Eliza adores mermaids and one of her highlights of Walt Disney World was meeting Ariel.
For the last couple of years she has been asking for a mermaid tail and for Christmas 2016, my friend crocheted her a blanket one which she adores, but she still wanted one she could swim with.
We had hoped that her swimming teacher would let her try it out in one of her lessons, but sadly all our local pools do not allow children to wear them for safety reasons.
Thankfully my Mum was watching BBC News and spotted Michelle Forsbrey, talking about her new Mermaid Academy based locally in Bournemouth and I knew I had found the perfect present for Eliza’s birthday – a Mermaid Experience, where she could learn the basics of mermaiding.
The experience starts with a safety chat and how to put on, and remove, your fin and tail. Michelle provides the tails and the monofins, plus some fun accessories to use as she takes some photographs by the side of the pool, although Eliza wore her own.
The kids really enjoyed the photo shoot and playing up to the camera. Props included a shell, which became the ‘Shell Phone’, a fishing net and other nautical finds.
Once the photo shoot was over it was time to get in the pool, which is an art in itself.
Mermaid lessons require the children to be able to swim a minimum of 25m. The lesson starts with basic swimming techniques on top of the water to ensure the kids can confidently get back to the side of the pool.
Michelle was brilliant with the kids and went through a number of swimming techniques with them ; Isaac took to it straight away as he is a natural fly swimmer and uses fins at his swimming club.
Eliza is a great swimmer for her age, moving up to ASA Level 8 recently, however she did struggle initially. Michelle patiently talked her through it and after three for four lengths, the technique clicked and she was off.
After a few more practice lengths with Michelle, they moved to the centre of the pool for some under water fun, including finding treasure and marine life under the water.
Michelle stayed with them the entire time they were in the pool, however, she did film some of their antics with her GoPro camera once she was confident they were happy in the water.
It is safe to say that both Isaac and Eliza thoroughly enjoyed their mermaiding experience.
They both achieved their Level 1 Star Mermaid Certificate which means that they can now take part in mermaid lessons as part of a group.
They cannot wait for their next lesson and I am definitely going to book one for me too as it is a great way to keep fit.
For more information, prices and dates, make sure you like Mayim Mermaid Academy on facebook.