‘Toys Make Everything more fun’
By Lisa Cook, Guest Contributor
CEO & Master Swim Instructor, kidSwim
We at kidSwim are huge fans of pool toys. We use them to help break the ice for non-swimmers and scared beginners, we use them to entice children to reach beneath the surface of the water while blowing bubbles, we use them as rewards for skills well executed.
In general, toys make everything more fun, including learning.
For parents who want to bring the fun into their recreation time with their children, here are some suggestions that we know to be tried and true. (there are many many others that we love as well but this is a well-rounded mix for younger and older children).
1. Classic rings and sticks.
These are basically always a hit and can be used for little ones and big ones alike. Easy to grasp for little hands (and no small pieces for little mouths to choke on) and equally fun for older children to dive for in the deep end. We’ve used rings and sticks forever and they never fail.
2. Sunny Turtles
Here’s a fun game to play because it requires multiple steps and some discovery when children have to ‘open’ the eggs and see what’s inside. One note of caution *** there are smaller pieces in these so I would not recommend it for children under the age of 2.5 or even 3. Also close adult supervision to make sure turtles aren’t being sneakily deposited into mouths.
3. Bath Letters & Numbers.
These are wonderful for young children. First of all, safe for chewers (although bite marks become permanent), they float around in the pool and you can have all kinds of fun trying to catch letters to spell their name, favorite animal, food, etc… plus they stick on most pool tile walls so you can decorate around the pool with them! This is ideal for children 6-24 months.
4. The Four Toypedos.
Another classic – the four toypedos – these are fun for little ones who can watch them ‘zoom’ around under the water and for beginners, its a nice alternative because they can play it while sitting on the steps sort of like a game of catch without having to swim for it. For older children though, its a great game to play underwater, throwing them to each other and catching them – it can even be played with more than two kids.
5. Diving Masters Treasure Chest.
Here’s one I like to use a lot because it can be a few different games in one. Children love the idea of ‘treasure’ and opening a treasure chest to find jewels, coins, etc.. is so fun for them. This is a game that can be played on the steps, or down at the bottom of the pool. Also I encourage imaginative play around this and lots of pretending. *** caution again – small pieces so not advisable for very young children, although the chest itself can be intriguing for younger children as they discover which of their toys fit inside.