Our little boy can’t swim yet, but he loves to snorkel. When you go on a diving holiday with kids, snorkeling is a great way to discover the underwater world together with your child! It’s a great basis for homeschooling as well. Both of us are scuba divers and we greatly enjoy teaching our son about the reef’s ecosystem and its inhabitants. If you want your child to really enjoy the experience it’s important to buy the best snorkel gear for kids. Pay special attention to your kids’ snorkel mask. A top-rated snorkel mask for kids is essential. A leaking kids swim mask will most likely ruin the experience.
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- 1 What is a kids snorkel set?
- 2 Best kids snorkel gear comparison table
- 3 Best full face snorkel mask for kids comparison table
- 4 Why do you need snorkeling gear for kids?
- 5 What to consider when buying the best snorkel set for kids
- 6 Kids snorkeling gear reviews
- 7 Other kids snorkel products you may need
In this product guide, we will tell you all about the top-rated snorkel gear for kids. Read our kids snorkel set reviews and lots of information about the best snorkel for kids, the best snorkel mask for kids and the best kids fins.
IMPORTANT: if your child doesn’t know how to swim yet or isn’t a strong swimmer, let them wear a kids snorkel vest or inflatable armbands and never let them snorkel alone!
What is a kids snorkel set?
Snorkeling gear for kids consists of a kids snorkel, a kids snorkel mask and kids swim fins. If your child can’t swim yet, you can consider buying a kids snorkel vest. We simply use inflatable armbands or ‘arm floaties’, which work great. Make sure to pair your snorkeling kit for kids with sun protection swimwear and the best sunblock for kids (make sure you use reef save sun screen!). You’ll get a sunburn quickly while snorkeling. Kids wetsuits are great if your child gets cold easily.
Best snorkels for kids
A snorkel is basically just a bent J-shaped tube with a mouthpiece. Traditional snorkels are therefore also known as J-snorkels. For adults, almost any type of snorkel will do, but for kids there are two things you need to pay attention to: the mouthpiece and the design of the snorkel. A snorkel for kids or a toddler snorkel has a smaller mouthpiece with a more comfortable fit. It needs to be comfortable enough for them to keep it in their mouth for a while. If it hurts in their mouth, kids will obviously not want to use it. Getting a snorkel with a ‘dry’ design, either a semi-dry or a dry top snorkel is preferred as a kids snorkel. With a dry snorkel, even if they do accidentally dip the top of the snorkel in the water or catch a bit of spray, no water will flow in. In case water flows in at the mouthpiece or if the dry mechanism leaks, a purge valve at the bottom still allows water to be expelled upon exhaling.
Best snorkel mask for kids
A leaky mask can ruin all the fun, any scuba diver or snorkeler will tell you this. And while an adult may get away with it, clearing your mask every few seconds simply isn’t doable for a child. Getting salty seawater in their eyes can put your kids off snorkeling altogether, so it’s best to minimize the chance by buying a good fitting children’s snorkel mask. To clear things up, kids swimming goggles do not work for snorkeling. There is no such thing as snorkeling goggles for kids. Goggles only cover your eyes, which is great for swimming. But a proper kids snorkel mask needs to cover both the eyes and the nose. Snorkeling masks come in two designs, you can either get a single lens mask or a two-window mask. Is the best snorkel mask for kids the best snorkel mask for your child? The fit of a kids’ diving mask depends on your child’s age and the shape of their face. A snorkel mask for 2-year-old will be much smaller than a junior snorkel mask. For adults with a narrow face a kids scuba mask will often be a good solution.
Full face snorkel mask kids
To us scuba divers the full face snorkel masks look a bit silly. But, you can’t deny they make snorkeling more accessible for a lot of people. And a kids full face mask can be more comfortable for kids than a regular mask and snorkel. It’s easier to breathe as kids can breathe both through their mouth and nose, there’s no discomfort for jaws and teeth and no fogging. It’s important to note that the dry snorkel system only works if the snorkel is immersed vertically. If your children dip their head forward a bit too much or try to dive, water will flow in. As with any type of scuba mask, size and fit are important. A children’s full face snorkel mask is basically an adult full face mask in a smaller size. Make sure to get the smallest size available and check the sizing tables. Full face snorkel masks are not suited for as toddler snorkel mask, even the smallest size will be too big. As with a regular snorkel mask for kids, the mask needs to fit properly in order to create a seal and keep the water out.
Safety of full-face snorkel masks for kids
A word of caution. People often ask if a full face snorkel mask for children is safe. There’s a lot of controversy about that as full face masks have only been on the market a relatively short time and there is no set testing standard. It’s said that CO2 buildup might occur in the mask due to the lack of ventilation. Especially in the case of low-cost full face masks that are made by little-known copycat companies, it’s unclear what research and testing have been done. These might not be safe. It’s important to ensure the fit of the full face mask and the lack of leaks is not a good indicator with full face masks. The breathing part of the mask (the part that looks like an oxygen mask) should seal properly over the nose and mouth so that no air escapes into the seeing part. The way to test this is to put the mask on out of the water and breathe normally. If only the breathing part fogs up this means no air escapes into the rest of the mask. Also, make sure to practice using the mask with your kids in the pool before snorkeling in the ocean.
