Bring children on the sailing trip: activities for kids

By Laura Holsteinborg

Last updated December 20, 2022

Excursion for the whole family

A sail trip with GoBoat is an experience for the whole family. If you haven’t yet got the chance to bring your children out on the water, or if you simply just are in need of som tips to make the trip a bit more fun for everybody, this article is for you. We’ll do our best to give you some suggestions on how to prepare all members of your family for a sailing trip with children on board. We’ll present various activities for children on the trip.

Preparations before sailing

Regardless of whether it’s your child's first trip out sailing or if your child has already tried it a couple of times before, preparation is key for a good experience. In all ages it’s important to have respect for the water and take precautions very seriously. The Copenhagen Harbor offers a calm environment which gives you the perfect opportunity to teach your child to move on and around the water from an early age. The sooner you bring your child out on the water the sooner your child gets used to being on a boat, the water and how to sail. No matter your intention, if it’s about preparing your child for a life at sea or just to create great experiences for your child on the water, GoBoat and the Copenhagen Harbor is an obvious way to do so.

And that’s why we have listed the following four important points for those of you who are planning to go sailing with your child:

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Entertainment
  • Provisions
Photo: Christoffer Strange

Safety on the water

It’s important that safety is on top of everything when being on the water. The most important thing to make sure when you’re going sailing is to bring a life vest for you and your child. We got life vests in various sizes for kids of all ages. These will be handed out at check in. For adults the life vests are placed in a room underneath the captain’s seat in the boat. It is not a legal requirement for adults to wear life vests during the sail, but it is highly recommended to do it anyway. Safety first.
Since everybody can sail with our boats, no matter the level of prior sailing experience, it’s very important to know the rules before you sail out. You’ll get instructions about the harbor rules and guidelines and how to be a responsible captain both at check in and when the crew sends you out on your trip. By doing so we secure that you’re capable of sailing among other vessels and users of the harbor. You can read more about the different vessels and other users of the harbor you’ll meet on your way in the Copenhagen Harbor.

Security on the water

To secure the best experience on the water for your child it’s important to show that you’re not insecure about the situation since it can affect your child. Therefore it’s a good idea to come prepared and do your best to be as confident and comfortable as possible before you sail out. You can do that by reading rules and regulations beforehand.

When you have booked the boat through our booking system you’ll receive a booking confirmation with a link to ‘The Captain’s Handbook’. In The Captain’s Handbook we have collected all the important information you need to read to secure a safe sail. You have completed The Captain’s Handbook when you are done with the mini quiz which you’ll find in the bottom of the page. Bring the mail you receive after completing the quiz. If you do so you won’t have to go through the safety regulations at check in. If you have any questions or worries you’re still more than welcome to ask the crew away.

Entertainment on board

A sailing trip is a child friendly experience with many impressions and we all know that it can be a bit difficult for children to keep concentrated for a longer period of time. We recommend that you bring some activities for the children to make while sailing. In GoBoat we have made different activity kits for children:

  • Søstjernemissionen
  • Røverhistorier fra havnen
  • Vikingemissionen

The products can be bought when you book your boat online or in our GoDeli in Copenhagen at check in. You can read more about our different activity kits here.

Activites when sailing

Games on the water

We have collected a few fun games and activities for children, that can be done on board the boat. None of the games require additional equipment.

I spy with my little eye

The first game is called ‘I spy with my little eye’. First you must select a person to start the game (tip: children love to start). The person chooses an object that he or she can see in the surroundings, for example a bridge, a sign or a boat. The person then gives the others on board a small hint about what they are looking at. Let’s imagine that there is a blue boat nearby, which allows the person to say “I spy with my little eye something blue”. Now the others in the boat have to guess what the person is looking at. The first person who guesses correctly gets to choose a new thing, the others have to guess.

The game can continue until you can’t be bothered anymore, or you can play until one person has guessed a certain number of things. The game is a good way to be aware of the surroundings in the harbor and perhaps discover new exciting things.

Chain history

The other game that we can recommend on a sailing trip, is a chain story. First, you must choose a person to start the game. That person must now say two to three sentences of the beginning of a story to their partner. It can be a made-up story, or a well-known story from a book, to make it a little easier for the little ones. The sidemate now retells the story to his sidemate in the boat and adds two to three new sentences. The story then develops as it goes around the boat, and the last person in the boat must then be able to tell the story out loud.

Whisper game

The game is very similar to the previous chain story, but this time the person who starts has to whisper a story to his partner. The sidemate then whispers the same story to his sidemate. When the last person has had the story whispered, this person must say the story out loud, so that you can hear how much the story has changed along the way. Tip: it’s a good idea to keep the story short, because otherwise it can be very difficult for the last one.

Activities at sea

Our boats are equipped with picnic tables in the middle of the boat, which are useful for food, but also activities for children. We recommend bringing colored pencils and paper or books that the children can draw in. The children could fittingly choose to draw something they have seen on the trip. It could, for example, be a building or a passing boat.

It is also possible for you to get a fishing net for the sailing trip from our crew, so the children can fish rubbish from the water on the trip. If they catch something, they get a licorice pipe when they get back ashore.

