Snorkeling for children
Teach Kids to snorkel
Kids love snorkeling and if they see you doing it they’ll want to join in. Snorkeling is a great activity for all the family to participate in together.
Start the first lesson in a bath tub, paddling pool, or the shallow end of a swimming pool. Let you kids play with the mask and snorkel above the water first so they can get used to the feel and practice breathing through the tube. Separate the mask and the snorkel and practice one at a time.
Test the mask for a good fit by holding it to the child’s face without the strap and having them breathe in through their nose to see if it sticks. If it fits ok you can then position the strap, making sure that it’s not too tight or pulling hair.
Once the mask fits you can add the snorkel. This initial fitting stage can take some time until kids get comfortable. It may be necessary to step back and try again another time. Good quality gear will make life easier. Cheap plastic kiddie masks do not conform to the contours of the face like soft silicon. A good quality snorkel with a purge drain valve in the bottom will prevent the stress of water inhalation. Good snorkels also have flexible tubes that allow better positioning and stop the snorkel from being pulled out of one side of the mouth.
Phuket snorkeling tours suitable for children
Once the child is comfortable with the fit of mask and snorkel it’s an easy progression to putting the face in the water. Then it’s just a matter of practice with close supervision. Some sort of buoyancy aid like arm bands will allow the child to focus on snorkeling without getting fatigued. Dropping objects in the pool for kids to find is a fun game.
Older kids can be given more difficult games to develop snorkeling and duck diving skills. For example place weights at the bottom of the pool for kids to dive and collect, requiring that they clear their snorkel without lifting their face from the water upon resurfacing. Set up races for individuals or teams moving from one end of the pool to the other.
A similar game is leapfrog where two weights are placed a short distance apart and two snorkelers perform duck dives in turn, each time moving the rear weight to the front. Start at the shallow end and move deeper to increase difficulty and improve surface diving technique. With a bit of effort you can also set up an underwater obstacle course with some rope, weights and bars or hoops. Also try surface swimming races with mask, snorkel and fins and underwater breath hold races.
When kids move to the sea it is important that they do not touch any coral which will cause cuts and possibly infection. Find an area with flat sea and clear water. Don’t scare kids with stories of sharks, eels and jellyfish, they may never go near the water. Instead talk of finding Nemo. Do not put bread or rice in the water to attract fish. The first encounter with fish can be scary, especially if their are too many too close.
You will need to supervise children in the water at all times so your own equipment should be sound. Having a flotation device like a life jacket or rubber ring to hand can be useful in case the child takes fright and grabs a hold of you.
You will probably find that once the kids get the hang of snorkeling they just won’t want to stop so sun protection is essential. Kids also need to be taught to be aware of their surroundings so that they don’t stray too far or bump into other snorkelers.