5. First Flippers and Little Flippers; Hoop Swims & Slides

Welcome Song in Little Harbor

Why: Socialization and Buoyancy and Balance.

How: Gather in a circle and have parents lengthen their arms to support their child and create the Little Harbor position. This position allows the child to learn how to support themselves in the water by exploring buoyancy and balance.  Encourage parents to support as low in the water as possible so the child can learn to stabilize their position.  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!

Conditioning with the Noodle Fountain

Why: Breath Control

How: Instruct parents to hold their little one under the arms and facing each other.  While they move in a circular pattern hold the noodle up against the jet to create a fountain for them to pass through. Train parents to walk slowly through 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. Water washing from the back of the head to the front is always less intimidating.

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

Hoop Swims

Why: Breath Control and Submerging. Babies can learn to swim underwater for short distances, partly because of a reaction know as ‘the diving reflex’. This reflex causes babies to hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged. The response weakens as a baby gets older, but even adults have it to some degree. Swedish researchers studying the dive reflex in infants from 3 months of age, found that none of them inhaled water during “diving” (being gently pulled underwater). They also noted that the babies didn’t seem apprehensive about the next dive. In fact, some seemed eager to dive again!

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.

Belly Slide

*great for those that for those that cannot crawl or walk, but fun for anyone*

Why: Breath Control, Submerging and Fun!

How: Set up an obstacle course to keep the class moving. Begin by having students monkey walk to the belly slide. Encourage them to climb out and lie on their belly on the small mat. Allow parent to cue 1-2-3 and have them slide in and submerge.

Note; We DO allow infants to go down this slide head first as it is an natural way for a young infant to explore breath control!

Big Slide

Why: Breath Control, Movement and FUN!

How:  Set up an obstacle course to keep the class moving. Begin by having students monkey walk to the slide. Encourage them to climb out and up the slide (if possible). Allow parent to cue 1-2-3 and have them slide in and submerge.

Note; We DO NOT allow children to go down this slide head first as it is similar to a playground slide and we do not want to encourage this practice outside of the pool.  Also, there are many ways to utilize the big slide and this video only shows a couple.  Do what works best for you and your class.

Back Float Under the Big Mirror

Why: To practice buoyancy and balance on the back.

How: Assist parents with supporting their children on their backs in the cheek-to-cheek position. Have them travel backward under the big mirror for several rounds to help students relax on their backs. Sing the song a few times to get students to relax on their backs.

Fishes in the Ocean

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.



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