Summer time for parents is a challenge when it comes to keeping their kids entertained and educated during such a long break from school. 3 months is massive and exhausting!
Popular activities like sailing schools, summer camps in overseas locations and arts and crafts workshops fulfill the entertainment/education requirements, which as a parent I think is critical for making the most of the long break these kids have.
So what about diving? SCUBA and freediving courses and excursions have started to also become popular with local families looking to educate and entertain their kids during the summer long haul. Although SCUBA has become a part of mainstream society there is still some apprehension from parents about the safety of SCUBA and Freediving for their kids.
Lets start with some of the restrictions kids have when SCUBA diving.
Through various training agencies and a handful of reputable dive centers children as young as 8 years old can try their hand at blowing bubbles in shallow water to around 2m. Its amazing to see such small people loving the fact they can breathe underwater, even if at times their whole body is not submerged, sometimes referred to as SCorkeling.
10 years and above can start with entry-level courses such as the Open Water Course. Ratios of students to instructor is very small, 2 students for 1 instructor when children are as young as 10 or 11. They also have a depth limit of 12m once certified and must dive with a dive professional.
Once children reach 15 years old they can then dive as adults within the recommended safe diving practices.
Considering our expertise at Ondine Diving with kids aged between 8 and 15, our kids courses are gaining popularity each year. Summer has proven to be a fun filled time for not only the kids but for us salty old instructors too! We have had the pleasure of teaching some Jnr. Rescue courses and to see these children rescue adults in our staged scenarios is simply amazing.
Teaching kids to dive at such an early age gives them a huge appreciation and respect for the sea, it helps them with their social skills and puts another small feather in their cap in regards to a possible career path in the future. They love it!
Freediving seems to have a little more mystery to it for many people, hence it also can be perceived as extreme. Its only as extreme as you make it. In my point of view anyone who goes snorkeling and duck dives under the surface is technically a freediver. The benefits of freediving courses are huge due to the lessons learnt on pressure and air spaces when diving to any depth. Infact, over the years I have met many kids who freedive but without proper instruction who have ended up with damaged ears, nothing permanent but still a painful yet avoidable experience. Spending 2 days with an experienced freediver definitely improves peoples understanding of what to do and what not to do.
Freediving courses are started with breathing techniques followed by pool sessions and finally an open water session. The beauty of freediving courses is that the goal is personal, if people are happy diving to 5m then thats great, if they want more depth or more time then it is worked on.
So hopefully this info was insightful for some of you with kids and who are looking for a new activity that incorporates education so as your kids can have loads of fun but still keep their brains ticking over with new knowledge.