Summer is quickly approaching, and swimming pools can be used for much more than tanning and floating! Get those muscles and joints working with these simple games that you can play with common pool toys.
The following activities target strength, endurance, body awareness, trunk control, breath control and motor planning. As always, make sure safety is your first priority:
1. Noodle Races: sit on foam noodles, using your arms to pull yourself across the length of the pool .
**Try a variety of movements with your arms such as front crawls, breast strokes, and doggy paddling to incorporate different reaching and pulling methods. You can also sit on a tube or raft rather than a noodle to play this game!
2. Noodle Volleyball/Basketball: sit on foam noodles, passing a beach ball back and forth or aiming for a hoop.
**Try to keep the ball in the air without hitting the water for as long as possible. This is a great challenge that incorporates hand-eye coordination.
3. Kickboard Races: lay on your stomach with your arms straight out on top of the kickboard. Kick across the length of the pool, or lay on your back with the kickboard across your chest/stomach and your chin tilted back, looking towards the sky as you kick across the length of the pool.
**Try different kicks such as flutter kicking, breast stroke kicking, and dolphin kicking to get all those leg muscles engaged!
4. Hula Hooping: have an adult hold a hula hoop underwater or on top of the water. The children then take turns swimming through the hula hoop or jumping through the middle.
**Try not to touch the hula hoop with your body when you go through it – this is great for body awareness and motor planning! Try holding multiple hula hoops for more of a challenge.
5. Treasure Hunt: hide different “treasures” (e.g. rings, diving sticks, plastic figurines, diving bricks) at the bottom of the swimming pool, having the children swim underwater to find all of the hidden objects.
**Make it more exciting by timing how long it takes to find the treasures, or turn this into an “I spy” game by giving the children verbal cues, which will help them work on following directions and visual skills. (e.g. “I spy with my little eye something at the bottom of the pool that is blue.”)
Summer is a perfect time to make swimming a family event and help everyone to get some exercise! Now let’s go for a swim!
Ask one of our Occupational Therapists or Physical Therapists for more thorough instructions on completing the different strokes (front crawl, breast stroke, dolphin kicking).