10 Awesome Kayaks for Kids in 2023
With Moana and Pocahontas leading the way, canoes, kayaks, and boats seem pretty shiny to young eyes. And many of these activities are actually good for them, as well. Kayaking especially is a fun, family-friendly activity that requires children to exercise focus, balance, coordination, and muscular endurance, as they paddle their way through the water. Solid kayaks as well as inflatable kayaks can be safe, budget-friendly options, depending on the specific features you’re looking for. We think you’ll find all of the kayaks on our top ten list to be waves and waves of fun, so get out there and start paddling!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Can be deflated for compact travel
Two riders can paddle at one time
One seat removes
Deluxe paddle included
Maximum weight of 400 pounds
10 Best Kayaks Reviewed
1. Intex Challenger K2
Can be deflated for compact travel
Two riders can paddle at one time
One seat removes
Deluxe paddle included
Maximum weight of 400 pounds
Customer support appears difficult to contact if there is an issue or defect
The removable seat really sells this one for us. It means that you can go out together, send siblings on a wild ride, or remove one of the seats and have enough storage room to enjoy a quiet afternoon with a cooler of drinks and snacks.Read more
Kayaks allow children responsibility and independence while teaching them focus, navigation, coordination, and balance.
Ease of Use
A high capacity pump makes it easy to inflate, and a repair patch kit means you don’t need to freak out or send it back every time there’s a little snag. This inflatable kayak features two seats, one of which is removable to give you more storage space. The nose of the kayak is equipped with netting, and it can deflate and compress to store easily in any size car. Even given how compact it can be, there’s plenty of spacious room for paddlers and their supplies, even when both seats are intact. If you’re traveling without the resources to lug around a hard-side kayak, this truly is a quality alternative.
Made from puncture-proof vinyl, the Intex Challenger K2 is a streamlined design meant for longevity and ease, as it’s modeled to be easy to paddle and steer. The vivid colors make it easy to spot out on the water. Two 86 inch aluminum paddles allow users to navigate their way through the waves. It’s UV damage-resistant, so feel free to soak up the sun, and can hold up 400 pounds as a maximum weight limits
This kayak can fit up to two people in. Your children will be able to strengthen their hand-eye coordination skills, the power of teamwork, and strengthen all of their muscles as well. This is a positive way for your children to bond and relax outdoors as well.
2. Intex Challenger K1
Great for travel
Easy to store
Includes a high power pump
Features a net for storage
Made of durable materials
Does not come with a skeg
The material its made of is extremely durable and won't tear or rip easily if it rides over rocks. Kids really love the design and have a lot of fun in it. It holds air securely for long periods of time.Read more
The design is bright and aesthetically pleasing and has ropes one both sides making for easy transport. There is a cargo net that can be used to store things necessary for a day out in the sun.
Ease of Use
For hassle-free inflation, there is a high powered pump and two air valves. For assistance with maintenance, there is also a repair kit included. In addition, this kit comes complete with a quality oar, made of high-grade aluminum.
This inflatable and durable kayak is perfect for travel and ideal for storage. It can be folded up or flattened to fit into any space. There are several great perks that come with this kayak to make for quick inflation and easy maintenance
This kayak is great for your child to learn how to balance in the water as well as strengthen their arm muscles. Your child will be able to exercise while also having fun which is the best part about kayaking as well. Not only is this activity soothing but it’s great for your child to not only connect with nature but they’ll be able to have a healthy lifestyle as well.
3. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot
Available in six colors
High back support
Features several storage storage options
Does not come with a paddle
The colors that this epic kayak comes in are bold and bright. Available in six different colors or any young kayakers favorite color. You will easily be able to pot this kayak on the water while you float with your kid.Read more
For kayakers who have a bit more of a history with the popular sport, the Aruba Sit-In Kayak is a great upgrade. This kayak is just slightly over ten feet which makes it rather large and possibly difficult for very young children to control, but for pre-teens and teenagers, it should be no problem. With a little experience, they’ll be paddling their hearts out in no time
Ease of Use
This kayak comes in several different colors to make it a little more personal and fun for the kids using it, and even includes drink holders and food storage for those long trips on the river. The seat and backing are padded and can be adjusted to fit the kayaker which makes it a great option for those who find other kayaks uncomfortable over long periods of time. The kayak also has handles for carrying, which makes it perfect for long-distance trips where you might have to walk a long way to reach the waterway.
