Time to Play! Blowing Bubbles

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. Blowing bubbles may seem inconsequential, but it’s a great way to ease your kids into understanding breath control. Here’s a game you can play to make blowing bubbles even more fun than it already is.

Have your child pretend to be a little fish blowing tiny bubbles in the water. Now have him be a big fish blowing big bubbles. Did you know that real fish have actually been observed playing bubble games. Fish like to play!

Before You Get into the Pool, Get Ready to Get Out

Even the best swimming lesson or play session in the water can turn ugly if you don’t have a plan for the moment you get out of the pool. Keep these four tasks in mind, and you and your kids will make it home (or at least back to the car) feeling as happy as you did in the water.

  1. Go straight from the pool to the shower after swimming. Kids’ skin is especially sensitive to pool chemicals.
  2. Don’t forget to have towels, a warm drink—even if it’s hot out—and a snack ready for right after your lesson. Swimming requires a lot of energy. Aside from all of the energy it takes to swim, there’s also a big energy expenditure just maintaining normal body temperature, even in a warm pool.
  3. It’s a good idea to have more than one towel for your child. If they’re big and fluffy, that’s even better. Spread your towels out so that the sun warms them while you’re in the pool. Use one towel to wrap around your child’s body while you use another to thoroughly dry his head and ears.
  4. Make sure to drain his ears and dry them well. Fluid trapped in the ear can be a breeding ground for outer ear infections. Have your child tilt his head from side to side to drain his ears. You can also use a blow dryer on the low setting to gently warm the air next to his ears.

Time to Play! Getting out of the Pool

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. It’s critical to your kids’ safety that they learn how to get out of the pool by themselves. Practicing in this fun way will help your kids get comfortable with this essential swimming skill.

Have your child experiment with using his feet to walk along the wall and help his hands. Can he lift them up so they’re close to his hands? Can he stretch them down so he’s flat against the wall and only his toes are helping?

6 Things to Do Before You Hit the Swimming Pool

Taking care of these six tasks before you start teaching your kids to swim will make the experience more fun—and safer—for everyone. A little advance planning can make the difference between giving your kids good feelings about swimming from the start and giving them issues to overcome.

Do a Health Check

Check with your child’s doctor to make sure your child’s health allows him to start learning to swim. Consider getting a physical yourself. Don’t go swimming if you have GI upset, an infected cut, poison oak, a rash, a fever, a contagious illness, pink eye, an earache, or a cold with green or yellow mucus.

Time It Right

Schedule pool time when your child won’t need a nap and there won’t be loud noises or lots of distractions.

Don’t Eat

Don’t eat for an hour before swimming. Your mom was right. Your body needs time to digest. Acidic foods in particular can combine with the new physical experiences of swimming and the likelihood of swallowed pool water to lead to an upset stomach.

Know the Pool

Familiarize yourself with the pool. How deep is it? Where does the depth change and how deep does it get?

Make a Plan

Plan your approach before you get into the pool. Have a list of activities you want to try and the equipment you’ll need for those activities. Plan more than you actually expect to be able to do, so that you’ll have the flexibility to try new things if what you try first isn’t working. Write your lesson plan on an index card and put it into a waterproof plastic bag. Read your lesson plan and refer to it if you need to during the lesson.

Take Care of Business

Right before you get into the pool, have your child go to the bathroom, blow his nose, and spit gum into the trash. You might as well take care of these things for yourself, too, while you’re at it. If you have to get out of the pool to use the bathroom during your lesson, your child will have to get out, too, and he’ll probably be cold and unwilling to get back into the pool.


And here’s a bonus tip for when you’re in the pool:

Don’t Wear out the Water’s Welcome

Keep your eye on the clock. It’s always better to leave them wanting more.