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Kayak class for kids Antietam creek

Note: This is a 20 minute method for teaching new paddlers how to get on the water safely and comfortably with 3 stroke skill to paddle out and back on flat calm water without assistance. It really works!

1.Introduction.  Instructor to students

2. Objectives :  

                   A. have fun in a canoe - safely

                   B. learn to paddle and control your own canoe without any help – safely

                   C. WHAT CAN GO WRONG OUT HERE !!! flip/fall/ lightening/wind/etc.

3.Rules : 

                   A. Life Jackets.  Wear it – Wear it right – Wear it tight  instructors test each  jacket

                   B. front paddles left/ back paddles right [no switching sides unless both switch]

                   C. front and back paddle together when possible

                   D. Front’s main job is the motor. Back’s main job is to steer.

                   E. Limiting rules of the paddling site [i.e. Don’t go past the red marker]

4. How to hold the paddle: it looks like much do we need to know.      

5. Getting into the boat and getting out of the boat [boat carries if appropriate 2 and 4 person]

6. Changing positions in the boat on water [since the front & back have different jobs]

7. Strokes and Maneuvers: 

                                        A. Forward. “Everyone knows how to do the forward stroke so we don’t 

                                             need  to teach it. …It looks like this [demo] just like a forward swimming 

                                             stroke.” [Put your hand on the blade and mimic a freestyle stroke]. How do 

                                              you stop ?

                                        B. Back. “Everyone knows how to do the back stroke so we don’t need to 

                                             teach that either. It looks like this [demo] just like a swimming back

                                            stroke.” [hand on blade and mimic a swimming back stroke] How do you

                                             Stop ?? 

                                        C. SPINS “What happens if the front paddles frontward and the back paddles 

                                              backward [you spin]  and what happens if the front paddles backward and 

                                              the back paddles frontward [you spin the other way]. So without learning 

                                             anything new you already know how to  go frontward, backward, stop

                                             and to turn [spin] right and turn [spin] left.”  [like an innertube]

                                          D. What else there ? GOING STRAIGHT.  The back person needs to do

                                               rudder strokes to make the boat  go straight. Here’s 

                                               how you do that [demo draw and push away/ pry “If you can’t tap

                                              the side of the boat with the paddle then you can’t do the strokes”]. 

                                               Students won’t  get this. It will have to be repeated on water and each 

                                               stern paddler will have to be put in position “hands on” to do the stroke.


8. On Water Drill:  Students, in the boat, in the water, at the bank ready to paddle . Instructors 

                   in the water standing along side and with hands on the boat. Safety boat out on the water.

                                           A. Wiggle the boat until the paddlers can keep their heads and shoulders

                                                quiet and let their butts move with the boat. [just like a bicycle] 

                                           B. “Do a forward  stroke.” “Do a  back stroke” [the instructor moves the

                                                  boat  forward  and back with the strokes to emphasize the boat 

                                                   movement, check hand position on paddles] 

                                            C. “just the back person Rudder Strokes.” [“LOOK AT ME”; Physically

                                                    rotate the stern paddler into a stern pry position by grabbing the blade   

                                                    “Push out to go one way and pull in to go the other way” have the 

                                                    Paddler do several pushes and pulls with Instr pushing for emphasis .


9. After all boats are out, instructors go out and help the 10% that are having trouble.                                        


 NEW MATERIAL:  After students have exhausted their “discovery period” [half  hour or so] Have them 

switch positions and teach those students who are not having trouble additional skills/games :   bow draw and cross draw, vertical paddle etc.




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