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Teaching Kids How to Snorkel
Snorkeling Technique
How to Use Snorkel Gear
Teaching Kids How to Snorkel



Photo by Caroline Von Tuempling, courtesy of MTPB

You need not be a professional diver to enjoy the underwater world. Snorkeling requires nothing more than a mask, snorkel and fins! Yet when heading out to sea with the kids, selecting the right snorkel gear is only part of the task. Introducing children to snorkeling equipment, one piece at a time, and teaching them to how to snorkel will ensure the family adventure is fun, even for the first time snorkeler.

The mask
The snorkel mask is your child's window to the underwater world and it may be the only piece of snorkel gear they ever use. Teach the kids to clean, clear and defog the mask and you will do more than improve the view.
  • Clean the snorkel mask with a mild abrasive such as dish soap or toothpaste.
  • To avoid fogging rub a defogger on the lens or do it the old fashioned way, have your child rub saliva on the inside of the dry lens and then rinse the mask.
  • Be sure to loosen your child's snorkel mask before they put it on. Have them position the mask over their eyes and nose, slide the strap over their head and pull the strap ends until the mask seals comfortably. Be sure the mask is not too tight.
  • The easiest way to clear a flooded mask is to lift the lower skirt and drain the water. Older children can be taught to purge the mask by placing two hands on the top of the mask and exhaling though their nose.
  • Practice clearing the mask in shallow water where the kids can easily kneel or stand.
  • Don't forget to caution tweens and tots about breathing through their nose
The snorkel
For some children, learning to breath thorough a snorkel not to mention purging it of unwanted water may be overwhelming. Follow their lead; your kids will be quick to decide what works best for them.
  • Before you enter the water, detach the snorkel from the mask and ask your child to breath through it.
  • Once they've mastered the breathing, move the exercise to the water and have them experiment with the snorkel face down.
  • Don't be in a hurry to fasten the snorkel to the mask. Holding the snorkel will help your child gain familiarity with the equipment. No matter how uncomfortable it may appear, it works just the same.
  • There are four ways to clear the snorkel; dump, purge, blast and displace. Don't be discouraged if they lift and dump.
The fins
With fins, the biggest challenge is putting them on.
  • The easiest way to put on fins is to sit or stand in shallow water with one leg crossed over the opposite knee.
  • While it may be tempting to don fins while on day land, for a child, walking backwards or sideways with a significantly longer foot may be more frustrating than fun.
  • Teach your child to do the front and back flutter kick as well as the scissor kick. Show them how to kick from the hips and not from the knees.
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