Paddle Games—3 Fun Games To Play On The Water

Try these three classic games to keep your kids entertained on your next paddle adventure.

Paddle Games—3 Fun Games To Play On The Water
Photograph By Eugene Buchanan

  • “I Spy”: (“I spy something green, something wet, etc.”) – perhaps make a rule that it can only be something people see in the natural surroundings.
  • “Pattern-Not-Logic Puzzler”: One person starts by saying something like, “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing a book but not a magazine, a tool but not a saw, the moon but not the stars…” Everyone then has to guess at the secret to “packing” by coming up with similar examples. “A knife but not a fork” is incorrect, but “a spoon but not a fork” is correct. (Hint: think double letters).
  • “Story Game”: One person thinks of a story while the others try to figure it out by asking yes or no questions. “Is it about a person?” “Yes.” “Is it about you?” “No.” “Is it something that happened today?” “Maybe.” The trick is that there is no story. When people ask the questions, if the last letter in the question is a consonant, the answer is yes, if it is a vowel, the answer is no, and if it ends in a “Y,” then the answer is maybe. The stories created are usually better than anything that anyone could possibly think up on their own.

About The Author: The 14-year editor-in-chief of Paddler magazine and founder of, Eugene Buchanan has written about the outdoors for more than 25 years, from covering the X Games for to working for NBC at the Beijing Olympics. With freelance articles published in the New York Times, Men's Journal, Sports Afield, Outside, National Geographic Adventure and more, he’s a member of New York's Explorer's Club and the author of five books, including Brothers on the Bashkaus, Comrades on the Colca and the recently released Tales from a Mountain Town. Learn more at