Due to this kayak’s larger size, it really makes a great option for an experienced kayaker. It could be difficult for beginners to learn how to paddle on something so big but will be easy for kids who already have the experience to steer and they’ll appreciate the extra room.
This adjustable kayak is great for children to enjoy the outside world. Your child will be able to work on strengthening their muscles as well as their hand-eye coordination skills. Your child will also have to work on their balance skills as well.
4. Sun Dolphin Camino SS
Available in three colors
Features an open cockpit
Made of lightweight materials
Can support up to one hundred and forty pounds
Has a moldable foot rest
The seat is not padded
The durable construction is meant to provide your child with ample space and room to grow. There is a whole world to explore, the sit on as opposed to sit-in kayak provides you with more to see. Generally, the sides may cause some blockage to see into the water. This style kayak is featured with a sleeker design to provide your child with a bit more mature effect.Read more
The durable construction is meant to provide your child with ample space and room to grow. There is a whole world to explore, the sit on as opposed to sit-in kayak provides you with more to see.
Ease of Use
This solid kayak is meant to be sat one as opposed to in. The style of design provides your child with the opportunity to improve balance at a more rapid rate. In addition, the open space seating will enhance their experience in becoming one with nature. It is available in three eye-pleasing colors.
Generally, the sides may cause some blockage to see into the water. This style kayak is featured with a sleeker design to provide your child with a bit more mature effect.
Your child will be able to get inspired and connected with nature. Being able to have fun while exercising is a great way for your child to enjoy being outside during these beautiful sunny days. This is also a great way for your child to get on the water and work on strengthening their muscles.
5. Lifetime Youth Wave
Ergonomic design for any water type
Includes a kayak paddle
Features hand grip and “swim-up” back
Holds up to 130lbs
Might be scary to kids who are not comfortable swimming with no sides
Hard to paddle in rough water due to shape
You’d think having such a unique design would make this kayak somewhat of a fail, but it actually functions very well as a kayak! We love that it can be taken to a variety of different places and paddled just like any other kayak while still offering various options.Read more
You’ll notice right off the bat that this kayak has a very unique design. The Youth Wave Kayak is specifically designed for kids who love to ride waves whether they’re at the beach or the lake. It slightly resembles a surfboard with raised sides and functions in very much the same way; it’s essentially a sit-down paddle board. Kids are able to sit inside the Kayak and paddle from either side with the main difference being no holding cabin where the seat of a kayak would normally be. This is great for kids who are excellent swimmers and love being up on the waves but can’t surf.
Ease of Use
The kayak is lightweight with a weight limit of 130lbs which makes it perfect for kids aged five and up (with parental supervision, of course). Its ergonomic design makes it great for shallow water as it bobs amongst the waves, and kids are able to control their direction with the use of a kayak paddle. It’s even great for having a lazy river day and just floating along calm waters to enjoy a sunny day. The back of this kayak features a “swim up” design which makes it easier for kids to jump back on if they fall off, as well as finger grips on the side so they can hold fast to the kayak itself.
The versatile design of this kayak makes it perfect for the beach, rivers, streams, and lakes, and allows kids to use it in a number of different ways. Whether they’re using it as a kayak and actively padding, floating along on calmer waters, or wave-jumping with it, they’ll have a blast knowing they’re safe with the perfect floating device.
A positive way for your child to help strengthen their muscles and their hand-eye coordination skills is just with kayaking. Your child will be able to work on their focusing skills and be relaxed as well.
6. Youth Wave with Paddle
Manufacturer offers a five year warranty
Features a sloped back end
Available in two colors
Capable of supporting up to one hundred and thirty pounds
Features molded finger handles
May not be durable or suitable for rough water conditions
This kayak is a great starter kayak for children ages five and up. Its lightweight construction makes it easy to transport and maneuver in the water. The materials comprising this vessel are high-quality polyethylene. It is available for purchase in bright green and orange. The colors are both aesthetically pleasing and have an added safety feature. They will be easy to spot from off in the distance so you can keep an eye on your little one, even if they drift down the river by themselves.Read more
Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice durability for safety. This vessel is designed to provide your child with a stable ride. There is a paddle included with this product so, upon arrival, you’ll have everything you need for a day of fun.
