8 Best Kayaks For Kids (2023 Reviews And Guide)

If you’re looking for a fun and safe way to get your kids out on the water, then kayaking is a great option. Kayaks are perfect for kids of all ages, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

In this blog post, we will look at some of the best kayaks for kids and discuss the benefits of each one. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right kayak for your family.

So, whether you’re just getting started or looking to upgrade your current setup, read on for the best kayaks for kids!

If you are in a hurry, check out these top sellers.

Kids Kayak Reviews

There are so many types of kayaks to choose from, like sit on top, sit inside, inflatable, etc. The best kayak for kids should be stable and easy to paddle. We cover entry-level price points to more expensive kayaks to give you various options.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak for Kids

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle, 6 Feet, Green
  • Specifically designed for kids ages 5 and up; 130 LB weight capacity
  • Lightweight 18 Lb. design with molded finger handles on each side for easy transport
  • Sloped at the end with a swim-up step allowing rider to easily re-enter the kayak...
  • Contstucted of High Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durabilty
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders; backed by a 5-year limited...
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:130 pounds
Kayak Weight:18 pounds
What comes with it?Kayak and paddle

The Lifetime Wave Youth Kayak is the perfect way to get your kids on the water. Let them take charge of their aquatic adventure with this fun, easy-to-use kayak.

For starters, the seat is molded into the kayak but does not come with a backrest.  The nice thing is that the kayak is equipped with hooks to add a backrest for support.  For shorter trips, you may not need a backrest.  There are molded footrests, which allow for different riding positions.

Molded finger handles make it easy to carry the kayak.  The kayak weighs about 18 pounds, so your child might be able to carry it. If not, it’s pretty easy for an adult to haul around.

If your young paddler does fall off the kayak or decides to go for a swim, there is a rear swim-up deck to get back on.  The self-bailing scupper holes help drain water from the kayak floor.


Flip-resistant hull design
Scupper holes to help drain water
Good tracking
Open, spacious deck
It comes with a paddle


It does not come with a backrest
Pretty lightweight and might be tough to paddle in the wind


The Lifetime Wave Youth is one of the best kayaks for kids because it is made of durable plastic and has a sleek design. The kayak is stable and tracks well.  It’s easy to get on and off the kayak if your child goes overboard or wants to go for a swim. This is a lightweight, easy-to-use kayak.

Perception Hi-Five Sit-on-Top Kayak for Kids

Perception Kayaks Hi Five | Sit on Top Kids Kayak for Kids up to 120 Lbs.| Youth Kayak with Paddle | 6' 6" | Funkadelic
  • Welcome to the world of kayaking with the Perception Hi Five, a sit-on-top kayak...
  • Accompanied by a kid-friendly paddle, this kayak promotes physical activity and...
  • Showcasing a stable and compact design, the Hi Five offers young paddlers confidence...
  • With its elevated sit-on-top seat, kids will enjoy a better view and a drier ride;...
  • Celebrating childhood fun, the Perception Hi Five kayak is the perfect gift for your...
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:120 pounds
Kayak Weight:21 pounds
What comes with it?Kayak and kid-sized paddle

The Perception Hi-Five is the perfect way to get your kids on the water in style. This kayak is unique because it has a swim-up deck, paddle rest, and carry handles for easy transport. The Hi-Five also has built-in recesses, so you can add accessories without using a drill.

What makes this the best kayak for kids? The Hi-Five is a hybrid kayak and SUP specifically built for kids.  The kayak is designed to be stable since it can be used as either a kayak or SUP.  And your kiddo will be able to grow into this vessel for years.

With molded footrests and a raised seat, this kayak is great for paddlers of different sizes. It’s also great if you need to stretch your legs out. There is plenty of room.

You can also add accessories, like deck pads, ropes, etc.  The rear swim-up deck makes it easy to get back on after swimming.


Hybrid kayak/SUP
Available in super fun colors
Ready for accessories
Stable design
Ample seating room
Easy to paddle


Does not come with a backrest
Might be challenging to paddle in the wind


The Hi-Five is an excellent kayak with room to grow into.  Your child can use it as a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard.  It’s stable and easy to paddle.  The kayak comes with a 6’6″ kid-sized paddle. A sleek design makes this one of the best kayaks for kids.

