Paddling with a canoe is fun, enjoyable, and simple to do as it will allow you to rest your arm in-between strokes. However, kayaks also are very enjoyable and allow far more control than you can have with a canoe. If you are with children, you may wish to consider using a canoe if they are not experienced at using kayaks, but many families enjoy kayaking together if they can afford it and know what they are doing. It is up to the individual or individuals whether they prefer choosing the canoe or kayak based on their personal desires and tastes.
When paddling a canoe, you will be able to relax between strokes and be more secure in the canoe. Your paddling will be more effective at keeping you safe and if you need to correct yourself you will have the time to do so as you can quickly correct your movements. A kayak gives you more control, but your kayak will also react faster and more easily in a situation when reaction speed is very important. It will also allow your paddling to move you more quickly through the water and catch up to individuals or to turn yourself around if you need to which is not always very easy in a canoe.
You are able to stow more gear and individuals in a canoe than you are able to in a kayak. This adds to the weight when you are paddling, but it is also easier to get a hold of any piece of your gear when you need it. A disadvantage though is if your gear is stowed incorrectly and your canoe flips you will lose your gear. However, if you stow your gear correctly and tie it down, your gear will be safe but you will need a hand usually at righting your canoe.
When paddling a kayak, you are able to stow far less gear but your gear is sealed up in the wet skin and it is far less likely you will lose any of your gear when you tip over. When using a kayak it is inevitable that at some point your kayak will turn over, therefore using the wet skin is beneficial when you are kayaking and paddling. It is also very important to wear a lifejacket when you are using either a kayak or a canoe, especially on your children if they are paddling with you.
Should your canoe or kayak tip over, your paddling will help you right yourself. However, while learning paddling is important, it is far more important that you learn how to swim in case paddling is not enough and your canoe or kayak tips. Swimming can not only save a life, but knowing how to swim may save the life of another individual if their boat, canoe, or kayak capsizes. In addition, knowing how to swim means you will be able to teach your children or your children will be able to teach their children paddling and swimming.