On our recent holiday in Portugal, we spent many hours a day in our villa’s pool, it was a real luxury and of course we made the most of it! I think it’s pretty much an essential when you’re away with kids and the weather is so hot; without regular dips in the water I don’t think any of us could have enjoyed the temperatures of up to 40 degrees some days.
Neither of my two children are strong swimmers – Sam at seven is nearly there but still uses a back float, and Florence is only three and needs full support in the water. When we were asked to try out some SwimFin floats – which look like shark fins – and also some of their pool toys, the Funky Floaties and the Dinky Divers dive sticks, we knew we would be good testers.
As predicted, we used them all every day for a week as well as a few times at our local baths before the trip, so I think we gave them a pretty good run before writing this review.
The SwimFins were a real hit with the kids. They thought they were fun to wear but also seemed clearly more confident in the water when they had them on. Sam especially felt that bit more supported when wearing his and wore it while he was swimming, jumping in, going underwater for the dive sticks – he just had it on all the time.
Florence wore hers a lot too, although I still felt I had to hold her when she was away from the shallow steps at the side of the pool as she hasn’t yet learned to paddle or hold herself up properly. That will come with practice and time, but for the holiday she was content to just splash around in the shallow end or float around in an inflatable ring.
You can see in the photos that Sam had no problems wearing the SwimFin while he dived in, and I’m not sure he wouldn’t have found the confidence to do that if it hadn’t been for the float.
They are designed to work at any ability level, so the more your child starts to swim properly the less support they need and the less support they get. You strap it on high on the back, above the centre of gravity, so it suspends your child in the water rather than tipping them forward.
As they get the right position in the water the fin rises up more and the idea is your child learns to swim without realising the float isn’t supporting them so much. I loved the fact they were fun to wear for the kids as well as giving me peace of mind that they were safe.
The diving sticks were such a hit that one of them was even given a name – Mark the Shark – and became a bit of a mascot for the holiday. There are four sticks in a pack and each has a happy little face – Mark the Shark was a clear favourite but the others were a seal, hippo and sea horse and they really did give us hours of fun in the pool.
When you throw them in, they sink to the bottom but stay upright so they’re easy to grab when you dive down for them. They were even great for Florence to play with in the shallow end, as she could line them up on the steps and see them standing up out of the water. The boys never really had their goggles off and were constantly diving down for one of the sticks, or using them as handles to pull one another around! Kids always find an extra use for things, don’t they?
The Funky Floaties pool toys are made from a soft neoprene and are fab for using to throw and catch in the water, as they never sink. They have small weights inside to make sure they float upright on the surface of the water, which was really cute as they looked a bit like they were swimming around when you could just see their heads bobbing around in the pool.
We used them a lot as things to aim for when we were swimming, for playing catch or in our own version of pool Olympics.
Seeing as the Olympics had just started we thought we’d have our own swimming pool events, which included racing on lilos, diving and throwing the floaties into a large inflatable ring. We all loved it and weren’t competitive at all, honestly! Just one lesson I learnt though, be careful not to throw them too hard as the weight means if they hit you on the head they will hurt just a little bit.
Both the Dinky Divers and the Funky Floaties come in their own mesh bag so they’re easy to store when you get home too. They are £9.99 each which I think is really well priced for the amount of fun you get from them.
We’ll definitely be packing them for our next holiday or trip to the pool.