Our New Favorite Social Distancing Activity

Wow. I don’t know about you mamas, but the last months have been a rollercoaster of crazy. We started out 2020 just like any other year. A little rainy, a little cold and letters coming home from school every other day about what new illness or virus was floating around my children’s school campus. It was no different than any other year. Well that all changed in March when COVID-19 became a pandemic. Then Arizona and the world shut down. Most of us became teaching assistants to children who had to finish school via distance learning. It was hard but we made it. Now we have a new problem. What are we going to do till August? And then will schools even open?

Arizona summers are filled with splash pads, community pools and water parks. Yet, with most summer vacations and summer camps cancelled or held virtually, what can you do to keep you and your family sane, yet also remain socially distant in this time of uncertainty? Well, if you're brave enough, I propose the inflatable kayak.

The inflatable kayak is perfect for beginners.

It’s not too expensive and can be stored very easily. You can hop on the lake for a quick paddle or head up to Prescott or Payson to a river or lake trip. It is also a wonderful addition for camping trips around the lake.

I have never kayaked before when I bought this. It was fairly easy to pump up with the hand pump they give you. I was able to paddle around Lake Pleasant with both my kids in tow. Please bear in mind that my 4th grader and 2nd grader are tiny. I had no problem with them in my kayak. But some of my other mama friends were not able to do this and could have only one child in with them. They found out though that the older kids were able to navigate their own kayak themselves with little to no trouble. If you're nervous about your older kids floating away from you, a rope or bungie cord can be easily attached to the kayaks. They can have the freedom to paddle, and you’ll have the peace of mind that they won’t get too far from you.

So, if you are just starting to make your way into the world again, this is the perfect activity to “get your feet wet.” Here are a few tips I’ve learned on my adventures in the kayak.

  1. Go early. With a lot of activities closed for the summer or requiring a reservation, the lakes and rivers are very crowded. Try to avoid Friday, Saturday and Sunday if you can.

  2. Bring a tarp. Lay the tarp down so when you are setting up and breaking down your kayak, you won’t get mud/leaves/dirt all over it. The kayak will still get dirty, but this will help in the wipe down process.

  3. Rash guards, hats and sunblock. The Arizona sun is unforgiving. She is even worse while on the water. You may be only out there for an hour, but you will come back a new shade of red. Long sleeved rash guards, sun hats and multiple applications of sunblock will help. We set a timer to go off every hour to reapply.

  4. Water bag. Walmart sells these for $6.00 in their camping section. Keep lots of water, extra sunblock, snacks/lunch, kayak hole patch kit and hand pump for the kayak in there. I made the mistake of not bringing the hand pump once. Thankfully my husband had Superman lungs.

  5. Set up your kayak at home for the first time. It’s hot. And you don’t want to figure out how this thing goes up in the heat. Also, my first kayak had a big hole in it. Had I found that out at the lake, I would’ve had two upset kids and are crying mama on my hands.

  6. Try the lake first. We did the lake first and found a little cove to paddle around in to get a feel for it. It was perfect. Rivers flow and if you’re not sure what you’re doing yet, it can be a little intimidating.

Kayaking is a great activity to do with your family. They will get to go on an adventure that turns them into a captain on the wild seas. You can remain socially distant with family and friends. In my case, it is teaching my son how to do this on his own. He loves setting up the kayak and learning to paddle. Be sure to double check their work though, we almost sank one time due to an air valve not being closed all the way. And it is great exercise!

Good luck this summer everyone! Stay safe, and stay sane!

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