Canoe Games for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

Canoes were first used by Native Americans for thousands of years for the purposes of transportation and trade. Since that time canoeing has also become a recreational sport and activity. Children can develop their skills with canoeing by engaging in different types of games that could teach them how to improve their stroke, work together as a team and learn how to develop their balance on the water.

Sweep Stroke

This game is designed to improve a child's stroking technique, and it involves having paddlers complete five sweep strokes before sticking their paddles up in the air to signal that they are finished with the event. Once the children have completed the exercise they can continue to develop their sweep stroke techniques by competing in relay races.

Sponge Ball

Sponge ball is a group-related canoeing activity that is designed to build confidence and team skills. This game is played by selecting one group of children to be the sponge ball throwers. One person on this team is selected to be the designated thrower, and he tries to hit the back part of the opposing team's canoe, which takes evasive action. When the team with the sponge ball successfully makes a hit, the other team loses one member. This game typically stays in play until a team loses most or all of its members. Players are not allowed to use their paddles against the opposing team or ram a canoe.


Children can develop their balance and improve their low brace and body position with the game tandems. This game involves pairing up children and having them navigate a course without capsizing. This course should be designed in a way where the possibility of capsizing will be increased. Children who fall into the water should swim back to shore and then start the course again. Canoe coaches or supervising adults should ensure that children do not become too cold if they capsize often.

Blowing in the Wind

Manoeuvring a canoe can be somewhat difficult for the inexperienced paddler, and children can build their skills with an activity called blowing in the wind. Pingpong balls are thrown onto the surface of the water in this game, and they should be given some time to spread out across the surface. Competing teams then try to collect as many balls as possible. This game has variations that include time limits for collecting the most balls or adding numerical values to the balls to determine which team will gain the most points.

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About the Author

Steven Miller earned his associate degree in the field of education and is currently continuing his education at Ohio Dominican University. A freelance writer since 2010, Miller enjoys gaining valuable experience and growing as a writer.