7 of the best bodyboards for kids

Make the most of the coast with a bodyboard, including options perfect for beginners

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Kids' bodyboards

You can’t beat a beach day with all the family, especially when the sun’s out. A fun way way to make the most of your staycation along the coast by getting the kids involved in bodyboarding. Children can surf the waves from the shallows and get used to the water while they learn to improve their balance and control.

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We’ve put together some simple tips below to get them involved and have also found some great bodyboards for you to choose from.

For more beach activities we’ve also chosen some of the beach toys for kids. Plus, if you’re planning to go boarding on a camping trip, we’ve found some of the best family tents as well as camping games for kids to take along with you.

What size kids’ bodyboard do I need?

The first thing to consider with a bodyboard is the size. Standard bodyboards are made for adults and will mostly be to big for children to manage. There should be plenty of kids’ bodyboards to choose from, a lot of which are available as “one size” boards which are scaled down versions of the larger adult board.

There aren’t standard dimensions for kids’ boards and different styles might be slightly longer or wider depending on the design.  However, surf brands do make more tailored bodyboards, which are designed for more specific ages and weights.

These board sizes may be specified in age ranges or kilogram ranges. This means you can get a slightly smaller board than usual for younger children who are having their first turn on the waves.

What features on a kids’ bodyboard should I consider?

girl body boarding

Most boards for kids will come with a leash which attaches around the ankle or wrist. This handy strap prevents the board from floating away when kids let go of it in the water. Some models may include this as an optional extra which has to be bought separately, but this only tends to be on high end boards or those for adults.

Other designs may have attached handles on either side at the head of the board. Handles can be helpful for kids to hang onto so they can keep the board steady and prevent it from slipping out beneath their hands.

While most boards are solid, there are also inflatable options which can be especially useful on camping trips or days at the beach, when boot space is more limited. Some designs could even potentially double as a pool float for when you’re not on the beach, too.

How to bodyboard with children

When using a bodyboard, children should ideally be wearing a rash vest or a kids’ wetsuit. This is because kids will be in contact with the wet, salty board which can be irritating on their skin without a protective layer.

Once you’ve got them kitted out, introduce children to the waves slowly, without the board at first. Some children will have the confidence to dive right in but others may need a little persuading, or they won’t enjoy it.

Especially with younger children, stay in the shallow water closest to the edge where the waves will be smallest. As confidence and age builds up, they can move in further but to get started you can stay with them at the shoreline. You’ll also want to supervise little ones while they play, just to make sure they’re safe.

To bodyboard, get kids to lie on the centre of the board and hold onto the top of the board or the handles. They should keep their chest raised and head directly into the waves towards the beach, as though cutting into them down the middle.

This method should allow kids to be carried to the shore with the wave as it rolls in. If they go into the waves side on, they’ll likely be nudged off the board and won’t be carried with flow.

Here’s our pick of the best bodyboards for kids…

1. Radbug 100 Kids’ Bodyboard with Leash, £19.99

Size: 6 to 12 years old (25 to 40 kg)

This bodyboard by Radbug includes an attached leash and the top edge of the board is moulded for ergonomic grip, meaning it should be easier to grip on the waves. The board isn’t recommended for use on waves higher than 50cm, as it is part of the brand’s “novice” range.

This children’s bodyboard went down well with previous buyers, scoring an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 with 470 reviews on the Decathlon website.

Reviewers were impressed with the quality and value of this model, with one parent saying, “This little bodyboard is tough and actually works amazingly, so glad I bought it before our trip to Cornwall.”

Another described it as a, “good quality, well made board and excellent value.”

Available from: Decathlon

2. Schildkrot Funsports Children’s Bodyboard, £13.27

Size: M (H69xW45xD4.5cm), L (H93xW46xD5cm)

This lightweight bodyboard is made from foam, so it should be light enough for little ones to carry, and it features a vibrant graffiti style design. There’s a leash included with a simple strap which kids can attach around their wrist, meaning it should be easier to hang on to in the water.

There’s two sizes to choose from depending on the size of your child and this model is a bestseller on Amazon. It averages a score of 4 out of 5 stars and one customer said, “it’s a great board – was bought for our son and his friend – brought them a lot of fun on holiday.”

A couple of reviews mentioned that this isn’t a top quality board, which is reflected in the price of this one compared to some of the higher-end, surf brand options. But if your kids are new to bodyboarding, this could be a fun way to try it out before investing in more expensive kit.

Available from: Amazon

3. LOL Surprise Board, £17.81

Size: one size (L84cm)

This bodyboard is printed with a bright, fun LOL Surprise design which children should love. It’s slightly longer than some of the other bodyboards meaning more of their body can stay on the board when going over the waves.

Previous buyers seemed happy the design of the board, with one parent saying that, “the colours are bright…for my 8 year old, it’s perfect.” Another reviewer added that the board was, “equipped with a useful ankle/wrist strap so you can’t lose it when taken away by the waves.”

Available from: Amazon

4. Kids’ Inflatable Bodyboard, £9.99

Size: ­­­­­4 to 8 years old (15 to 25 kg)

This slightly more specialised bodyboard is designed for young children between 4 and 8 years old, making it ideal for their first go on the waves, guided by an adult. Part of the brand’s “novice” range, this board is designed for waves of up to 50cm high.

This model is inflatable, meaning it can be deflated afterwards for easy storage and transportation to the beach and it is also more lightweight. The two handles at the head of the board also provide easier grip for little ones to steady themselves with.

Available from: Decathlon

5. Frozen Bodyboard, £22.99

Size: one size (H82xW46xD5cm)

One way to get little ones interested in an activity is to theme it with something they love and there are few things as popular with kids as Frozen!

This Frozen printed bodyboard has a fun design as well as being light and buoyant so it will float easily. However, it is worth noting that this board doesn’t include a leash or wrist-strap, so this would need to be purchased separately and attached.

Available from: Amazon

6. Bodyatu Kids’ Bodyboard with Handles, £17.99

Size: 4 to 8 years old (15 to 25 kg)

This body board for children is designed for younger kids from the age of 4 to 8. It’s ideal for children who are having their first go at bodyboarding and for depths of up to waist height.

The handy grips also make it easier for little ones to hang on as they go over the waves. The manufacturer specifically advises wearing a rash vest or wetsuit while using this board.

The model went down well with previous buyers who rated it 4.3 out of 5 overall with more than 600 reviews.

Reviewers described it as “very good for the price,” and one parent added, “it’s an excellent bodyboard for small children since it has handles which they can easily hold. My daughter had great fun with this product down in Cornwall.”

Available from: Decathlon

7. Intex Joy Rider Inflatable Bodyboard, £8.99

Size: 6 years old plus (L112xW62cm)

These inflatable bodyboards are longer than most, making them useful to lie on as a pool float as well as for a fun beach activity. The secure handles on either side of the board are great for kids to hang on to more securely, too.

Made from sturdy vinyl, there is a choice of either red or orange flame designs. Being inflatable, they’re also lightweight and won’t take up much space to transport when deflated.

Available from: On Buy

Images: Amazon, Decathlon, On Buy and Getty

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