Water play is a great way to build your little one’s water confidence, whether it’s at the local pool, beach or a paddling pool in the garden.
Swimming is one of the few physical activities that can be enjoyed from birth. Having just spent nine months swimming in amniotic fluid, babies often find being in water a calming experience.
With a pack of swim nappies to hand, you’ll be ready for all kinds of spontaneous water play this summer! You can also be confident that fun won’t be interrupted by any little accidents.
In the paddling pool
- When your baby can sit up after around six months they can have lots of fun in a shallow paddling pool, but you don’t need to buy lots of things – a few bath toys that float and plastic beakers that are fun to fill and empty will be enough.
- Babies can learn about cause and effect in the paddling pool. They love to pour water out of teapots and jugs and into funnels, cups and waterwheels.
- Holding floating toys under the water will delight your baby as they bob back up to the surface. Babies love repetition and will want you to do this over and over again. Soon they will anticipate the toy popping back.
At the seaside
- Gentle waves can be really good fun for little ones. Introduce your baby to the sea by sitting with them on the water’s edge and letting the waves lap over their feet. You can turn it into a game by holding them up in a standing position so they can ‘jump’ over each wave as it rolls in. Older babies will also enjoy bobbing up and down in the sea with you in arm bands or a rubber ring.
In the swimming pool
- Show your baby how you can blow bubbles with your mouth just under the water. Encourage them to copy you, they will love the sound they can make, and being held safely by you helps to build water confidence and understanding of the physical world.
- Try water tummy time which is where you support your baby as they float. The water allows them to make big movements with their arms and legs without any restrictions.
- There are lots of lovely classes especially for babies and parents – they help you build confidence and have fun in the water. Ask at your local swimming pool to see if they already run a class. In these classes babies do not tend to wear armbands. Instead you will be in constant contact with your baby, either in your arms or holding them securely on a floating ‘woggle’ – a float shaped like a very long sausage. The woggle allows your baby to feel free with the water moving all around them, and as they get older they can spend time on their back and tummy.
Do be careful
- Never leave a baby alone in or near the water – not even for a moment while you get a towel.
- Salt water and waves also make it hard for babies to stay seated – so stay with them when they’re sitting or playing on the seashore.
Get set, splash!
Ready for some water-based action? All you need to get started is a paddling pool for the garden, or even a large washing-up bowl, which you can fill with water – then dig out some plastic beakers and jugs for pouring. Just add one excited baby or toddler and some swim nappies, and let the fun begin. Happy splashing!