November 24, 2009

swimming pool games

Swimming pool games are lots of fun and they can help your child  in learning to swim by putting a challenging skill into a fun context.  Games also help to increase a child’s awareness of water resistance and motion. 
For beginners who are wary of the pool or the water.  Sit on the edge or on a step in the water (whatever they’ll do) and
  • stir the water with your feet
  • move your hands back and forth in the water
  • scoop and pour water with cups or hands
  • throw the water up and try to make rain
  • kick and splash with your legs
Once they’re in the water.  Can they
  • walk holding the edge
  • walk backwards, sideways, on tiptoe, taking giant steps
  • jump or hop
  • walk while blowing bubbles or blowing an object (ping-pong ball) across the surface
  • walk and do dog-paddle arms
  • play Follow-the-Leader
  • in shallow water walk on their hands with legs trailing behind like a crocodile
  • chase an object (ball, kickboard) around the pool.  Or if you have more than one child they can “scramble” to get to the object first.
  • catch and throw a ball
  • push ball under and let it go to see it jump into the air
  • pick-up objects from the bottom (start with crouching down, face up to pick up something in shallow water and progress, eventually, to duck diving to the bottom)
  • swim through a hoop or under someone’s legs
  • tag (try to cross the pool without being tagged)
  • play keep-away with the ball.  One child tries to get the ball from 2 or more children who are throwing it around.
  • Play “Pirates”.  Someone calls out directions and you must do the appropriate action – eg. port = swim left; starboard = swim right; stern = back; bow = front; shark = all get out of the water; pirates = all get in the water again.
For confident swimmers
  • play Marco Polo
  • have diving or bombing contests
  • have races, for speed, distance underwater, while dribbling a ball and so on.
  • play ball in deep water (a basic water polo)
[some ideas from Austswim’s Teaching Swimmimg and Water Safety, 1994]
Do you have a favourite game to play in the pool?

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