Once you’re confident that your baby is comfortable in the water, swimming games are a great way to keep your little one entertained. Here at Water Babies, we know that the easiest way for your child to get the most out of their swimming lessons is by learning to love the pool. By broadening their experience in this way, you’ll support their long-term engagement and enjoyment of swimming, whilst also improving co-ordination and basic motor skills.
When your child is happy simply being in a pool, gradually start to introduce these games into the mix; you’ll see their confidence develop as they become more attuned to the variety and scope of activities involved with swimming. Repetition, smiles, hugs and praise will help them to feel comfortable with any new additions to your routine, and encourage your baby to embrace the activities on offer.
This game is a great place to begin as it helps your baby get used to having a wet face, and can be built up gradually to support breath control in the water. Start by holding your baby under their arms, putting your mouth just below the surface and blowing some bubbles. Repeat this a few times before encouraging your baby to mimic what you do.
Using a familiar nursery rhyme in a new environment will help to lessen anxiety through association. Sit your baby at the pool’s edge whilst you remain in the water in front of them. Sing ‘Humpty Dumpty’ together; when Humpty falls off the wall, hold your child round their body, guiding them into the pool with you.
Little Pancake is a good game to introduce rotation. Starting with them on their tummy, sing the song and do the actions as follows, remembering to keep their face out of the water:
‘I’m a little pancake, round and flat’
(flip them onto their back) ‘Look at me I’m on my back’
(flip them onto their front) ‘I’m a little pancake on my tum’
(flip them onto their back) ‘Roll me over cause it’s fun!’
Boost your toddler’s swimming game fun with a variety of swimming toys. Put together a ‘scavenger hunt,’ using pool floats, swim balls, fish, flippers and mirrors. It works even better as a group: organise a seafarers’ hunt for treasure amongst yourselves and work in teams to find the loot – whoever manages to collect the most wins!
Browse our range of swimming toys here.
If you’re happy and you know it, splash your hands!
Try this game towards the end of your time in the pool; it’ll help signal the end of a happy swimming session, and tire your little one out ready for home. Holding your baby round their body, watch your baby splash their hands whilst you sing:
'If you're happy and you know it, splash your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, splash your hands!
If you're happy and you know it, then you really ought to show it,
If you're happy and you know it, splash your hands!'
As your baby grows, you can adapt these games to suit their developing skillset in the water. Once they’re able to swim independently, gameplay will become an essential part of their experience in the pool – and one that can be enjoyed as a family.