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Supported by Royal Navy

Kayak keep away

Practise your stopping, starting, and turning with an energetic game on the water. Don’t take your eye off the ball!

You will need

  • Kayak
  • Paddles
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Ball

Before you begin

  • This game’s designed for when you’re spending time on the water kayaking. Everyone will need to learn the basics of kayaking (like how to paddle) first.
  • If you’re new to kayaking, want to refresh your memory, or want some ideas to prepare for the session, take a look at our Kayaking activity details.
  • Remind everyone that throughout the game, they should always have a firm grip on their paddle and be aware of the space around them. You may want to introduce a signal that means everyone should stop, too.

Play the game

  1. Once everyone’s warmed up, the person leading the game should choose two players to be in the middle.
  2. Everyone else should form a large circle, with the noses of their boats facing inwards. The two chosen players should be in the middle of the circle.
  3. The outside players should use their hands to throw the ball back and forth across the circle. They must throw it on as soon as they’ve caught it, and they must throw it across the circle (not to the players on either side of them).
  4. If they miss the ball, the outside players can carefully use their paddles to retrieve it. They mustn’t break the circle to get the ball if it’s in the middle – they’ll just need to reach with their paddle.
  1. Meanwhile, the people in the middle should try to steal the ball. They could lift their paddles to intercept it, or race to get missed balls from the middle before the outside players reach it.
  2. Whenever the people in the middle steal the ball, the outside player who touched it last should join them and become a player in the middle.
  1. Everyone should keep playing until about half of the group are in the middle. Then they should start again with new people in the middle.


This activity was a chance to be active, and hopefully it also gave people a mood-boost. How did people have to move to win the game? Was it a good way to get confident on the water? Did people enjoy playing? Do people think games are a good way to practise skills? People could think about how they’re usually enjoyable, so it’s easier to stick at it, and it’s useful to practise skills in a situation that feels more ‘real’. Can anyone think of an example of another skill they’ve practised? Do they remember the details, or have they forgotten them? People could think about how they learned it and whether it helped.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Poles and long objects

Be careful when moving poles or long items. Take care if the ends are sharp. Have appropriate supervision for this activity.

Water games and activities

Be careful when doing activities with, in, or near water. Check surfaces and reduce the risk of slipping where possible. Make sure you have appropriate supervision for this activity.