Kayaking is a great way for children to build their confidence on the water and get some exercise. So, this Christmas, how about treating them to a sit-on-top, which is the perfect way for youngsters to learn how to paddle?

The Kea from Johnson Outdoors UK is specially designed for children and is safe because being a sit-on-top you can’t get trapped inside. It’s very easy to transport and store and after our rather soggy summer you can make the most of any good weather because you can get out on the water simply and easily in one of these.

kea2_999940058.jpgWhat children really love about sit-on-tops is that they quickly get the feel of the craft and can move under their own power. Also they are not dependent on an adult controlling everything for them. The Kea is specifically designed around the centre of gravity and body height of a child so they can paddle freely and comfortably without banging their knuckles on the side. At 8’11” long (2.5m) and 24 ½” wide (62.2cm), the Kea weighs just 30lbs (13.6kg). It is a scaled down version of the adult’s Scrambler which is also manufactured by Ocean Kayak, the world’s number one when it comes to sit-on-tops.

The Kea costs £289 and is a present which is built to last. It is made of rotomoulded monolink polyethylene so it is incredibly durable with a sturdy, strong hull. Parents will probably find that children don’t always need the water to play in this boat either. It is very forgiving of bumps and scratches so won’t get damaged if it’s being used in the garden for Pirates of the Caribbean adventures … they’ll still be back from around the world in time for tea. What’s more, these are boats which are maintenance free.

Buoyancy aids and special paddles for children are also available from Johnson Outdoors UK. But the adults needn’t feel left out when it comes to having affordable fun on the water. The company specialises in a whole range of water craft with sit-on-tops, canoes and kayaks from leading brands such as Ocean Kayak, Old Town and Necky. Prices start at just £279 for the Yak Sport, a multipurpose recreational kayak which can be used by adults and older children. Like the Kea it’s easy to carry and transport around and several can be strapped to a standard roof rack.