How to Snorkel
Learning how to snorkel is one of the easiest and most rewarding water activities you can do. On this page, I'll focus on teaching kids how to snorkel, but the same snorkeling technique applies to kids, adults, and seniors alike!
With a short amount of snorkel instructions, you and your family can enjoy this easy but adventurous activity any time you're near a body of water. You can snorkel in ANY water body that's safe to swim in, snorkeling equipment is relatively inexpensive and small enough to carry with you on virtually any vacation, and it doesn't require any special certifications or difficult to use equipment. Safe, easy, AND adventurous! What's not to love? I'll cover some snorkeling basics here to get you ready for your first snorkeling adventure!
It's always a good idea to practice using snorkeling equipment before you head off to a coral reef (especially with kids and seniors)! You can start in a pool or at the beach (if the waves aren't too intense) or even a bathtub can work (kids love a snorkel tub bath)! It's ideal to learn in water that they can stand up in!
How to blow water out of a snorkel:
A short, fast blow is better than the blowing bubbles kind of technique. You start with your tongue between your teeth and then blow out in one quick puff while making a "t" sound (or a "tw" sound might feel more natural). This can be MUCH easier to demonstrate than explain, so try to get the hang of it yourself before you try to teach your kids.
Water is bound to get in a snorkel eventually so this is an important practice step before moving on to using fins and eventually snorkeling underwater! Have your student keep trying this until they get it.
If your child/student is having trouble with this: Demonstrate yourself first with them just standing by and watching. They should be able to hear (and see) the quick puff of air you used to spray the water out the snorkel's end. Have them practice the "t" or "tw" puff, above water, without the snorkel in their mouths and then WITH the snorkel. Then, have them try it with a small amount of water. They can even do this step above water until they're comfortable: Have them hold their breath as you put a little water in their snorkel tube (quickly), and then have them blow it out as soon as they're ready.
Advanced Step: Underwater snorkeling
You and your kids can have fun snorkeling at the water surface for years without ever swimming completely underwater! But, when you see something really interesting below, you might want to be able to swim down to take a closer look. That's where underwater snorkeling comes in.
It can be intimidating the first time you decide to try snorkeling underwater. I have good news though... you most likely already know how to do it! You basically just swim underwater just as you would without a snorkel (holding your breath) and then, when you want to come back up to the surface, you can blow out a few bubbles very gently through your snorkel to help propel you back up (or just keep holding your breath, whichever you prefer). The big difference is that when you get to the surface, you don't have to take your head out of the water and gasp for air. You just need to have saved enough breath to blow the remaining water out of your snorkel in a quick burst (as you learned above) and then you can go right back to breathing through your snorkel!
If you've spent enough time practicing surface snorkeling, you're bound to have practiced this same technique plenty! When you're ready, start practicing underwater snorkeling by taking in a big breath, going under water a short distance, coming back up, blowing the water out, and then breathing through the snorkel again. Go deeper and deeper with each practice run but DO remember that, just as with non-snorkel swimming, you need to head back up to the surface before you're completely out of air! Fins can help you get deep AND get back up again very quickly.
Snorkeling starts to feel very natural and easy once you've done it a few times. We hope you enjoy learning how to snorkel and teaching your loved one. Make sure to come back here, tell us how it went, and share any snorkeling techniques you learned along the way.
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