Your kids will find themselves getting into the swing of things the second they step aboard their boat. It’s a simple process, really! Just work up a team scenario where everyone has their responsibilities, as though you were on a sea-going vessel. Even a seven-year old can play a role with helping the boat as you maneuver through the locks! It might be as seemingly insignificant as being responsible for the hammer used to pound metal rods into the bank to tie the boat to (we named ours Mjölnir after Thor’s hammer in the movies), but the kids will soon realize that as they work the ropes, they are playing just as important a role in the docking process as any of the adults! And it is great fun!
As kids reach their tweens, they start yearning for that thing that we, as adults, are less and less inclined to give them – freedom (especially when overseas in another country). But barging on the canals of France in the beautiful rural areas offers an opportunity to do that! When setting up your holiday, be sure to include bikes (ideally, at least one for each child or teen). You’ll know how far your own kids can be trusted, but there are tow paths that run for miles along the canals that are the perfect biking escape for smaller ones looking to get away from the old people! In our case, we allowed our kids to go off exploring as far as they could hear the horn on our boat. In most cases, they were happy to ride a mile or so ahead, cross over a medieval bridge, and then ride back to us, but no matter how short the distance was, it meant freedom for our tweens.