• sign in
  • |
  • sign up
  • |
  • my miniguide
  • |
  • write a review
  • Travel Guides
  • » 
  • Active Adventure
  • » 
  • Snorkeling
Snorkeling with Kids
Snorkeling Destinations
Things to Do
Family Travel Tips
Snorkeling with Kids

Exploring the house reef at the Maldives


Photo by Boris Schmalenberger, courtesy of MTPB

Children are naturally curious. And thanks to recent films, Disney's In Search of Nemo to name one, that curiosity extends to the underwater world. Whether you explore shallow waters in search of a certain black and orange-stripped fish or gaze at marine life in the folds of coral reef, snorkeling is a great way to turn a family beach vacation into an adventure with kids. What's more, snorkeling is inexpensive and it affords family fun for everyone.

You need not be a professional diver to enjoy the underwater world. Snorkeling requires nothing more than a mask, snorkel and fins! Yet there are a few things you can do to enhance a family snorkeling trip. Selecting the right snorkel gear and introducing the kids to snorkeling equipment, one piece at a time, will ensure the excursion is enjoyable. Snorkeling near your children will make it safe and fun; not only can you help them identify fish you can assist them with difficulties such as a flooded mask. An adult should enter the water first. Not only will this enable a parent to assist the children it will help the little one overcome any residual fear. Make sure each child wears a secure life vest, no matter how well they swim.

Snorkeling is a rewarding experience for both adults and kids. Yet curiosity and the quest for an exhilarating experience can easily lead to a situation in which sea life is a risk. As tempting as it may be to bring home a souvenir of your child's first snorkeling vacation, it is prohibited to collect shells and coral in many tropical destinations. What's more, simply touching coral can cause the death of an entire colony.

Families partaking in a group tour will want to discuss onboard etiquette before they depart on a snorkeling trip. Teach the kids how to work out of their gear bag and avoid a sprawling mess on the boat floor. Be sure the tikes understand the importance of remaining seated when the boat is in motion as well as the need to keep out of the way of others. If you outing includes divers, allow them to enter the water first.
Facts about Coral Polyps
Multicolored Corals

Multicolored Corals



There are a lot of fun facts about corals. Did you know that:

  • Corals are the exoskeleton of sea animals called polyps. When coral polyps die they leave behind a hard, stony structure that over time build up to form a coral reef.
  • Coral polyps, like jellyfish and anemones, use their arm-like tentacles to catch food and feed their small mouth located in the center.
  • Corals come in many shapes. They can be shaped like domes, organ pipes and trees.
  • Corals are transparent and don't have any color at all. It is the alga, called zooxanthellae, that gives coral its color.
  • Coral polyps need zooxanthellae to survive. Zooxanthellae, like all plants, takes in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen during the process known as photosynthesis. For polyps, the oxygen is sugar.
  • When coral is stressed it expels the zooxanthellae giving up its color and an important source of food. This phenomenon is called chloral bleaching.
  • Coral polyps, one of the smallest animals in the world, make the only natural formation visible from outer space.
Travel Trivia
Cinque Terre is Italian for:
Books for Kids about Oceans
Free Travel Journal
Get a free kids travel journal to document your family vacation.
Download PDF