2. Little Flippers; Conditioning Bridge, Hoop Swims, Back Float & Big Mat Fun

Welcome Song in Little Harbor

Why: Buoyancy, Balance and Socialization!

How: Gather in a circle and have parents lengthen their arms to support their student to create the Little Harbor position. This position allows student to explore the feelings of buoyancy and balance with support.  Encourage parents to support as low in the water as possible so the student can learn to stabilize their position (parents may need to bend their knees slightly to achieve this). Parents and students are also free to splash their hands while singing along.  This reminds the parents, infants and toddlers that the water is everywhere and helps to acclimate them to that sensation. 

Song Lyrics: _______is here today __________is here today _________ let’s all splash the water __________ is here today!

Dock Bridge with Noodle Fountain and Sprinkles

Why: Conditioning for Breath Control. Conditioning is used to teach the student to hold their breath in response to the water being poured over their head. Use this skill to train parents to pour the water gently over their child. Proper conditioning is a crucial step to preparing a student for their first underwater experience. Students can practice this skill on the front or back, but be careful to not pour large amounts of water on the face when students are on the back as they are more likely to get water up their noses in that position. 

How: Set up the bridge by placing a dock close to the wall and creating a “bridge” for parents and student to travel under, once in place, hold the noodle up against the jet to create a fountain for them to pass through while getting their head wet. Train parents to walk slowly through the bridge and under the fountain and look for the natural reaction of the child when the water pours over their face. After a few cycles you should notice that the student is prepared and simply closes their eyes and mouth when under the water. Always practice pouring the water from the back of the child’s head to the front so it is less intimidating.  

FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Encourage parents to submerge their child while moving under the bridge, and / or the fountain.  

NOTE; A dock is not always available, this skill can still be accomplished by holding a yellow mat as a bridge and sprinkling the water from above (students can travel through on belly and / or back). 

Hoop Swims

Why: Breath Control and Submerging. 

How: Support the child under the arms while facing the parent with the hoop in between the two of you. Be sure the cue the student and gently submerge. Release the student to allow them to feel buoyancy after thy have submerged on the way to the parent.


Back Float with Small Mirrors

Why: To gain comfort with buoyancy and balance on the back.

How: Assist parents with supporting their children in a comfortable position on their backs and have them travel backward in a circle while looking into the small mirror

Big Mat Falls (6 – 12 months or those that cannot walk/crawl)

Why: Breath Control and Safety

How: Have students climb up and sit on the big mat and follow the actions of the song. Repeat the song a few times and count one, two, three before falling/jumping in and submerging.

For More Advanced Students; ask parents to take a step back from the mat, so the student can independently fall into the pool. 

Big Mat Obstacle Course (Crawlers and Walkers)

Why: To explore Balance and gain confidence trying new things.

How: Younger students can swim supported to the mat, climb up and crawl across the mat. Toddlers can monkey walk to the mat climb up and out, then walk across the mat and up the steps. Students can fall or jump in at the end.  Add in some toys for incentive to keep moving and don’t forget cups for conditioning!  Create and obstacle course along the wall for students to swim/monkey walk past.

Challenge More Advanced Students to slide or jump off the mat once they reach the end!


Fishes in the Ocean Falling in and Turning Around

Why: Breath Control and Safety.

How: Students climb out at the edge of the pool, sit on the edge with their feet in the water and with or without parent’s assistance sing the song and fall in on cue.  

FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Encourage parents to submerge their child completely or to allow the to fall into the water independently and / or  add the turn around by having parents position themselves at the side of their children and assist them with falling in on cue, submerging and turning  to the wall.

Song Lyrics: Fishes in the ocean, Fishies in the Sea, we all fall in on 1-2-3!

Wheels on the Bus

Why: To end each class on a happy note!

How: Gather students and parents into a circle and pass out a small floating bus toy to each student. Ask the parents to match their actions to the lyrics of the song.

Song Lyrics:  The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheel on the bus go round and round all through the pool! Repeat with the following lyrics:

  • Windows go up and down!
  • Wipers go Swish, Swish, Swish!
  • Doors go open and shut.
  • Horn goes beep, beep beep.
  • Babies Wave Bye Bye.