Best swim fins for kids
Kids swim fins are smaller than fins for adults but other than that they’re pretty much the same. There are two types of children’s swimming fins: closed pocket fins or open heel fins. Snorkel fins for kids aren’t essential for snorkeling, they can just use a kids mask and snorkel set. But kids snorkel fins do add to the fun. Our son enjoys snorkeling even more with his toddler fins. Closed pocket fins are usually lighter than open heel fins and are worn with bare feet. In open heeled youth swim fins kids can wear neoprene water shoes, which is great when you’re snorkeling from a rocky beach where the reef starts close to shore.
Best kids snorkel gear comparison table
Best full face snorkel mask for kids comparison table
Why do you need snorkeling gear for kids?
Kids as young as 3 years of age can learn how to snorkel. Some kids, like our son, are naturals. They love the water and can snorkel almost straight away. For other kids, it takes a bit more practice. Even adults can find snorkeling a bit of a challenge at first. But the result is so rewarding. It’s amazing to share the natural colorful underwater wonders with your child.
Children’s snorkel gear is adapted to their smaller size. An adult scuba mask will not fit most kids, it’s too big for their face and will leak. The same goes for swim fins. Kids flippers are available in small kids sizes. They’re also smaller and shorter and require less strength. Children will really have much more fun snorkeling with specially made snorkeling equipment for kids. Of course, there are exceptions. Slightly older kids might have to move to adult snorkel masks as a youth snorkel mask doesn’t fit anymore. Personally, I have a narrow face and a junior scuba mask is simply the best scuba mask for me. Snorkeling gear for kids is available in different sizes, you can get snorkeling gear for toddlers or a youth snorkel set.
What to consider when buying the best snorkel set for kids
Size & fit of kids snorkel masks
Snorkel sets for kids come in different sizes. A snorkel set for 3 year old will obviously not be the best choice for an 8-year old. The most important item in the set that needs to fit is the kids snorkel mask. If the mask is too big or too small it might leak. And as we’ve said before, with a leaky mask snorkeling isn’t fun at all. So pay close attention to the size and check the brands’ sizing tables. Don’t think they will ‘grow into it’. They might, eventually, but in the meantime they will not enjoy using the mask. A snorkel mask for kids is just a smaller version of an adult scuba mask, but it usually has a narrower silicone skirt to facilitate fit. The first step to check the fit is to make sure the skirt clears the hairline completely. Any hairs trapped between the mask and the skin will cause a leak when submerged. The second step is to place the snorkel mask on your child’s face (clear away any hair) and ask the child to inhale slightly. The mask should stay on without the strap in place. The best snorkel mask for kids is not the most expensive one, but the one with the best fit.
Size & fit of kids swim fins
Kids swim fins also come in different sizes, corresponding with the US shoe sizes. For closed pocket fins, the sizing is obviously more important than for open heel fins. Especially make sure the fins aren’t too small as that might cause a cramp while snorkeling. For closed pocket fins, you might want to consider wearing socks or getting neoprene socks. If the fit isn’t perfect, closed pocket fins might cause blisters on the child’s toes. Open-heeled fins are more forgiving size-wise and kids can ‘grow into them’. Please keep in mind that your child will be much more comfortable using open heel fins with water shoes or kids dive boots. This type of swim fins is not made to be worn without footwear.
Size and fit are by far the most important choices. Depending on your children’s age which color your chose may or may not be an issue. I’m not sure why but a snorkeling kit for kids is generally not very gender neutrally colored, especially the full face masks. Very often they just come in pink and blue. Of course, you might just be lucky enough for pink or blue to be your kid’s favorite color (our son loves blue). I have seen some children’s snorkel and mask sets in black, yellow or green, so if you prefer not to have blue or pink you do have some options. But make sure they fit!
Kids snorkeling gear reviews
This cute kids snorkel set will make any child happy to go snorkeling. Available in six different colors and animal designs there’s sure to be one that appeals. Included in this set are a kids snorkel mask, a kids snorkel, small size fins and a kids carry bag. Scuba brand Mares, a subsidiary of the American sports and clothing company Head, is well known in Europe for its great quality scuba gear. Actually most of our own scuba gear and our son’s kids snorkel gear is by Mares.
This children’s snorkel set comes in two sizes, based on the shoe size. A junior size S (9-13) and a youth size L (1-4). The mask included in this set is a real snorkel mask for kids. The soft Siliter skirt fits smaller faces and prevents leaking. The Siliter mouthpiece is soft and comfortable and a smaller size than an adult’s snorkel. The dry top snorkel itself is a bit shorter too, the easy exhale tube making it easier to purge. Kids will love swimming with the fins, it’ll make them go so much faster. These open heel fins make getting the exact size less of an issue as they will last a good few shoe sizes. Our son prefers to wear them with his kids water shoes.
