Rafting with young children, a positive experience

Rafting With Young Children
A Positive Experience

The natural environment of the Ottawa river is one of the most prized rafting location in Canada. It is visited by thousands of people each year, most of which would like to come back the next day if it was at all possible! Many people visit us from Toronto, Montreal, or even other countries and this is due to the unique experience the Ottawa River offers. In addition, people of all age have participated in this activity, whether as a school trip, a work trip, between friends or family. However, some parents may be wondering: is it a safe and positive experience for their kids?

Rafting is actually a perfect activity for kids, and the next seven points will explain you why this is the case.


Section 1

Being in contact with nature

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Nowadays, kids are less and less in contact with nature as our lives are more and more centered around electronics and the urban environment. Rafting is thus a perfect opportunity to disconnect and to be in contact with nature. Over the course of a rafting trip, participants are exposed to the Ottawa River’s pristine natural setting as well as its different flora and fauna. You will have the opportunity to see many different species of animals. This is akin to visiting animals in a zoo, only this time the animals are living in their natural environment. This is also a unique experience for our five senses. The different sights as you go down the river. The feeling of the water rushing underneath your raft. The unique smells of a river environment. The different sounds you will hear on a rafting trip will also surprise you: from the near silence of the water between falls, to the rushing sound of water in the middle of the white waters. The taste of… water? Ok, maybe not five, four senses would be more appropriate :).

Section 2

What does it feel like rafting the rapids?

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Many parents may imagine that going through white water could be seen as a negative experience by the kids and that it could instill a fear of water. The truth is, even if it is not possible to predict the exact feeling of everybody after a few rapid, I can say that in all those years, I haven’t see many people telling me that they want to get off the raft after a few rapids. The most common comment I hear following these rafting trip is actually closer to “When do we come back!?”. Finally, as a parent, you know your kids more than anyone else. Some kids like water and could spend their entire day in a pool whereas others do not like it as much. Thus, you probably already know whether your children will enjoy rafting as much or even more than adults.

Section 3

Safety comes first

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Like driving your car, riding your bicycle or playing a soccer game, we cannot attest that rafting is 100% safe. However, statistics show that you are more likely to die from a car accident on your way to a rafting location than on your rafting trip. With us, be assured that safety comes first over anything else.

To be safe, make sure to find a certified company that has sufficient experience and knowledge to perform the activity safely. You should also make sure to wear the required equipment and to listen to what your guide is saying. Your guide has a lot of experience on the river and if you follow every guideline, there is no reason why you shouldn’t choose rafting over any other outdoor activity!

Finally, rest assured that when we are rafting with young children, we do not choose the most difficult rapids available on the river; we choose the channel that would be appropriate for their age. This means that we take care to follow the middle channel, which does not contain extreme rapids and are thus ideal for young children. However, it has enough adrenaline to make it a trip to remember for the whole family! The only requirements we have is weighting at least 40 pounds! What if we go overboard!? This shouldn’t happen on the channel we use where we are rafting with young children. As an additional safety, younger children are also placed in the middle of the raft, meaning that they are even less likely to go overboard.

Section 4

Are we going to get wet?

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Finally, after choosing the waterway you wish to experience, the length of your trip, your rafting company, and your type of accommodation, it is time to book your trip :)! Whichever option you are looking for, it is always best to book in advance, especially if you already have a specific day in mind!


Everything you bring with you on the raft will get wet, be it a camera or your keys. If you want to bring items that should not be in contact with water, make sure to put them in a waterproof bag.

Section 5

Exercise in a natural environment

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Everybody knows that one of the keys to good health is regular exercise. Paddling through the rapids and swimming in the river is great exercise and as we know it, regular exercise helps lower blood pressure and heighten the level of good cholesterol. In addition, exercising in a green environment also improves mood and self-esteem much more than the same amount of exercise in a urban environment. At the end of the day, we can tell you that you will feel tired but satisfied of your experience!

Section 6

It reduces stress

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Its been shown in many studies that kids are more and more stressed these days, even more so that their parents. This may be because kids are more sensitive to the emotions of people around them and the stress and strain of modern society may reflect on them. Unlike adults however, they do not have the same coping mechanism and time away from all these stresses is very beneficial to their well-being. This also applies to adults!

Researchers have also shown that even short exposition to nature decreases significantly the levels of stress and even increases productivity (Wells & Evans, 2003). And the longer those expositions to nature are, the lower the stress levels will be. In addition, it was also shown that even brief exposition to nature also increases your attention span, which is related to productivity. For those of us who have spent days in a row doing outdoor activities, be it camping or rafting, we know that we sometime ask ourselves at some point “What day is it???”.  In summary, getting away from the urban environment helps you relax and acts as a mental reset button, which in turn will help you when you get back to your daily routine following your vacations.

Section 7

The unique experience it provides

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Rafting with us will provide you lasting memories. And its been shown time and time again that experiences make us happier than physical possessions.  Be it of your rafting group, the sensation before, during and after the rapids, or of the natural location, your rafting experience will be a trip to remember. There is no doubt that rafting is the perfect experience for all ages (Almost… no babies are allowed :)!). Many schools visit us each year to provide their student with this unique experience due to the way it brings people together and for the unique experience! If you are looking for more information on what you will experience during your rafting trip or on what you should expect, click on this link.

In summary, there is no reason why you shouldn’t choose rafting over any outdoor activity. We can even assure you that most young children will be looking to come back again next year.

If you have more questions, we’re happy to help you: just give us a call at 1-800-690-7238, send us an email at info@raftingmomentum.com or using our contact form.

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