7. Little Flippers; Big Mat Conditioning/Backwards Fall, Hoop Swims, Back Floats & Backward Fishies

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!

Big Mat Conditioning 

 

Why: Breath Control

How:  Place the children on a large mat 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.

 

Backwards Fall off the Big Mat

Why: To gain comfort with Breath Control, Buoyancy and Balance.

How: Have parents support their child under the arms while facing away from them seated on the big mat.  Remind parents to cue their child before they gently fall off.  They also remain in a back float after entering the water. Next, return to the big mat and try it again!

FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Encourage parents to allow the child to fall into the water independently and remain in a back float. When back at the big mat, encourage parents to allow students to climb back up (elbow, elbow, belly, knee).

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 Practice

  • Laurie Lawrence is one of the Worlds Leading Experts in Infant Swimming.  In our effort to implement more independent back floaters in our Little Flippers Classes, please visit this address on for tips on this technique.  https://youtu.be/tZVtrJ10Gu0
  • Please utilize this information to also educate your parents about the back floating process.

Why: Buoyancy and Balance

How: Create your own practice session for this based on the above content or practice that has worked for you in the past.  Add in rhymes or toys for comfort or distraction, but never force students to back float they may may go through stages where they resist back floating.

Fishes in the Ocean TWO WAYS

Why: To gain comfort with Breath Control and practice the Safety skill of an unexpected fall into the pool!

How:  For the backwards fall, support the students while seated at pool edge facing away.  Sing the song and fall in on cue. Student may remain in a back float and / or submerge!  Finish the skill by encouraging the parent to turn the child toward the wall and assist with climbing out.

FOR MORE ADVANCED STUDENTS; Encourage parents to submerge their child completely or to allow the to fall into the water independently.  When back at the big mat, encourage parents to allow students to climb back up (elbow, elbow, belly, knee).

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. During the initial introduction of learning breath control, submersion’s of young children must be brief (approximately three seconds) and few in number (no more than six per lesson). Once the child can consistently initiate the submersion’s AND can demonstrate competent breath control, submersion’s can become longer and more frequent.

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