Blowing in the Wind
Blowing in the Wind is a great game to build maneuvering skills and teamwork at the beginning of a canoe trip. Gather up a number of brightly painted pool floats, ping-pong balls or other buoyant objects and throw them off the edge of a pier. Have the canoes compete to gather the most objects. Alternately, you can have one canoe at a time pick up all the floats and time the different canoe teams to see who can gather the floats most quickly.
If you are don't mind the risk of falling in the water or getting a couple bruises, climb up on the gunwales for some rough-and-tumble canoe fun. In gunwale racing, two or more people stand on the gunwales on canoes lined side by side and race across the lake by bouncing up and down. In gunwale tipping, both people stand on the gunwales of the same canoe, facing each other from opposite side. Both people shake and tip the canoe to spill the other into the water. The last one to fall in wins.
Tug of War
A great way to blow off steam after a long day of canoeing is a game of tug of war. Have 3-4 people each in two canoes. One person in each canoe holds an end of a rope extended to the other canoe while the others paddle frantically. The first canoe to pull the other a certain distance wins the game. Alternately, the rope can be tied to the end of both canoes to allow everyone to paddle.
A canoe game which (with adequate supervision) will delight younger paddlers is tea party. Flip the canoe upside down, trapping an air bubble underneath. Two or more people can then swim under and hold on to the gunwales. They can stay beneath the canoe for several minutes, talking and holding onto the wales to stay in place. For an easier version, tip the canoe in shallow water and duck under to get in.
Of course, don't stay under too long or you'll run out of oxygen. Just to be safe, set a 90-second time limit.