We are hugely disappointed that our lessons have been postponed once again, and that we won’t be seeing our swimmers for a while. Although we can’t have fun lessons together, your children can still practice swimming at home, so that they are ready when we are all back in the water. Here are a few exercises that your children can do regularly without any access to a swimming pool. Please give it a try and let us know what you think.
Blowing bubbles during the bath time
Aquatic breathing is a fundamental swimming skill for us all. Some children tend to hold their breath underwater and some swallow water before their faces comes out of water. It is important that blowing bubbles underwater becomes second nature for all swimmers.
It is best to start slow and gentle with children who do not like to get their faces wet. Using a little cup or watering can during a bath time, you can pour water over your child’s shoulder, his ears and slowly move on to pouring the water from the top of his head. Ask him to blow out as water start coming down to his face, the same way they blow through the straw. Once they are used to blowing out, ask them to blow with lips slightly touching the water. Use small plastic balls, if you have any, for your child to blow away. There are also some other toys that might be helpful for learning to blow bubbles.
For children who are not afraid to put their faces in the water
You can ask them to try these underwater:
- Show bubbles from your mouth
- Show long but small bubbles
- Show big, big bubbles
- Share bubbles from your nose
- Show bubbles from both your nose and mouth
- Scream very loud BUT ONLY UNDER WATER
If your bath is big enough to have two kids, they can have a go at a guessing game. The first child can decide which bubble blowing they will do underwater (nose, mouth, both or no bubble) but they can’t tell anyone what they are doing. The second child must watch the first child’s face closely underwater and guess the correct one. They can then take turns. Make sure they have basics in place, before the game can take place!
Young children who are cautious tend to be wary of jumping into a pool. A big swimming pool is scary for them as they are worried that the water might swallow them up. Why don’t you use this opportunity to encourage a “jumping in simulation” to build their confidence? All you need to do is cover the floor in front of your sofa with a bunch of cushions and pillows. Even better if you have a blue blanket or throw to put on top of these cushions to create a pool. Your child can stand on the sofa and imagine they are on the edge of a swimming pool and jump into a pretend pool in front of her.
In our lessons, we sing “Humpty Dumpty” and “Jelly on a plate” when children are about to jump in a pool but feel free to use any other songs that help them jump (Jump in the Pool by Friendly Fires is also our favourite) .
You can do this on the carpeted floor or floor with a rug. Ask your child to lay flat with his/her tummy facing down and kick one leg a time without bending knees. They can start out slow and you can ask them to speed up. Make sure they are doing small, downward kicking with stretchy legs.
We will cover a few more exercise in Swimming Practice at Home Part 2! Stay tuned.