Intex Challenger Kayak for kids

INTEX 68305EP Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak Set: Includes Deluxe 86in Aluminum Oar and High-Output Pump – Adjustable Seat with Backrest – Removable Skeg – 1-Person – 220lb Weight Capacity
  • ✔ SUPER-STRONG – SuperStrong enhanced molecular formulation PVC provides superior...
  • ✔ LOW PROFILE DESIGN – The Challenger K1 has a streamlined low-profile design...
  • ✔ COCKPIT SEATS – Built with removable and adjustable seats, the cockpit design...
  • ✔ REMOVABLE SKEG – Attached to the underside of the kayak, the removable skeg...
  • ✔ 1-PERSON CAPACITY – Inflated size is 9 feet x 2.6 feet x 1.1 feet with a weight...
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:220 pounds
Kayak Weight:27 pounds
What comes with it?Paddle, repair kit, pump, inflatable seat, carry bag

Tired of your kids looking at screens all day? The K1 inflatable kayak is an excellent kid’s kayak to get them outdoors. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and has everything you need to start.  The inflatable seat is adjustable and removable.  There are grab lines on both the front and back, so it’s easy to transport from your car to the water.

This model comes with a cargo net on the front to store some of your child’s gear.  This is a bigger kayak than others on the list, so you want to ensure your child can handle it.  Since it’s a bit heavier, an adult may have to transport it from the vehicle to the water.

Two air chambers and an inflatable I-beam keep the kayak rigid and stable.  The vinyl is also puncture-resistant, which is helpful when kids are kayaking. You never know what they might run into when they are learning.


Easy to setup
Rugged material
Fully equipped


It might be a bit big for some smaller kids


The K1 kayak is one of the best inflatable kayaks for kids because it’s lightweight, extremely portable, and easy to set up.  It has everything you need to get started, including a paddle, pump, repair kit, and carry bag.  A two-person model is also available if you want to ride tandem with your child.

Sevylor Quikpak K1 kayak for kids

Sevylor QuickPak K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak, Kayak Folds into Backpack with 5-Minute Setup, 21-Gauge PVC Construction; Hand Pump & Paddle Included
  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
  • Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures
  • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:400 pounds
Kayak Weight:18 pounds
What comes with it?Paddle, pump, and a backpack to carry the kayak

Get your kids out on the water with the Sevylor Quikpak K1 kayak. This tough and inflatable kayak is built for adventure and is perfect for young paddlers. This is a great inflatable kayak for kids.

It’s lightweight and easy to pack and set up. The Quickpak K1 is an excellent kayak for kids or beginners.  It doesn’t steer as well as a traditional kayak, but it’s great for kids to learn. You can be set up in about five minutes.

The kayak comes with a cargo net on the front for some storage.  The backpack also doubles as the seat. There are multiple built-in footholds, so different paddlers can use this kayak.  There are also carry handles on the front and back.

Finally, multiple air chambers give parents peace of mind knowing the kayak will stay afloat if one of the chambers springs a leak. And the Quickpak is easy for kids to get back on if they happen to fall off or want to go for a swim.


Easy to setup
Includes paddle and air pump
Everything you need to get on the water
Convenient carry backpack


Doesn’t track as well as a traditional kayak


The Sevylor Quikpak 1 is one of the best kayaks for kids because it’s lightweight and easy to set up. It comes with everything you need for your kayak adventure. There is even a small amount of bungee storage on the front of the kayak for extra gear.

Star Raven I Inflatable Kayak

Star Raven I Inflatable Kayak-Blue
  • Gives the paddler a stable and comfortable position above the water
  • A padded folding seat provides a strong and comfortable paddling position
  • Two easy-to-use straps hold the drop-stitch floor insert securely in place
  • Superior abrasion resistance, longevity and air retention at a great value
  • Bow and stern handles make the Raven easy to carry to and from the water
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:275 pounds
Kayak Weight:37 pounds
What comes with it?Carry bag, pump, and repair kit

Okay, this is on the higher end regarding price and quality, but it’s a good fit for a child with some paddling experience. If you are looking for a kayak that he or she can grow into, this is worth a look.

This lightweight, inflatable kayak is perfect for touring, fishing, and recreational paddling — ideal for kids, novices, and experienced paddlers.

The seat is adjustable and attaches to D-rings on the boat, so it’s easy to set up.  Hook and loop fasteners for the seat attach to the vessel’s floor for added back support.

