August is Family Fun Month! As summer’s starting to wind down and the kids are about to go back to school, it’s the perfect time to fit some family time into your schedule. Check out these kid-friendly activities you can do on the water this summer.
Fishing isn’t only a grownup’s pastime—when you get your kids involved, they’ll not only learn the value of hard work and perseverance, they’ll be hooked on the sport for life! And you don’t need anything fancy to get them started. TakeMeFishing.org recommends using a light spinning or spin casting rod and reel combo and hooks smaller than a size 10.
If you’re not keen on keeping the fish, you can scoop up minnows or smaller fish in a bucket and let the kids watch them for a while. There’s nothing like a personal mini-pool to entertain younger kids on a long trip!
Adventurous kids will jump at the chance to try this fast-paced sport. Ben Favret, a kids’ coach at Bennett’s Ski School in Zachary, Louisiana, recommends using a boom—a device that sticks out from the side of the boat for skiers to hold on to—for beginners.
It might seem counterintuitive—what kid wants to clean?—but when it’s on the boat, far-removed from everyday chores at home, your kids might enjoy helping Mom or Dad with tasks like cleaning the superstructure or wiping windows. The added responsibility will make them know they’re important, and a bit of work will show them what goes into maintaining a clean, working craft.
Remember, however, that cleaning a boat might not be every kid’s idea of fun. Incorporate games and other activities to remind them that boating is fun, not just another chore.
Jump in for a swim
Swimming is a classic pastime that can be enjoyed from your boat on a hot day. Just make sure you’re not swimming while the engine is on (or stopped in a heavy-traffic zone, like around a marina) and be mindful of rocks below the water’s surface.
Movies at sea
For younger kids, spending a day on the boat can be taxing. If the sun’s heat starts to bother them, take them below deck and relax with one of their favorite movies—you won’t have to go back home, but you’ll be able to take a short break should the weather become too much.
Picnic on the water
Picnics have long been associated with summer fun and family togetherness—why not take those same ideas on a boat? Choose a nearby spot (whether it’s a local beach or close-to-shore island) to stop—or set up lunch on board—and enjoy a relaxing lunch before getting back on the water.
Seaside scavenger hunt
Souvenirs don’t have to come from a store for $19.99—they’re all around you! Whether you’re on vacation at an unfamiliar place or visiting a local getaway, invite your kids to find their own treasures around the water: shells and sand dollars are timeless favorites, but you never know what else you can find! You can turn it into a contest or a foraging free-for-all; whatever way you choose, your kids will come home with something that’ll help them remember your trip, long after summer ends.