Children and water go together. When the mercury climbs and it’s time for a dip, get creative with games and activities. Swimming pool games for 5-year-olds will give them enjoyable activities specific for little swimmers at a beginning level. Safety is the name of the game with water play, so have adults supervise the splashing antics at all times.
1. Games of Catch
Catch is a natural game for little ones in the shallow end of the pool. Endless variations of catch exist, and even 5-year-olds without strong swimming skills can play catch as long as the pool is shallow. Position everyone about 5 to 7 feet apart and start lobbing a big beach ball to everyone. If you want a twist on this old standard, have everyone slather sunscreen all over their hands before hitting the pool. The sunscreen will make it tricky to catch and hold onto the ball in the water.
2. Floating Toy Games
Many small pool toys float and bob perfectly on the surface of the water. You’ll need one rubber ducky or toy boat for each 5-year-old. Position the kids at one wall of the pool with a floating toy in front of them. Show the kids how to nudge the toys along through the water toward the other side of the pool. A variation of this game is to blow the toy through the water to the other end of the pool. Another variation has the kids splashing the toys to move them through the water -- no fair touching the toys with any body parts, though. The first one to reach the other side wins.
3. Hula Hoop Games
A hula hoop will float on the surface of the water, making it a perfect game piece for water play. Give each youngster a hula hoop and position everyone in a shallow area of the pool. Show the kids how they can hold their breath, sink down into the water and come up in the center of the hula hoop. Once inside the hula hoop, have them try to dive over the hoop and back into the water. You could even set up a simple obstacle course out of hula hoops and show your little fish how she can swim, dunk and bob her way through the course.
4. Follow the Leader
Beginning swimmers can try lots of new tricks in the water with Follow the Leader. One person gets to be the leader and the kids should stand in a circle around the leader, all in the shallow end of the pool. The leader can choose fun moves such as jumping, splashing, dunking down under the water, blowing bubbles, hopping and marching. If the pool is shallow enough, the leader could even move through the water with everyone following behind. A line of kids jumping, splashing, blowing bubbles and marching could be a funky and invigorating way for youngsters to get acclimated to the water.
- "Swimming Games and Activities: For Parents and Teachers"; Jim Noble and Alan Cregeen
- "101 Cool Pool Games for Children: Fun and Fitness for Swimmers of All Levels"; Kim Rodomista
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