There are carry handles on the front and back, so it’s easy to transport to and from the water.  The PVC material is durable and will give you many years of paddling. The Raven provides stability and support that rivals hardshell kayaks.

For storage, there is plenty of room behind the seat for gear on day trips.  Items like a small cooler and some dry bags will easily fit.


Quick setup
Your child can grow into this kayak
Adjustable seat
Carry handles on front and back


Might be more than you need
Doesn’t come with a paddle


As I mentioned, this kayak is more than some people will need, but it’s an excellent option for the right child.  The Raven I has a lot of room to grow into.  It’s a durable kayak that can take whatever your child dishes out.

Pelican Solo Youth Kayak

Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak Kids Kayak|Perfect for Kids Comes with Kayak Accessories, Paddle and Safety Flag (seat not Included), Yellow, One Size
  • Designed with an open cockpit, molded carrying handle for easy carrying, this...
  • The Twin Tunnel makes it easily maneuverable and provides Ultra Stability which...
  • Has a Swim-up rear deck with a handle so you can easily board the kayak from the...
  • Features: Molded footrests to fit a comfortable paddling position, a paddle park to...
  • Includes 60'' three-piece paddle and a safety flag to keep an eye on they are on the...
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:100 pounds
Kayak Weight:19 pounds
What comes with it?Kids paddle

The Pelican Solo 6 Youth Kayak is an ideal choice for any parent looking to get their kid paddling. This kayak is designed with an open cockpit with plenty of room.  There are molded carrying handles, so it’s easy to transport this lightweight kid’s kayak. 

This lightweight and nimble kayak is designed for single-person use, with a roomy cockpit. The kayak is easy to maneuver and stable, which is excellent for getting your little one started.

A swim-up rear deck makes it easy to get on the kayak from the water. There are also self-bailing holes, so any water onboard will drain out.  This model does not come with a seat but can be added.

This great beginner kayak for kids and is best for smaller paddlers. 


Easy to carry
Comes with everything you need
Great for beginners
Easy to maneuver


Best for calm waters close to shore
Lightweight, but might be tough to paddle in the wind


The Pelican Solo Youth kayak is a great way to get your little one started kayaking.  This short and stable kayak will help your son or daughter gain confidence and have fun.  The boat is durable and stable, making it one of the best kayaks for kids.

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Blue, 8'
  • Kayak Paddle included
  • Adjustable quick release seat back for comfort
  • Tank well storage with bungee cord lacing to secure loose items
  • Multiple Footrest positions for different size paddlers
  • Center carry handle for easy Transport to waterfront
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:250 pounds
Kayak Weight:38 pounds
What comes with it?Backrest, paddle

With the Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak, your kids will enjoy the great outdoors and have a blast on the water. This 8-foot kayak is designed with convenience and is great for kids and teenagers.

Starting with the ergonomic molded seat that is durable and will fit various paddlers. The seat has an adjustable, padded backrest which you don’t always find with kayaks in this category.

Multiple footrest positions are excellent for different users. So you can take your little paddler(s) with you whenever and wherever you go kayaking.

Durable polyethylene construction is awesome for kids who might be learning to paddle for the first time. If (more likely when) they run into something, the polyethylene is resistant to damage. Perfect for Bam Bam!

The lightweight design of the Lifetime Lotus makes it easier for smaller paddlers to handle this kayak. The kayak comes with scupper holes to help water drain, a cup holder, and a carry handle for easy transport (that’s for you mom and dad).

Finally, the kayak is easy to get back on if your kiddo goes for a swim or falls overboard.


It will last a long time
Comes with a paddle


Heavier than other models


The Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak is worth a look if you are in the market for a kids’ kayak.  It’s a stable, durable kayak that will last for years. Kids can grow with this boat or grow into it.