Ease of Use
This lightweight product is only eighteen pounds and comes with finger grips so it is easy to transport. It’s designed for children ages five and up and tops out around one hundred and thirty pounds. With multiple footrest positions, this product can be used for a few years. The manufacturer offers a five year limited warranty to give you added peace of mind. It is available in both orange and green. Designed with a sloped back and swim-up step it will be easy for your child to climb in and out of, even while they are in the water. There are also holes so water can easily drain to prevent the vessel from sinking.
This kayak is made of high-quality polyethylene. It’s lightweight at only eighteen pounds. Appropriate for ages five and up with a maximum weight of one hundred and thirty pounds.
A wonderful way for families to bond is by kayaking. Your children will love being on the water and getting connected with nature. This is a great way for your child to stay entertained while also strengthening their muscles.
7. Intex Explorer
Composed of puncture-resistant vinyl
Designed with a removable skeg
Includes oars and air pump
Skeg may pop out on its own
The adjustable seats make it easy for people of all ages and sizes to ride comfortably. The seats can also be removed so you can stretch out and enjoy a relaxing ride down the river.Read more
The Intex Explorer inflatable two-person kayak makes a family day out on the lake much more fun. Both inflatable seats have backrests and can be adjusted to provide a comfortable ride for people of all sizes.
Ease of Use
Being inflatable it is lightweight and compact so your family can easily take it out to any lake or river. The Boston valves on each side make inflating and deflating quick and easy. If you’re looking for a chill day out on a lazy river take the seats out, lay back and relax.
There is plenty of space in the cockpit that can be used for storage or extra legroom. The bright yellow color makes this kayak easy to spot on rough or calm waters. Composed of heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl, this kayak is built to last. The removable skeg makes it easy for anyone to direct the kayak. With your purchase, you will also receive two 86-inch aluminum oars and an Intex air pump.
Your child will be able to work on their hand-eye coordination skills and enjoy the great outdoors. Not only will they be able to learn about different directions, but your child will be able to also strengthen their arm muscles.
8. Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame
Multi-layer construction gives this kayak a high level of durability
Quick and easy to set up
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
Not ideal for longer trips
The multi-layer construction gives this kayak a high level of durability while also having the ability to fold up for easy storage. Set up is so quick and easy that you will be out on the water soon after unfolding it.Read more
The Advanced Elements Kayak is perfect for those who do not necessarily have the space for large fiberglass kayak. This inflatable and foldable kayak hybrid is great for people of all ages. Setting up the kayak is extremely easy and takes less than ten minutes. Just unfold it and fill the chambers with air. The high back seat provides a comfortable ride for your child. Along with the mesh pocket on the back of the seat, there is plenty of storage space for whatever things your child might need to bring out on the water.
Ease of Use
The molded rubber handles make it easy for you to carry the kayak in and out of the water. The built-in tracking fin allows this kayak to glide smoothly through the water. While this is not a hardshell kayak, once it is inflated it feels just as firm as one. After a day out on the lake, just deflate the kayak, dry it out and fold it back up for easy storage.
Designed with multiple layers of material this kayak is highly durable and will survive countless trips out on the water. The red and grey color scheme gives this kayak a sleek look and will make every rider look like a pro.
A great way for your child to get outside and away for those screens is by kayaking. Not only will your child love being outside with nature, but this is also a great bonding tool as well. Your child will love strengthening their muscles in a positive way.
9. Lifetime Tamarack Angler
Designed with multiple footrest positions
T-handles make it easy to carry
Includes two 6-inch storage compartments
It is not made for riders to stand and fish
The rod holders will give your little fisherman the opportunity to relax while waiting for a fish to bite. When it is time to reel in their catch, the flat bottom eliminates any rocking and provides your child with the stability they need to lock in their catch.Read more
With two flush-mounted fishing rod holders, your child can sit back and relax as they wait for their big catch. The t-handles on the front and back of the kayak make it easy for you to transport this kayak in and out of the water. The flat bottom makes it practically impossible to flip the kayak.
Ease of Use
If your child loves to spend a day out of the lake fishing then the Lifetime Tamarack kayak is perfect for them. Designed with multiple footrest positions, riders of different sizes can sit comfortably
Composed of a UV-protected high-density polyethylene, this kayak is durable and its colors will not fade in the sun. The adjustable seat is padded for extra comfort. The two 6-inch storage compartments, located in the rear and center, make it easy for your child to keep their supplies at arms reach. Along with this fishing kayak, you will also receive a paddle.
