Going on vacation with your little ones? Why not bring snorkeling gear for the kids along? Snorkeling is a great activity the entire family can participate in. Snorkeling with kids may sound like a challenge, but it’s a great way to instill curiosity and a love for the great outdoors! Because kids are naturally inquisitive, they love exploring and playing in the water, and will spend hours investigating the magical world under the waves.
Obviously you’ll need to pick out snorkeling gear that fits well, is high quality, and is rugged enough to withstand the abuse kids sometimes inflict on their belongings. Picking a high quality snorkel set is important, because poor quality snorkels can leak water, fog up easily, and ruin your kids snorkeling experience.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Kids Snorkel Sets
Snorkeling Gear for kids explained
Most kids snorkeling gear comes as a set with a mask, snorkel and fins. Obviously, safety is the number one priority when it comes to gear for your kids. If your child is young and not yet comfortable swimming on their own, be sure to get them a snorkel vest or arm floaties. A snorkel vest will keep them floating horizontally in the water. Also, make sure to bring a good waterproof sunscreen, as the water will amplify the amount of UV rays from the sun.
Kids Snorkel Masks
Getting a well-fitting snorkel mask that doesn’t leak is the key to a fun snorkeling experience. If possible, have your child try on the mask and ensure it’s a good fit before use. The seal around the mask, called the skirt, should be airtight and comfortable. It should not be too tight, or have any gaps. Look for a good quality silicone skirt, as they tend to be the most comfortable.
A good mask should also have tempered glass lenses. These heat treated lenses offer great eye protection and are scratch resistant. Lastly, make sure your kid can adjust the strap on the back of the mask. This is what keeps the mask and snorkel in position and should be comfortable to wear for prolonged periods.
After the mask, the snorkel itself is probably the most important piece of kids snorkeling gear. The snorkel tube should fit comfortably on your child’s head, which is why it’s important to get the right size. Using an adult sized snorkel is not a good idea. The mouthpiece on kids snorkels are made to fit a smaller mouth, and an adult one would prevent proper snorkel use.
As you may know, most snorkels nowadays incorporate a dry top system. This prevents any water from entering the snorkel when the tip of the snorkel is below the water. This is an especially good idea for kids, as they are just learning to snorkel, and might accidentally swallow saltwater otherwise. A purge valve is another feature to look for, which allows any excess water in the snorkel to be expelled out by blowing. Most snorkels will have this feature.
Kids snorkeling fins are similar to adult snorkeling fins, although smaller. Similarly to adult fins, they come in closed heel and open heel styles. Because kids are constantly outgrowing things, the open heel style is the way to go. That way, you can precisely adjust the fit of the fin, and as your kids feet grow, you can adjust the heel strap for a good fit.
Different levels of fin stiffness are also available. Stiffer fins will allow your kid to swim harder and faster, but are a bit more effort to use. Softer fins are more forgiving and easier to use, but don’t swim as fast. So for younger kids, softer fins are the way to go, as they make learning to snorkel much easier.
Top 5 Snorkel Sets for Kids
What to Consider when Choosing Kids Snorkeling Gear – Buying Guide
Kids snorkeling gear comes in a variety of sizes, from toddler sized all the way up to teenager. If possible, have your kid try on the snorkel and mask before purchasing. You’ll know that the mask is a good fit by having your kid put on the mask and inhale through their nose. If the mask “sucks in” and stays on their face comfortably, then it’s a good fit. Also be sure to try out the strap and make sure it’s easy for your kid to adjust on their own. Lastly, ensure that the mouthpiece is comfortable and not too big for your kids mouth.
After you determine the correct size, the next step is ensuring the fit is comfortable and the snorkel set can be used for hours without pain. For the fins, if you have a closed heel, you’ll want to make sure the fit is just right, as it cannot be adjusted. For an open heel, you don’t need to have an exact fit. As long as the fit is decent, it can be fine-tuned later on. For either style, getting some neoprene dive socks is a good idea. This will make the fins more comfortable and will prevent blisters from developing.
Kids snorkeling gear is not all the same. Sets come with different accessories. Look for one with a good quality gear bag to carry the mask and fins. Some sets also come with earplugs, which can come in handy if your kid has issues with ear infections.
We all know kids are prone to breaking things, so a snorkel set with a good warranty is a plus. Most kids snorkeling gear comes with a one year warranty, but some of the better brands include a two year warranty.