Perception Flash 9.5

Perception Flash 9.5 | Sit Inside Kayak for Fishing and Fun | Two Rod Holders | Multi-Function Dash | 9' 6" | Earth (9331900190)
  • Experience Premium Performance: The Perception Flash 9.5 Sit Inside Kayak delivers an...
  • Lightweight for Ease of Use: At a weight of just 41 lbs, this kayak is easy to carry...
  • Versatile and Ready for Adventure: Built-in rod holders make this kayak an angler's...
  • Comfort and Convenience: This sit-inside kayak offers a dry and comfortable ride,...
  • Perfect for Various Water Conditions: Whether you're heading out on a calm lake,...
Number of Paddlers:1
Weight Capacity:325 pounds
Kayak Weight:41 pounds
Length:9′ 6″
What comes with it?HIgh back seat

The Perception Flash is a great option if your kids are older or more established paddlers. This kayak is absolutely a step up from the others listed. What sets this kayak apart is the construction quality, integrity of materials, and build quality. This is a “big kid kayak,” and you will not have to upgrade too soon.

The Perception Flash is stable and stays on course with dual tracking channels. In addition, the length of the yak means it’s more nimble and easy to paddle compared to larger kayaks, and it’s perfect for small bodies of water.

For features, this kayak has plenty to offer. The padded seat has an adjustable seatback, and a cup holder is conveniently located between the paddler’s legs. A dry storage compartment on the back of the kayak is excellent for a dry bag, food, and drinks.

The molded carry handles make the kayak easy to transport to and from the water. And if your kid is into fishing, there are two flush-mount rod holders behind the seat. This kayak will get to all the places larger boats can’t go.

The only downside is the kayak doesn’t come with a paddle. But that’s not such a bad thing, you can choose the best paddle for your paddler, but that does add to the expense.


Easy to paddle
Tracks well
Very durable


More expensive
Doesn’t come with a paddle


The Perception Flash 9.5 is an excellent kayak for budding paddlers. It has beginner-level stability, and it’s easy to paddle. You and your child will enjoy this kayak for years.

How to Choose the Best Kids Kayak


Let’s get right to it. Kids are fickle.  One day they want something the next day, they don’t. You may not want to spend a fortune on a kayak right away.  Once you are convinced that your child will enjoy kayaking, you can always upgrade.

That said, if your child has experience kayaking and is maybe a little ahead of the curve, you may want to purchase a kayak he or she can grow into.  If you buy your kid their first kayak, you may want to stick to a tidy budget. There is no sense in breaking the bank for something they will use a couple of times and be done with.

Most of the time, the prices are pretty reasonable for getting started with a kids’ kayak.


Kayaks can be wobbly by nature. If your child is new to kayaking, stability is essential. To ensure you get off to a good start, you will want to buy a stable kayak.

Look for a boat designed specifically for kids. This will help build confidence and make the whole experience fun for everyone involved. A kayak with a flat hull will be the most stable.

Most kayaks made for kids are wider and shorter than other kayaks.  This will help your little one stay upright and dry.  Nothing is worse than a wet, cold, upset kid when you are out on the water.


We touched on this a minute ago, but kids’ kayaks tend to be shorter than adult kayaks. A kayak under 10 feet is best for a kid.

This shorter length is helpful for stability and works well for kids. Building confidence and having fun is very important when they are just starting.

Honestly, you won’t have many options regarding the length of a kid’s kayak. Many kids’ kayaks are designed to be very easy to use. A shorter kid’s kayak is a great place to start unless your child is old enough or big enough to sit in a larger kayak.


The best kayaks for kids will have high and dry seats. They sit up off the floor.  Again, one goal is to keep the kids dry, so having a seat that isn’t in a position to get wet can be very helpful.

You also want the seat to be designed for smaller bodies, which will fit them better.  An adjustable seat is vital to ensure you get the right fit.  A comfortable seat with excellent support can make all the difference with a day on the water.

Some kids’ kayaks will not come with a seat but rather a seating area. This is usually just a part of the hard plastic kayak deck.  You may be able to add an aftermarket seat with a cushion and back support.

Like you, your child will want to be able to stretch their legs now and then, so a seating area with ample legroom is essential. Remember, the goal is to not only have fun but keep the whining to a minimum, and a comfy seat can help.

Best kids kayak - Child fishing from a kayakPin


Kids can be really rough on stuff, I can assure you.  You want a kayak that can take a beating. Fortunately, most kayaks for kids are made of hard plastic that can stand up to whatever your kid can dish out. An inflatable kayak for kids can also take a beating, so keep that in mind.

When your child is just starting, I am sure they will hit every rock, tree stump, or tree branch in sight. Buy a kayak that can withstand all things seen and unseen.


