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Kids First Swim Lessons - Water discovery - Splashing

When it comes to kids first swim lessons and water discovery, splashing is a lot of fun But!

What do I mean by "But!" Well splashing is one of the most useful things to do to help new student, young or adult be introduced to the water; except where the act of splashing actually puts a student off getting into the water. Or worse still if the act of splashing actually enhances the fear that the student has of the water.

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

That is, splashing may send your student out of the water, not help them enjoy it. Splashing may frighten the living daylights out of a new student.

Until a swimmer is used to getting splashes of water on them, I never splash a student. Even when I know the new swimmer is happy to be splashed I avoid splashing the swimmer myself.

So how can you know when a student is ready for splashing?

Image of children in swimming pool facing the wall and holding it, whilst kicking and doing lots of splashing. Kids First Swim Lessons in water discovery often involve splashing. Try to make sure it doesn't scare them
Kids and Splashing
One technique is to play games and sing songs . But you have to be prepared to back off the game if the new swimmer is frightened by the splashing in the game. Simply play another game that doesn't involve splashing. As the student discovers more about the water and become more comfortable the idea of getting splashed will become less of a threat.

The other technique is still sort of a game, at the very least you need to make it fun. It's kicking. Sitting on the edge kicking. This is something that you should be doing with your new swimmers anyway. I personally thing that there is far too little time spent on kicking practice. One organizations I became familiar with programed 5 min of kicking in to their lessons. Personally I think that is a bit too much but the concept of spending much more time on kicking is one I do agree with.

Anyway  I spend up to 3 minutes with children and sometimes a bit more with adults working on their kicking in various way. For example and this is where the splashing come in:

Sitting on the edge and have the children kick in the water. I add to this a song that goes something like this:

Everybody kicking, kicking, kicking,
Everybody kicking 1, 2, 3
Everybody kicking, kicking, kicking,
Everybody kicking you can't splash me.

The exercise  has several beneficial effects:
  • It encourages the children to see kicking as enjoyable
  • It encourages the children to bring there feet high in the water when they are kicking (this is very important because a correct kick close to the surface of the water but not braking the surface is the most powerful kick)
  • It encourages the children to see controlled splashing as positive.
  • It assists in the development of a good strong kick with a nice flick in it.
  • The children will raise there legs in the water to their level of development and confidence and will get to the splashing in their own time.

In short, splashing is a great water discovery technique but you need to be careful that it doesn't become a thing to be feared by the new swimming student.



  1. Wow, only a three to five minutes on kicking?
    I think we spend close to half the beginning classes on establishing a productive kick, and definitely most of the pre-swimming yardage is kicking. It is great for independence when no one can breathe and swim, but also is the more reliable muscles in most of our swimmers. Everyone walks, runs, and bikes, very few do that much with their upper body, so arms are unfortunately less helpful for swimming.

  2. Tell me more.

    So how do you go about that? I can't imagine that you get the students to just sit in the one place and kick. Your comment raises so many other questions that I would be interested to know.

    Do you get the students to practice different forms of kicking? That is do you do side kicking and front kicking and back kicking? Do you include torpedoes in the kicking exercise?

    What other activities if any do you do with your kicking? Do you include flotations? If so, is that flotation on the front or the back or both? Do you use a flotation device? What sort of flotation devices do you use?

    How long are your classes (1/2 Hr, 45 min)? How many students do you have in a class? What age are the students? Are your students in the water with just the teacher or are the carers also in the classes you are talking about? Do you start in shallow water and progress to deep? At what point do you introduce arms? How do you introduce arms?

    Do your students begin to swim earlier in comparison to swimmers who do introduce arms at an earlier point? Do your students display advantages over other swimmers who introduce arms at an earlier point?

    Lets keep the discussion going!