"Under the Sea"-- that's where some of the best fun is, when you travel to places with warm water and coral and beautiful fish-life. With a little effort, kids as young as five or six can have a great time snorkeling.
Difficulty Level: Varies Time Required: 1-2 hours.
- Start in the bath-tub, at least a week before your trip.
- Let him/her play with the snorkel, and get the hang of breathing through it.
- Now, try the face-mask-- without the snorkel. Make sure the face-mask fits well-- kids can't stand it when water leaks in! (See Tips, below.)
- Have your child position just the front of the face-mask on his/her face.
- Be sure to smooth back all stray hair! Water will leak into the face mask via any strands of hair.
- Now, pull the strap section of the mask over his/her head, and into position. This is the hard part! Kids hate to feel the rubber strap pull against their hair. Pull the strap far from the head, to minimize contact.
- Be patient. If the child is frustrated, stop for now, and try another time.
- Once the child is comfortable with the mask, try adding the snorkel.
- The snorkel doesn't need to be attached properly, i.e. threaded through the loop on the face-mask. You can just tuck it between the face-mask and your child's face.
- Once at your destination, practice in a pool if one is available.
- When you finally try real-life snorkeling in the sea, try to find a calm place, like a lagoon. Wave action can un-nerve a child, at first.
- Bring along water-wings, so that your child's energy isn't used up just staying afloat.
- You don't need to buy expensive snorkels -- in fact, it may be better to buy cheaper ones and get a few extra, to increase your chances of getting a good fit on little faces.
- Don't worry too much if the child doesn't catch on, during practice sessions in the bathtub: snorkeling in real-life is far more motivating!
- Make sure you're comfortable with your own equipment-- you'll have to stay very near your child, as she/he explores this exciting new world.