Pool Toys for Water Confidence
By Mario Vittone - Water Safety Expert
Introduction | 2 | 3
Spring Float Kid's Boat
That's right: I'm suggesting a pool float as a water-confidence-building pool toy. No, I'm not suggesting that lying around builds water confidence, but put one of these things in the water with two or more kids and see what happens. Eventually, all kids will break into the aquatic version of "King of The Hill," turning these pool floats into serious deep water toys.
Of course, you should encourage them to "play nice" and can organize the fun into an aquatic musical chairs round. Two Spring Float Kid's Boats, three kids, and you've got yourself a game.
You wouldn't immediately think that a game like Poolside Volleyball played while standing on the bottom builds in-water skill, but it does. Jumping and reaching for the save, kids are sometimes forced to submerge at odd angles while their hands are busy. There is no nose-pinching or face-covering going on and kids develop tolerance for the occasional discomfort of water up the nose or submerging with less than a full breath. It may seem silly and definitely this game is more about volleyball than anything else, but that’s the point. While playing a game, kids develop secondary skills that help them in other areas and that makes them more confident and safer swimmers.
So far, everything I've mentioned is for more advanced junior swimmers and teens (and me with that whole shark thing), but even the youngest can gain confidence and comfort in the water through the use of toys and games.
Gobble Gobble Guppies
I promise, I'm not suggesting the Gobble Gobble Guppies pool toy just because of the shark (though he is pretty cool), but because it's a great toy to get young swimmers to move through the water, even if they still need to stay in the shallow end where they can touch bottom. Space the guppies out and watch as your kids chase them through the water. Have them alternate holding the shark in either hand with each round and the fun of play becomes a serious tool for building balance, hand-eye coordination, and general ease in the water.
Supervised toys and games are an important part of any child’s development as a confident and safer swimmer. Remember that the next time you're in the store and they drag you into pool toy aisle and say, "Please!" Whatever they want that will get them playing in the water will do good that they aren't even aware of. Just make sure you remind them how lucky they are -- "Why, when I was a kid, we had to play with pennies!"
Play safely! Visit the SwimWays blog for more learn to swim and water safety tips from our expert, Mario Vittone.