Week 2: Ideas and Activities to Keep Your Swim Skills Sharp
Ready to keep practicing your swim skills? Since we can't be together at the pool, our team has put together a few "homework" assignments for our swimmers, ensuring they're water-ready when we get back in the pool! Read all the way through for a few additional recommendations to help pass the time.
For our smallest swimmers in our Water Acclimation Program...
- Song time!: In this program we love to encourage a positive relationship with the water - so with any activities that you do, the focus should be on exploring ways to have fun. One easy way: sing "It's Raining, It's Pouring" while using a small toy watering can or cup to gently pour water over your child's head.
- Submersion exercise: You can also work on your child's submersion progress - we suggest the order of chin, then mouth, then nose, then eyes - and finally, a full submersion. Use the "1-2-3 Gasp" before each new level - starting by dipping their chin in the water from a laying down position. Give a lot of praise and high fives to keep them going!
Blastoff!: The "blastoff" is an essential part of our survival school, because this is how we teach children to float! Your focus should be on practicing the same progressions you've seen in class and getting your child used to being on their backs - think "1-2-3 BLASTOFF" while having them lie down in the tub. To help them relax in the position, try holding a mirror or a small toy above their face while singing a fun song.
... and for our friends in our Water Survival Program...
- In the bath: Just as with our smallest swimmers, the "blastoff" is an ongoing focus for our "over 3" program. Encourage your child to float independently in the bathtub if the size of your tub allows for this. Your focus should be on practicing the same progressions you've seen in class and getting your child used to being on their backs. In addition, it's helpful to reinforce our focus on taking a nice deep breath ("1-2-3 GASP") before their face goes into the water. This will encourage them to hold their breath, rather than blowing out bubbles, which is essential for water survival.
"Dry" exercises: Have your child explain to you why they need to learn to jump in, rollover and float when swimming and what they should say if they ever need help. With summer just around the corner, this is a great time to work on muscle memory while explaining the rules of swimming. Here's a Water Safety worksheet you can complete with your child to reinforce the safety measures when swimming! (For young children, read them the questions and the answer choices).
...for those in our Stroke Development Program...
- Roll the dice: In these programs, many of our goals require strength and strong breathing skills to succeed, so building muscle and increasing cardiovascular activity will continue your child's success in these levels when they're back at the pool. Click the image here to inexpensively purchase the rights to several activity cubes, which can be printed, cut out and assembled into a fun game. Better yet? Go to printableboardgames.net to download a free blank template and make your own! (And check out the other fun printables on that site, too)!
Practice Leg Kicks: Practicing leg kicks outside of the pool will build up the muscles needed to do this movement well in the pool. With your child lying on their stomach on the floor or small pillow, practice lifting one leg and then the other, keeping their knees straight as they do so.
...for our Special Abilities students in Dolphin 1 and 2...
Much of our focus is on building a relationship with the water, the repetition of certain activities and the combination of visual resources and rewards. Here are some ideas to help your child's progression!
In the bath: Use a toy that can be tied visually to a reward - such as putting a stacking ring on the post or a pretend coin in a treasure chest. Encourage your child to lie back and put their ears in the water, and when they do so, reward them! This can also be applied to taking a breath, a submersion (chin, mouth, nose, eyes or full head) or something more simple, such as allowing you to pour water on their hands, face or body.
Additional reinforcement: Many of our students in these levels thrive on routine and repetition, and visual cues help! Create simple reminders of the movements performed in our swim lessons with visuals, similar to the ones below. Remind your child of the actions (sitting on the edge, kicking) and rules (don't dive in, etc.) each day so the basics of our program are reinforced on a regular basis.
... for our Adult Students...
We haven't forgotten about you! By now you've probably seen the many fantastic online fitness resources that have been made available - we encourage you to "shop around" and try the different free workouts available via YouTube (try "Yoga with Adriene" - she has over 6 million subscribers and well over 100 yoga workouts for every level...all completely free!) or via App ("7 Minute Workout," anyone?).
Our favorite this week? Shape Studio's "pool workout" - especially created to be effective in the water or on dry land. Click the image below and feel free to modify the exercises based on your personal ability.
... and just for fun!
We know the days and hours (and let's face it, minutes) - are especially long right now. We love the sense of community that's developed online with fantastic online resources for learning, keeping kids moving, and simply having fun. Here are a few of the mom-tested favorites we're recommending this week:
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! - Do your kids need a fun break? Children's author Mo Willems - author of the Elephant and Piggy and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus books - is filming and posting daily doodling sessions in coordination with The Kennedy Center, each complete with downloadable activity pages. Click the image below to access the videos - you'll see the link to download the activity pages on the left side as well.
- Fitness Monopoly - Keep your kids (and you too, if you play along) moving and having fun with this easy printable. You'll need to provide your email address to download the image, or feel free to create your own with movements your children enjoy. Consider other standard board games that can incorporate movement, too!
- Watch a video about Fiona the Hippo - The Cincinnati Zoo has recently posted some fantastic videos about a few of their "residents" - each of these videos include a great overview of the animals from their trainers and take you up close and personal with some amazing animals! Click on Fiona, below, to access this library.
We'd love to hear how else you're practicing your swim skills at home, or any other fun activities that we can share with our swim families! Send us a short video via Facebook - link below - so we can share how everyone is doing.
We can't wait to see everyone back at the pool!