Italian scuba brand Cressi is well known for producing quality scuba and snorkel gear, including snorkel gear for kids. This junior snorkel set contains a snorkel mask for kids, a kids snorkel and short kids snorkel fins. Be aware this is not a toddler snorkel set, it’s meant for slightly older kids age 6+.
The tempered glass low volume 2-window mask has a double feathered silicone skirt. Because of the low volume it’s easy to clear should any leakage occurs. This snorkel mask for kids is designed for smaller and narrower faces. The buckles allow to easy adjustment. The Rocks snorkel has a splash guard, but it’s not a dry top snorkel. The mouthpiece is soft and replaceable (which is great as kids tend to chew on them). The open heel fins are easy to don and doff and can be worn both with and without neoprene socks or water shoes. The set comes with a basic mesh bag to easily carry your gear.
U.S. Divers is Aqua Lung America’s trademark for its line of snorkeling gear, which includes snorkel equipment for kids. This set consist of the Buzz Jr. mask, Island Dry Jr. snorkel and Hingeflex Jr. fins.
It comes in a number of sizes, from toddlers to teens. The 2-window mask is made of tempered glass with a hypoallergenic PVC skirt. The dry top snorkel is fully submersible without flooding and ergonomically shaped to fit kids and young adults. The Hingeflex fins use a specific technology that reduces the energy needed for propulsion.
U.S. Divers is Aqua Lungs premium snorkeling brand. Aqua Lung is well know worldwide for its quality scuba diving products. This snorkel for kids set consists of the U.S Divers Dorado II JR Mask, Seabreeze JR Snorkel, Proflex JR Fins. It comes in 4 fun color combinations.
The US Divers Dorado Mask is designed for kids’ faces with a rubber skirt that fits a narrower face. This low volume mask has dual lenses made of tempered glass. The snorkel has a splash guard design which prevents splashed surface water from entering the breathing tube. It also has an ergonomic mouthpiece for more breathing comfort. The dual composite rails in the Pro-Flex Fin blade enhance propulsion in the water with increased kick efficiency.
This Promoate snorkel set with a kids snorkel, mask and fins comes in two sizes: S/M (shoe size 9-13, for ages 3-6 years) and L/XL (shoe size 1-4, age 6-10 years). It consists of the Promate Pace Junior Snorkeling Fins, Promate Chico Junior Mask and the Promate Nino Junior Dry Snorkel.
Available in yellow, blue and pink, this junior snorkel set has open heeled fins so you can use them for a good few years. The fins can be used with bare feet or kids water shoes. The tempered glass mask has a clear silicone skirt with a special nose pocket design for easy equalizing. The ultra low volume single lens offers a wide field of view. The dry snorkel that comes with this set has a soft child-sized silicone mouthpiece. The breathing tube is designed to fit kids.
This set contains the Promate Full-Foot Fins, Promate Chico Junior Mask and Promate Nino Junior Dry Snorkel. Both snorkel and mask are the same as the set above, but this set has pocket heel or full-foot fins. This type of fins are worn with bare feet and if the fit is right they are very comfortable. They are great to use in the swimming pool and when snorkeling at a soft sand beach.
This set is available in two sizes Junior 1-3/XXS and Junior 3-5/XS and comes in three color combinations: yellow, pink and blue. These fins aren’t designed to be worn with water shoes. If they chafe a bit wearing thin neoprene socks is a good option.
Other kids snorkel products you may need
Kids snorkel vests
If your kids can’t swim or aren’t very confident swimmers, a snorkel vest for kids is a great option. Such a floating device will make sure they can enjoy the sights without tiring overmuch. When we started snorkeling with our son, we used inflatable arm bands an later shifted to a vest when he started his swimming lessons.
Wetsuits for kids
If your kids get cold easily a wetsuit is a great option. You can either get a full suit or a ‘shorty’. Added bonus is that neoprene wetsuits also offer some extra buoyancy.
UV protection swim wear
Kids burn easily, especially when in or around water. So make sure to get your kids some comfortable UPF 50+ swimwear. This can be a one piece swimsuit for kids, either long or short, or a two piece set that also functions as a rash guard.
Reef safe sunscreen
Of course, kids love snorkeling in the pool, but it’s even better when watching colorful reefs and their inhabitants. Please make sure to use a reef-safe sunscreen lotion to keep from harming the delicate coral reef system. The two most important chemicals to avoid are oxybenzone and octinoxate, but a number of other chemicals found in sunscreens can also harm the reef. We minimize the use of sunscreen by wearing UFP 50+ swimwear and applying sunscreen only on unprotected skin. We’ve tried a number of reef safe sunscreens and found Alphanova to work best for our family. Unlike a lot of other eco-friendly sunscreens it’s easy to apply and doesn’t leave you looking like a ghost.
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