When we went to France last year, we took a set of dive sticks with us. We soon learned that 3 sticks between four diving children is nowhere near enough (even though we only had THREE diving children when we arrived – it’s amazing how quickly they learn when they have a private pool to play in all day).
So this year, we went prepared with extra pool toys, thanks to the kind people at SimplySwim.
The first set we picked were the Speedo Sea Squad Spinning Dive Toys. First of all, there are four in the set. This is good when you have four children. The fact that they spin as they sink was kind of incidental, but I think we all stopped to watch it happening at some point during the holiday – it’s vaguely hypnotic.
But the fact is – they sink, and you go and collect them. The fins do make them easier to grab when you’re 10′ down, running out of air and have confidently taken on your son’s bet that you can’t get all four in one dive *cough*.
They rest on the point of their noses for a while, but leave them too long and they lay down flat – making you stretch just that bit further.
Even for the younger ones who were only ‘diving’ in the shallow end, the sharks proved invaluable for building confidence and agility underwater.
Couple them with the brilliant Zoggs Clam Dive and Hunt, and you have the makings of an entire afternoon’s entertainment. We had a serious challenge going on by the second week, with all of us involved.
These took the basic how-many-sticks-can-you-get competition onto a whole new level.
The clams are tricksy little beggers. They’re small, y’see – and sit so close to the bottom, there’s no handy sticky-up tail fins to grab. Oh no, you’ve got to get no-cheating-way-down-deep to nab them. And they’re in PAIRS.
We started with the younger two – we held one half of the clam, then had to go and find the other half.
The we moved on to having to find a matching pair.
Then a pair PLUS a dive stick.
With the older ones we could encompass the deep end too. We’d turn our backs while some kind person lobbed them far and wide in the pool (you wouldn’t believe something bright yellow could actually HIDE in a clear rectangular pool, would you?). Then we’d each be given a character – seal, turtle or crab – and we’d have to go find them. First one back won. Then we added a dive stick to the two clams. then two…
You can see how the afternoon passed away.. #CompetitiveFamily
We loved them, and they have safely been tucked away to bring out again and again. By having fun with the games, all the children were building confidence in their swimming – not just in ‘being’ underwater, but learning to move instinctively, sliding through easily and naturally instead of thinking too much and clawing their way along. For me the biggest benefit of our holidays to France in the last couple of years is the intensive bouts of swimming which has left our children keen and confident swimmers – they didn’t need formal lessons, they just needed all-day-every-day access to a warm pool for a week or two, and a few toys to challenge them with. The rest they did themselves.
The other toy we played with a lot was the Zoggs Pool Ball. I know, it seems ridiculous to have a specific pool ball, doesn’t it? The benefit of this one over a simple plastic ball is that you can actually get a grip when you’re wet – which makes any throwing games in the pool MUCH easier. Catching it is a possibility – and with the neoprene ‘coat’ on the rubber of the ball there’s no stinging slap if it happens ‘by accident’ to hit you in the face *eyes no.1 son suspiciously*. It’s not too big, either, which means that small 6yr old arms and hands can also handle it with ease. Plus, it’s made of tough stuff; for the first holiday ever we didn’t manage to burst the ball – despite it heading into the bushes twenty times a match. Marvellous all round!
The Zoggs Clam Dive and Hunt set are available on SimplySwim for just under £10, and the Speedo Sea Squad Spinning Dive Toys are £15. The Zoggs Pool Ball can be yours for £12. Not just for holiday, we recommend them to anyone – just practising in your local pool will not only be huge amounts of fun, but aid your child’s water confidence and agility no end.