Your child will be able to learn about direction, teamwork and work on their muscles. This is a great confidence booster as well for your children as they’ll be able to kayak and do this sport on their own. Not only is it a healthy way for your child to be entertained but it will get your child outside and moving.
10. Vibe Skipjack
Nine feet long; spacious
Plenty of storage
Comfortable cushioned seat
Holds up to 300 pounds
Station to park oar so it doesn’t tip overboard
The seat sometimes slides, even when adjusted to the tightest strap
It’s a sturdy boat, that’s for sure. This kayak can hold a good amount of weight, and the solid structure means you don’t have to worry about snagged or sun-weakened vinyl.Read more
The Vibe Skipjack is equipped with several key features. It is a nine foot, 46-pound kayak designed to be especially useful when fishing. A journey paddle lets you steer your ship as you choose, and five capped rod holders and mounting points lie flush and ready to hold all of your accessories. There are stations to park your paddle when it’s not in use, preventing lost paddles in the water. Three sealed hatches and a bungee rear tank give you plenty of space for storage
Ease of Use
Five easy grip carry handles make this easy to transport to and from racks, cars, and shores. It is meant to hold one rider at a time, so it might be best suited for older kids who have something of a command of the kayak, but the weight capacity taps out at 300 pounds, so you could also paddle with a little one onboard in your lap, as long as they know to sit still and not rock the boat. The seat is cushioned, giving you a nice, comfortable station from which to enjoy the water and open skies.
Kayaks give children a chance to practice responsibility, balance, coordination, and leadership skills. This one-seater especially can be used for little ones who still need to sit in a lap or older children who might be ready to go out on their own.
Kayaking can be a helpful relaxation skill. It also will be able to strengthen their muscles as well as work on their hand-eye coordination skills. This kayak will also help teach your child about a sense of direction and being on the water. This is a great way to get your child excited about exercising and outside.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Always keep in mind the importance of safety and knowing your child’s physical abilities. It is not recommended your little one be expected to paddle through wild rapids on their own. The water can be a bit intimidating for some, so encouraging your child to develop self- confidence in the water is important. This feeling will develop and become stronger over time with more exposure to the water. Until that time comes, and even after, you want to know that your child is using a product designed to provide them with the utmost in safety. These vessels are highly rated in several aspects and designed to provide a range of safety features.
Kayaks are primarily built for speed. If you have a canoe, then that would be the equivalent of a sport utility vehicle. However, if you’re thinking of an F1 racer in the water, there can only be a kayak. As such, one of the principal considerations for our choice of the best youth kayak is the overall design of the hull. It should be designed in such a way that it can slice through water with relative ease, like a hot knife slicing through butter. Equally important is the stability of the platform. We are particularly aware that some form of stability is ultimately lost with each increment in speed. So, we may be giving you a really high speed water vessel but if it cannot maintain stability even at such speeds, then we’d rather choose one that is not as fast but is stable enough to keep your child safe.
Ease of Use
In addition to safety, these kayaks are designed for speed and ease. As your child is starting out on the water, understanding how to maneuver a toy this size can be tricky. These are great starter toys ideal for helping your child gain confidence in the water. They are easy to control and have added features making it easy for you to help if they get too tired. The ability to easily control your vessel gives you more mobility and speed, helping you get through more river. With added speed comes the ability to prepare for more challenging adventures in the future.
We also considered the weight of the youth kayak. This was a very important consideration since kayaks are especially built for lone riders, adventurers who would rather go it alone. That being said, it is important that these small streamlined boats are lightweight enough to be carried or even dragged from the vehicle and onto the water by an average kiddo. Playing a part in the lightweight design of the small boat is the choice of materials used in its construction. However, these materials should not only be lightweight; they should be extremely durable and sturdy, too. Most kayakers are some of the most adventurous out there. And while we don’t expect your kid to be shooting the Class V rapids of the Grand Canyon anytime soon, it is best to choose one that is as sturdy as the Grand Canyon itself.
Kayaking is not only relaxing but a great way for your family to get outside and enjoy being with nature. Kayaks are a great work out for your children to enhance their muscles. Kayaking will strengthen your children's muscles. It’s also a wonderful way for your children to learn about teamwork as many of the kayaks on our top ten list can fit 1-2 children in it as well. This is also a great bonding tool for family and a way for parents to instill a positive lifestyle for children to enjoy.
