2. First Flippers and Little Flippers; Conditioning with Big Mats, Hoop Swims and Blast Offs

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!

Big Mat Conditioning and / or Submerging

Why: To practice Breath Control and for young infants, spending time in the prone position (on the stomach)  can aid with achieving certain milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, and crawling!  For older infants and toddlers sitting on the Big Mat can aid with balance and comfort!  FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; count 1 – 2 – 3 after the song “fall” off the big mat and submerge!

How:  Place the children on a large mat on their tummy or in a seated position facing the outside of the mat.  Utilize a watering can or cup to sprinkle water over the body, head and face.

Hula Hoop Submerging

Why: To educate parents about the dive reflex and to practice Breath Control. 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. We cannot rely solely on reflexes to be sure to cue the child and keep the movements gently under and gently up.

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.  FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Aim for a deeper submersion ( place the hoop well below the surface and submerge the students as far as your arms will extend). Water creates pressure against the body and this feeling can generate improved breath control.

Blast Off

Why: To gain comfort with Buoyancy and Balance on the front and back.

How: Instruct parents to support children on front and / or back with their feet against the wall. Count down 3 – 2 – 1 BLAST OFF! Encourage students to push-off the wall and glide or kick to the rope. Once there, students will flip to their front and / or back and glide or kick back to the wall. Placing a target alone the wall (such as a colored cone) can add extra incentive when kicking back ! Practice this skill for several rounds on the front and several more on the back!

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.

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.

Props

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