Hi my name is Cathy from Dallas, TX. I have been a Sunsational Swim Instructor for 2 years. In addition to swimming, I also love the outdoors. I’m an extreme enthusiast and a certified scuba diver.
Today I will discuss interactive and fun games to help your child get comfortable going underwater.
The number one thing that keeps a child from learning how to swim is the fear of getting water in their ears and/or eyes. In today’s short blog, I would like to discuss four different swimming pool games that I have used and can say is a huge success for children and their fear of going underwater.
The first game is a childhood favorite of mine and since most kids play this when they are young, they are already exposed to the rules, so I usually start with this one in swim lessons.
Game 1: Simon Says
Objective: To allow kids to submerge their whole head under water.
Rules: There has to be at least two people. One person plays Simon and the other child is player 1 etc. Simon can ask you to do anything but you have to wait till Simon says Simon says…
Trick: In this game you want to start with the easy stuff so kids can get used to you and their mind will be focused on the game. They won’t even realize when you actually say “Simon Says put your head in water” that they are unconsciously doing it even though you are not forcing them to go under water.
Game 2: Reach/Dive for the diving toys
Objective: Get kids to kick as hard as they can.
Rules: Throw diving sticks under water to allow kids to try retrieving them.
Trick: Give kids a head start by telling them to start kicking and trying to swim downward. Place the stick with your hand underwater while assisting and guiding their back down so they feel like they can reach the bottom easily.
Game 3: Categories
Objective: To teach kids to hold their breath, allowing them to be comfortable on their back and submerging their heads under water.
Rules: Two plus players. One player holds the other player like a baby, they pick a category and the other player guesses what the main player is thinking in their head it. If they get it wrong, they will get cradled backwards into the water.
Trick: Allow the child to pinch their nose while cradling them back in the water. When they get used to it, tell them to hold their breath and blow out of their nose when cradling them in water.
Game 4: I spy
Objective: To get kids to bob their head underwater and/or stay underwater to search for what I’m spying.
Rules: Start with spying stuff in the sky, then close to them under water and then further and further away.
Trick: You can bribe the kids by getting toys they want, and if they spy it, they get to keep it. I don’t use quarters because kids don’t need money.
Game 5: Noodle Race
Objective: To get kids to use their legs as much as they can.
Rules: Start from one end of the pool and race to the other end.
Trick: Tell the kids to kick as hard as they can until they reach the other side. If the child is advancing, tell them to hold the noodle with their arms straight, not bent. This way they will be kicking harder, if not they will start sinking.
Game 6: G-O-F-I-S-H
Objective: This is exactly like the game H-O-R-S-E when playing basketball.
Rules: You must do what the first player does but if you refuse, then you earn the letter G, and so forth. The first person who reaches the word Go Fish, loses.
Trick: Start off with an easy task then dive deeper.
Game 7: Find the Invisible Bottle
Objective: This one is for more advanced swimmers. Find the water bottle in the water.
Rules: Tell all swimmers to turn around and then throw the bottle in the water, and then tell swimmers to turn back around and search for it. When they spot it, they’ll have to jump in and retrieve it.
While participating in these games please be sure and try not to use goggles at the beginning. It is important to teach kids to open their eyes in water just in case they do lose goggles, they do not panic. After they are comfortable with opening their eyes under water, then they may be able to use goggle every other day. Of course, they may use goggles when they play I spy.
In conclusion, I hope all these games are helpful and will help your child overcome their fear of water in their eyes/ ears. They will be able to submerge their head completely as well without doubt.
Need more help getting your child comfortable going underwater and learning how to swim? Consider hiring a private swim instructor to travel to your own home or community pool!
Cathy Wong’s bio:
Hi, my name is Cat and you are going to be my best swimmer! I've been teaching swim lessons for over 2 years, ages 10 months-adult. I love to have fun in the water but still practice safety with all my swim students. Aside from being a swim instructor, I'm a part-time teacher, I love the outdoors and fun fact I'm a scuba diver. See you in the water.