Bear Paddle Swim School always encourages family swim time. It’s important to practice skills in a fun and familiar atmosphere with family and friends. Playing water games with your children is a great way to help them practice their skills while having fun as family. Here are six games you can try with your children.
1. Who Can Float The Longest?
Competitions for the longest float and quietest toes may not seem that exciting, but they help your burgeoning swimmer practice one of the most important swimming safety skills. Plus, if you have multiple children, it’s a game that younger swimmers can be included in so the whole family has fun together.
2. Water Animals
Kids love to engage in make believe. Let your children choose an underwater world, and everyone can pretend to be their favorite aquatic animal. Will you be sharks and sea turtles in the ocean? What about crocodiles and otters in the river? Maybe goldfish and salamanders in a pond are more your style. The possibilities are endless!
3. Marco Polo
Marco Polo is an old favorite that many of us played when we were children. It works well whether you only have a few players or entire pool party.
To play, choose one person to be it. That player closes his or her eyes and shouts, “Marco!” Everyone else yells, “Polo!” in response. The player who is “it” then moves around the pool, trying to catch the other players by following the sound. When a player is caught, that person then becomes “it.”
4. Sharks And Minnows
Sharks and Minnows is another old classic that still provides lots of fun. In this game, one player starts as the shark at one end of the pool, while all the other players are minnows and start at the other end. The shark calls out, “Sharks and minnows, one, two, three. Little fishies swim to me!”
After the shark’s call, all the minnows try to reach the wall at the shark’s end of the pool. If they manage to touch it, they are safe. Meanwhile, the shark tries to tag as many minnows as possible.
The game is over once all the minnows have either touched the wall or been tagged. For the next round, the first minnow that was tagged becomes the shark.
In this unique variation of tag, one player stands in the middle of the pool. This is the octopus. All the other players start on one end of the pool and try to swim to the other without being tagged.
When a player is tagged, he or she holds hands with the octopus and begins tagging other players, too. The octopus grows as more players are added, and the winner is the last person to be tagged.
If you have more advanced swimmers, who can swim underwater, try making a bridge for them to swim under. Stand with your legs apart and let your child swim through them.
Once your child has mastered swimming under the bridge, you can add a second person so there are two sets of legs to swim through. Alternatively, place an object such as a colored ring or water toy on the floor of the pool and stand near it. Your swimmer can go under the bridge and retrieve the toy before surfacing.
Playing water games is a wonderful way to spend time as a family and help your children practice their skills without even realizing they’re doing it! Take turns choosing games so everyone gets a chance to play their favorite.
Remember to keep your eyes on the water and only select games that are appropriate for your swimmer’s level. That way, everyone can have fun and stay safe. We hope to see you at our next Family Swim!