Swimming has a number of physical and mental health benefits for kids and adults alike. Besides being great exercise, learning to swim and becoming familiar with water is fundamental to your children’s safety around water. Plus, it is a great way to limit the number of time you hear “I’m bored!” this summer.
Learning to Swim
At what age should your child learn to swim? There are various opinions, but most swimming coaches agree infants can actually start learning with a trained instructor as early as four months of age and playing in a pool at home can begin around the same time if children are properly supervised. Just be sure to never leave children unattended and make sure you know what drowning looks like.
Time spent in the pool can be a lot more fun when there are games involved! If you are looking to keep the kids entertained this summer, here are a number of water games you can introduce.
1. Creative Jump-In
As long as it is safe to do it at your pool, you can teach your child about different techniques to dive in the water. You can introduce various and creative ways to get in the water – try the cannonball, the dolphin, or diving (if the pool is deep enough!). This game will help build the confidence of your child by learning new swimming skills, and lead to tons of “Watch this!”
2. Noodle Pool Wars
Pool noodles provide so much fun! These basic pool toys are the perfect way to jump start your kid’s imagination. This game can be played by a group of adults and children together. Pick teams, and face off in the center of the pool with each person using a noodle to stay afloat. The first team to fight their way to the other side of the pool wins! There is just one rule – no feet can touch the ground!
3. Underwater Gymnastics Meet
This game is appropriate for older children who can hold their breath under water. If you have two or more children, have them each plan out an underwater gymnastics routine to present to the family. Tricks could include summersaults, headstands, and underwater twirls.
Snorkeling in the pool will teach your child how to breathe properly underwater. For your child’s first time experience, start slowly by having them put their mouth and face in the water, and slowly work up to breathing through the snorkel properly.
5. Ring Toss
Use floating or sinking rings, based upon your child’s level of swimming. Toss all the rings into the pool and race to see who can collect the most rings in a set amount of time. (Timing will vary based on the number of rings you have and your children’s age.)
6. Hot and Cold
Choose a ball or other floating item to be ‘it.’ Have one player close their eyes and try to locate the floating toy. Other players can give clues as to its location by calling out ‘Hot!’ (meaning they are close) or ‘Cold!’ (meaning they are far away from the item). This is a great game to play one on one with your child.
This is a classic pool game that requires patience and silence. One person is chosen as ‘Marco,’ and must close their eyes and count to 10 while the other players scatter to corners of the pool. Once ‘Marco’ has finished counting, they must keep their eyes closed and try to tag another player by touching them. The only clue they can use is every time they call out ‘Marco’, all other players must respond ‘Polo’.
Playing in the pool can be a fun, imaginative time for children and adults alike.