by Lori Kilmer, Owner Kilmer’s Swim Time, Escondido, CA

At the end of each lesson we play games, here are some of the fun games our students enjoy:

1. Ring Launch: Place a ring on the back of a kickboard and have half of the kickboard hanging off the deck over the pool. Hit the front of the kickboard with your hand or arm to launch the ring in the air. The kids catch the flying ring. Think “Three Flies Up”. Switch ‘launchers’ when the kids catch 2 in a row.

2. Hint: Played just like Marco Polo, but the kids have to splash the water or make a noise when the person that is ‘it’ asks for a hint. We play with one foot stationary and they can pivot around one foot. This is a much quieter game than Marco Polo.

3. Surfer Girl/Boy: We have boogies boards, foam floats or foam surfboards that we hold while the kids stand up and surf. For a variation shake it while thy are standing up.

4. Wiggly Water: We have the kids on the foam boards mentioned above and shake them until the kids fall off. They can either lay on them or stand on them while you shake it. Variation: Try to get them to fall off while they hold on. Turn it over on them and back upright.

5. Go To The Wall: I tell the kids to go to the wall and I give them a big push while holding one foot. I let them reach full extension and then pull them back to me. I pretend like the are not following directions and act like I am really mad at them. I do it all over again, and get ‘more upset’ pretending of course, each time. I ask them, why they are not listening. They usually figure it out that I am not letting them go. I then let go with one hand, but hold on with the other. They think it’s really funny. Only do this game with swimmers that know how to exhale underwater when you pull them back or they will get water in their nose. I only play this game with relaxed good swimmers I know well. Let the parents know you are playing or the parent will jump on the bandwagon and yell at them for not listening.

6. Kid Launcher: Have the kids hold a foam float or a kickboard and flip it over forward. The kids do a forward somersault and think its fun. Again, kids must be confident in the water.

7. Ball Toss: Have the kids jump into the pool and try to catch a ball that you toss into the air while they jump in. Use a soft toy if you don’t have a ball.

8. Treasure Hunt: Hide an object in the pool and have the kids try to find it. We use words to help direct them to the right spot, like freezing, cold, colder, ice,

warm, warmer, white hot, lava. Switch so they can hide it from you. Use multiple objects if you have more than one swimmer to find the treasure. You can hide coins, rings, small toys, etc.

9. Dolphin or Shamu Rides: Have kids hold onto your back and swim above and under the water.

10 Bobbing: I have the kids go underwater and blow bubbles, come up take a quick breath and repeat as many times as possible. When they come up I have to say a different word for ‘good job’ each time they come up. If they forget to inhale or blow bubbles I win. When I repeat the same word twice, they win. I use words like fantastic, super, wow, awesome, etc. The faster they bob and the better they get, the more they win. A fun variation is to use holiday words instead, like Ho Ho Ho and Merry Xmas.