Outdoor adventures are a great way to make lifelong memories. Most people will tell you their happiest childhood memories are days spent in the water and sun, time spent camping, moments where they stretched their imaginations and absorbed some rays of the sun. These are irreplaceable moments that not only create a happy life for your child but also provide some fundamental blocks essential to living a healthy and active lifestyle. The sunlight provides essential vitamins and fresh air can help improve circulation and healthy lung function.
It can be hard these days to get your child out of the house and away from the technology available these days. Spending quality time is an important part of helping your child develop of sense of community. In addition, time spent socializing with family will improve social skills for all different ages. Adding water to your outdoor adventure gives your child an extra challenge in physical activity. Not only will outdoor activities create lasting memories but the physical exertion will help your child to release some pent-up energy and give them a better night's sleep.
Engaging in a variety of water sports or water-related activities can be so much fun. However, if we are not really careful, we might expose our kids to potential hazards during water-related activities and significantly undermine the benefits of these outdoor recreation activities. As such, it is always critical to understand some of the fundamental tips to ensure safety in kayaks and canoes especially when our kids are the riders.
Always supervise your children whenever they go out kayaking. Even the more experienced ones will still require some form of adult supervision.
Spend time teaching your kid how to swim or at least to stay afloat. You also may want to enroll your child in a kayaking course so he or she will learn not only the basics but also some of the tricks of the sport from licensed professionals.
Get your child appropriately sized safety gear such as a life jacket, helmet, rubber sandals, and others. It is important to choose gear that is of the correct size in relation to your child’s dimensions.
Encourage your child to listen to safety instructions and to follow or obey all rules about kayaking. You may want to go over each of these items individually so they become well-acquainted with these rules.
If you have to buy a kayak, make sure it is of the right size for your child and that it is stable enough to allow your kid ample freedom of movement.
Kayaking can be so much fun. If you have a child who happens to be fascinated with the water sport, then you can nurture this fascination by getting him or her one of the 9 awesome kayaks for kids we have listed here. Once you have the best kayak for your kid, don’t forget to observe our tips on kayaking safety.
Other Factors to Consider
An activity like this promotes the development of muscles and motor skills. Paddling against the water will help your child build core muscles and arm strength. The movement of the wrist will strengthen forearm and wrist strength. In addition to helping your child strengthen their physical capabilities, they will improve their balance and coordination skills. Let’s be honest, nobody wants the moment in school where all eyes are on them to be the moment they slip walking down the hall. By encouraging your child to get out and and be active, you can save them the embarrassment and provide them a number of benefits. These benefits range from health, development and happiness, giving you the chance to be an inspiration to your little one.
This list is compiled with a number of highly rated options designed with safety, function and durability in mind. They have enhanced features to provide your child with a comfortable ride. You love the outdoors and you want to give your little one the same fun opportunities to develop a love of the wilderness also. Kayaking is a great way to get out extra energy as mentioned above, but also to help bring you back to nature. Calmly row down the river birdwatching or paddle through the rapids.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do they come with a paddle?
Some do and others don’t. There are a few with paddles that may not be durable enough to withstand more than a few adventures.
q: Are they too heavy to paddle?
ome of these are incredibly lightweight and designed for children as young as five. This means they are intended to be easily manipulated and controlled in the water.
q: Are the footrests adjustable?
There are several kayaks on this list to do have an adjustable footrest. They have a few levels so they can be used year after year.
q: What is a skeg? Is a skeg useful for these products?
A skeg is used to protect the propeller of the vessel. They are not necessary as these are not motor-controlled. They are also not included.
q: Do these products come with a warranty?
There are some that have a manufacturer warranty, while others may be offered by the company you made the purchase from.
q: Are they durable enough to be used in the river?
Yes most of these toys are designed to be used in the river and some can also be used in the pool. Possibly even the ocean if you feel really adventurous. It should be noted, care and adult supervision as well as assistance from flotation devices are recommended during use, in order to ensure the most in safety.
q: What is the weight limit?
The majority of these support a maximum weight of around 130 pounds. There are a few on this list that are capable of holding up to around 200 pounds for older children. This means you can find something for everyone ages five and up. They are sure to be excited!