If your child is currently in or has recently had swimming lessons, he or she may still be getting comfortable being in the water, let alone remembering the skills learned during lessons. But drilling them during play time on strokes and holding their breath can easily wear them out and turn them off to the idea that time in the water is a fun way to get exercise. So we've compiled a list of some of the fun pool games for kids that use many of the skills learned in swimming lessons. Plus, sometimes kids just need a little push in the right direction when it comes to being active and relieving their summer boredom. Have these ideas in your back pocket next time you head to the pool.
- Superman Glide
For kids who are still getting used to the idea of being independently in the water, have them place their backs against the wall of the shallow end of the pool. Then have them to push off from the wall of the pool with their feet, arms outstretched like Superman. Depending on their comfort level, you can encourage them to keep their faces in the water, or do Superman glides down the side of the pool gradually working your way to the deep end.
- Red Light, Green Light
You can use this game to reinforce kicking their feet in the water. Have kids hang on to the side of the pool, and when you yell "Green Light!" have them kick rapidly. When you yell "Red Light!" they stop and at "Yellow Light!" they kick slowly. Kids who are more comfortable in the water can play this, too, to practice moving from one end of the pool to the other and treading water when you yell "Red Light!"
- Marco Polo
This is a game for at least two players who are comfortable being in the water. One child is chosen to be “Marco,” while the rest of the players are “Polos”. Marco has to close his eyes and try tagging the rest of the players inside the swimming pool. To track their location, Marco yells out “Marco!” and the rest of the group must respond “Polo!”. Using the direction of the voices to guide him, Marco goes after the other players. Players can evade Marco by diving and swimming underwater. The first person to be tagged takes up Marco's role and the game begins again.
Children who are working on certain strokes can practice them with this game. Starting at one end of the pool, kids line up and race to the opposite end. Depending on the swimmers' skills, this game can focus on specific strokes, or merely just movement from one point to another.
- Search and Recover
Kids working on breath control and plunging into the water will enjoy this game. Place objects heavy enough to sink but light enough to easily carry at the bottom of the pool, at a comfortable depth for your kids. The kids can work together to retrieve the sunken items and return them to the starting point. Or, they can make it a contest - each child can try to retrieve more items than the others during a set amount of time; the one retrieving the most is the winner.
- Underwater Handstand Contest
Kids can practice submerging their heads and blowing air from their noses by performing handstands underwater. The longest-held handstand wins! Awarding extra points for pointed toes and is up to you.
Keep in mind that kids should be supervised at the pool at all times, and you should always be watching out for kids to grow tired or disinterested in games, which can lead to accidents. Young kids who aren't able to keep themselves afloat should have on proper safety gear like floaties or life jackets even as they play.