Fun water games for babies and toddlers

Stuck for ideas? Over to Ali Beckman, Head Teacher of Puddle Ducks Swim School.

3 min read

Fun water games for babies and toddlers

Stuck for ideas? Over to Ali Beckman, Head Teacher of Puddle Ducks Swim School.

3 min read

Five tips for fun baby swimming

Ali Beckman shares her advice on how to make your baby’s swimming sessions extra special.

1. Try to be water confident yourself.

If you aren’t a strong swimmer or if you feel nervous in water, taking your baby swimming is a time to overcome your fears. Stay in the shallow end, don’t panic if you get splashed – be a positive role model for your little one.

2. Take it slowly.

Some of us have little daredevils, others are more cautious. Either way, don’t underestimate the impact of having your face/head under the water for the first time; it can upset even the most boisterous of babies.

3. Encourage mental stimulation alongside the physical

Snap like a crocodile, jump like a frog, go for a ride on a seahorse or swish your fins like a mermaid. Toddlers especially love imaginary play, so don’t hold back!

4. Sing repetitive songs and rhymes in the pool

Repeating a rhyme in the pool is a super effective way to communicate with your baby. The repetition is reassuring and helps them learn. Using the same words to match actions helps them feel more confident as they recognise what will happen next.

5. Support independence as they become more confident

Introduce a float to help them kick their legs. Let them explore and experiment and remember to give positive praise.

What fun swimming games do you play with your baby in the swimming pool?

We asked parents to share their favourite water activities

Lie your baby on their tummy in the water facing you and hold them under their armpits. Then put your face half under and blow bubbles in the water. After you’ve done it a few times and your baby is used to having their mouth in the water, encourage them to blow bubbles, too.
Lisa, mum to Alma
Hold your baby out in front of you in the water with your hands under their armpits and around their chest and have a floating toy or ball in front of them. Encourage them to kick the ball, either to another person or the side of the pool so they practise kicking in the pool while having fun.
Jo, mum to Tilly
This one needs two adults – one to be Mr Wolf and one to hold the baby. Mr Wolf stands at one end of the pool, you and your baby at the other. Mr Wolf turns his back. You call, "What's the time Mr Wolf?", Mr Wolf turns and answers “3 o'clock” and turns back. You take 3 steps. At any time, Mr Wolf can answer "It's dinner time!" and chase you back to the starting line.
Jo, mum to Gene
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