swimming boy

Swimming and Singing

You’d not think that singing would go with swimming, but when it comes to taking babies and toddlers swimming, it’s the norm.  In fact most pre-school children’s activities involve singing at some stage, so I should really be that surprised that it goes hand in hand with our Water Babies classes.

N loves singing and music, so he’s always loved the parts of our swimming lessons that involve the songs and relevant activities or movements.  It also makes me smile (although as a parent you have to get over any embarrassment you might have at first when singing or acting silly) to see him loving them.

With Water Babies, the songs are a way to provide a prompt and recognition point for the child – so Humpty Dumpty had a great ‘fall’, obviously gives a good indication of what’s going to happen, with the prompt for the end of the class being the relaxing Twinkle Twinkle.  I say relaxing, but once the baby moves from floating on their back to climbing on the parent’s back, it’s no longer very relaxing when you’re being strangled by arms round your neck!

What I find amazing is how quickly N picks up the songs and tunes.  He’s still not that clear on words (but then, thinking about how I take in lyrics and understand them for pop songs playing on the radio, it’s understandable with acoustics in a swimming pool), but after only a couple of hearings, he often sings them to himself when he’s at home.  Quite embarrassing when I don’t remember or recognise the songs myself from my youth, and am trying to work them out.

A particular favourite he picked up quickly was Row Row Row your boat, where they sit on a big mat float then fall off at the end.  N’s a big fan of jumping or ‘falling’ in which is a big change from his problem year where he wouldn’t let go of me.  A more recent song that they do to encourage splashing and getting used to lots of water around them is I hear Thunder.  He loves this and sings it in the bath although it does mean a lot of water going everywhere much to his amusement.

It definitely prompts the recognition of the various activities they should be learning.  With Dingle Dangle Scarecrow (not one I’d usually sing at home), he loves kicking, blowing bubbles (N has an interesting technique which involves an open mouth ready to gulp water, rather than a closed mouth bubble blowing), and reaching and pulling his arms along with the song.  I’d love to know what he does if they ever sing that song at nursery…whether he starts singing the alternative swimming lyrics along with the actions!

This week was all about breathing and learning to put their face in the water and lifting it up to breathe.  N’s tried it once before, which was more successful than this week where he plain refused to put his face in the water.  I guess he thinks he’s going to be like one of the ‘ladies who swim’ with head up and none of their hair getting wet.  He wouldn’t even try with me showing him.  Hopefully he’ll pick it up soon, otherwise he’ll end up like my brother who would only swim as far as one breath would take him.

We’ve only got around a month left of classes before the summer holidays, so I want to start making notes of what to remember activity-wise that I can do with him over the holidays.  I don’t want him to forget what he’s learnt.


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  1. I’ve taken both my children to swimming classes at our local leisure centre since they were one. My daughter can now just about swim on her own and my son is in an adult and child class that sounds similar to water babies with the singing. I’m finding it fascinating seeing how what my daughter is currently learning has its groundings in the baby class. For example, last week she was starting to learn to lift her head to breath and then back in the water, while he was kissing a teddy bear float as I pulled him across the pull.

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