A lightweight kayak for kids is going to be the way to go.  Most kayaks designed for kids should be pretty lightweight.  Depending on how old or strong your child is, he or she may be able to launch it by themselves.  In many cases, it will be the adult dragging the kayak to the water.

Either way, if you or your child are hauling the kayak, you want it to be lightweight. This will give your kid the best chance to help out, be independent, and handle the kayak on their own.

Choose a lightweight and easy-to-transport kayak, and you will thank me later.  This is why inflatable kayaks for kids are so popular. They are easy to set up and carry. The kids can even do a lot of it themselves.

The downside to a lightweight kayak is getting pushed around by the wind.  This makes it harder to paddle and less stable.  The best kayak for kids will need to strike the right balance.


The best kayak for kids will include all the accessories you need to get on the water.  An inflatable kid’s kayak should come with things like:

  • Hand or foot pump
  • A repair kit
  • A paddle
  • A duffel bag to carry the kayak
  • Most likely an inflatable seat
  • A pressure gauge

If you purchase a hardshell kayak for your child, ensure it comes with a seat and a paddle. Another nice item is a removable skeg, which helps keep the kayak going straight.

Kayaking With Kids

Here are some things to remember when you finally do make it to the water.

  • Teach them, show them proper paddling techniques, and talk about safety
  • Make sure your child is wearing a life jacket that fits correctly
  • Take it slow. You don’t want to get separated from your child
  • Set rules, like no standing
  • Have fun
  • Let them explore

Pros of a Kids Kayak

You can choose to take your child in a tandem kayak.  But there are some serious benefits to getting them their very own kayak.


Give your kids a chance to learn and explore on their own. This will help build confidence.  If they have their own kayak, it will be a feeling of independence and trust.  Your child will control the kayak, and it will go where they point it.  That’s a pretty cool feeling for a kid.

They Will Learn a Lot

There are a lot of things your child can learn from having their own kayak.  There are simple things, like how much fun it is to be on the water. They will learn how to paddle and get where they want to go. Kids will learn about the outdoors and might see fish and other wildlife along the way.

Trial and Error

I don’t know about you, but I have learned much by trial and error.  Kids will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t in a kayak.  Things like balance, leaning too far to one side, they will risk flipping over.  Paddling evenly on both sides will help to keep the boat straight.


What Type of Kayak Is Best for Kids?

A kayak that is stable and easy to paddle is best for kids. Look for a kayak with a flat hull for the most stability. A tandem kayak is a great kayak to start with because you can help your child paddle and teach them kayaking safety.

Is a Sit in or Sit On Kayak Better for Kids?

If the conditions are warm, a sit-on-top kayak is best for kids. SOT kayaks are stable and easier to get back on if your little paddler falls overboard. If you are paddling in cold weather conditions, a sit-inside kayak offers more protection from the elements to help keep them dry.

Is Your Kid Ready to Kayak?

You want to make sure your child is ready to kayak, so some things to keep in mind are:

  • Skill level. Have they ever been in a kayak before? If not, you will need to teach them the ins and outs of paddling.
  • Is he or she strong enough to maneuver the kayak, whether through the wind on the lake or hauling the kayak to the water?
  • Can your child swim? Chances are your kid will end up in the water at some point. Is your little person ready if they go overboard?

Where Will You Be Kayaking?

Try to go kayaking somewhere you are familiar with.  If not, do some research about the area before you go.  Calm water is the best place to start kayaking with your kids. Start with protected areas on a lake or on a quiet river.

Finding a kid-friendly area to kayak will produce much better results than putting them in a situation they are uncomfortable with. This will help build confidence and reduce the stress level for both of you.

Another thing to keep in mind is bathroom breaks. This is sound advice, not only for the kids but for the adults too. As best you can, choose an area where you know there will be a place to hit the restroom when you need to. Bathroom breaks are crucial for kids.

How Long Will You Be on the Water?

Kids have short attention spans and get bored quickly, so keep this in mind.  Although you might dream of paddling for hours, your kids may not want to go as long as you do.

At least initially, try to plan a short trip so they will have a good time.  As your child gets more comfortable and confident, you can explore and be on the water longer.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the best kayak for kids doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many great options to get your kids on the water with you.  Be sure to keep it fun. That’s half the battle. Remember, always wear your life jacket.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Featured Image Credit: ©[MaxTopchij] via Canva.com

+ posts

Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.

Photo of author
About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.