stay there until someone wipes it off.
- Don’t worry about preparing special meals. Even finicky eaters like Casey will eat most anything on a river trip.
- A frog can be passed around to 14 different kids without any real adverse effects, but be prepared for a coating of urine on pass # 7.
- The bigger the squirt gun the better.
- Gummy bears melt into a blob if left exposed to the sun.