Photo: Abdellah Ihadian

Provisions for the sailing trip

We believe that a good sailing trip goes hand in hand with a good supply of provisions, which is why we have picnic tables in all our boats. You can bring virtually any kind of provisions on board our boats when you go sailing. But there are of course some things that are easier to handle on a boat than others. Therefore, we suggest that you either pre-order food for the sailing trip with us (subject to the summer season), order food at one of the many cafes and kitchens located in the canals or bring food that is easy to handle on board. Some ideas for what you can bring from home are homemade sandwiches, sausage horns or pizza snails. You can read much more about the different food options in the harbor and what we recommend right here.

When you are on a sailing trip, it is a good idea to pack snacks for your child regardless, as children quickly become restless, seasick or just hungry. Here, a small snack can be perfect to remove the focus from what else is happening around your child. In this way, your child can relax more easily and concentrate on something else. A snack and some activities for children are a perfect way to ensure that even the smallest people onboard have a good sailing trip.

Pack a basket, make a spread and go explore the big blue.

GoBoat picnic on the water

The seasons

Regardless of the season, there is one important factor that determines the quality of a sailing trip - and that is, of course, the weather. What is a good idea to wear when going sailing, and how do you deal with the weather? We have made a whole article about it here. If you have a handle on what to wear, you can start thinking about what defines the four seasons and what significance they have for your sailing trip.


During summer, you can, as is often the case, expect lots of sun and heat. Here, the sun is high in the sky, and the harbor oozes with life. It also means that there are many more boats and other water activities that have to share the same space in the harbor and canals. Therefore, it may well be crowded with the many sailors in the canals. But for the same reason, there is also a lot of life and activity in the city’s many cozy eateries and cafes along the canals.


If you like the canals to be a little calmer, autumn is a really good time for you to sail. In the autumn, there are fewer users of the water, which is why it is more peaceful. Some days it almost feels as if you have the harbor all to yourself. But it’s not just the dwindling traffic that makes autumn perfect for sailing. In the autumn months, you can quite easily be lucky enough to catch some beautiful sunny days, where the sun’s rays are warm despite the falling temperature. All while nature and the cityscape changes color from the very green towards yellow, red and orange tones. This makes autumn such a pleasant time of year for a sailing trip.


In winter, the cold really sets in, and the canals are almost deserted. However, there are still a few kayakers, yachtsmen and boat rental companies that remain open in winter. Both the large canal cruises and the small private GoBoats sail all year round. Hats and mittens are being put to use to keep warm in the cooler weather. At this time of year, you can hardly avoid noticing the cozy vibe around you. People go for walks in big puffer jackets, the smell of roasted almonds and hot cocoa lingers on almost every street corner, and the city is alive with life on the otherwise short days, where darkness quickly falls and the light from the white and yellow street lamps takes over.

It’s the time of year to put on warm clothes, buy some freshly roasted almonds and take warm drinks with you on a sailing trip with family and friends. You can enjoy the harbour, the water and the canals, which are wonderfully quiet, while you move almost without a sound through the atmospheric winter capital.


As spring approaches, the temperatures slowly begin to rise, jackets become lighter, and hats and gloves are put back on the shelves. Just like in autumn, in spring you can enjoy the fact that nature starts to take on a bit of color again, as trees, flowers and bushes start to bloom. It is also during spring that the activity slowly increases in the canals again, with a quiet hum of life in the harbour. Spring usually has a lot of beautiful clear days, where a sailing with a group of friends, colleagues or the children would be nice.

GoBoat Copenhagen Harbor

Take a holiday with GoBoat

In Denmark, we are lucky to have a lot of holidays, and in addition to holidays we also have public holidays, such as Easter. We all love holidays, but what do you think of doing during a holiday? Especially when you are a family, it can be a challenge to come up with activities for children.

While there are lots of activities for children in and around Copenhagen, we hope that you will go out and enjoy a nice sailing trip, maybe pack a picnic basket or buy some snacks to take on board from our GoDeli. That way you can get out and enjoy nature in a slightly different way, and if you bring your child along, we have prepared some activities for the little ones that can make the sailing trip even more fun. Read more about our activity kits here.

Educational activities for children

If the holiday, in addition to having fun, needs good and educational input, a sailing trip could be a really good suggestion. On the trip, your child can learn a lot about the water, about boats and about sailing - the maritime life. It can be through our activity kits, which contain lots of useful tips, exciting stories and facts about the maritime world. It can also be through the impressions and experiences that are made by enjoying the sailing trip. There is therefore plenty of opportunity for activities for children on board with us.

No two days on the water are the same, and we love that. Whether it’s because of the ever changing ships that sail by or dock, the new people on the quay, or the changing weather, we don’t know, we just love it - and we hope you do or will do the same. So take your family or friends with us on a sailing trip during your holidays! GoBoat Copenhagen is open most of the year because we just can’t do without sailing trips.


Are children in all ages allowed on board?

Yes, as long as your child is accompanied by an adult.

Do you have life vest for kids?

Yes, GoBoat have life vest for kids in all ages. They are handed out at check in.

How many people can fit in a GoBoat?

8 people are allowed on board on a GoBoat. No exceptions.

Does every boat have a picnic table?

Yes all GoBoat have a picnic table no matter which location.