Water games, comfort, bravery

Ages: 2 through 4 years old.

Participants should be comfortable without a parent in the class, though they can watch from nearby. Lessons should be taught in SHALLOW water with a zero-depth pool preferred. Water level should be at most waist or bottom of rib cage deep with lots of room to walk, play, and do controlled underwater activities.

Quick Test Criteria:

Age. Are the swimmers between 2 and 4 years old.

Can the swimmer leave their parents without crying or clinging. Are they ready to participate in a group.

Testable Skills

  • Alligator walk
  • Lay flat on your back in zero-depth water with ears underwater.
  • Follow instructions and play a three step game like “Treasure Hunt.”
  • Be a part of a group activity like Bake a Cake
  • Independent water exploration in chest deep water with supervision

Why are these skills in Guppies Toddler?

This level is a bridge between Parent Tot and Level 1. It is designed and intended for zero-depth water (beachfront style) where instructors and swimmers can move about in a large space to explore water skills with the safety of shallow water.

We want swimmers to have fun, but still learn skills. For younger children who are brave enough to step away from their parents and join a class without being held the whole time Guppies Toddler class is perfect.

Instructors will play games, do water exploration activities, and teach swim skills through play.

Alligator walks are fun ways to teach a flat horizontal body posture, put the face in the water, and blow bubbles. It’s also fun to move through the water walking on your hands. For 2 – 4 year olds it is an excellent way to introduce front glides.

Putting your ears in the water can be troubling to beginners. Laying flat on the ground provides a safe feeling for an otherwise scary activity: back floats. We can overcome lots of the anxiety and fear by laying on the ground and growing accustomed to water going over the ears.

Before a toddler is ready to stand on flimsy benches or wade into water they can’t touch the bottom of, its important they can follow instruction and feedback that is a little more complicated than “go here. Pick up this. Put it there.” A multi-step game like “Treasure Hunt” asks swimmers to join in an imaginary game where they are sailors on a ship that need to help find treasure and bring it back to port. If toddlers can follow along, play, follow cued skills like go underwater to pick up each toy, and do so in a controlled way it shows that they’re ready for more complex skill instruction like streamlines and front crawl.

The same applies to Bake a Cake. If a toddler is capable of being part of the group and participating without anxiety, fear, or taking over and dominating the group then it demonstrates they’re ready for a group lesson in deeper water with more advanced skills.

Main activities:

  • Games! Songs! Play!
  • Putting your face in the water.
  • Lifejackets
  • Alligator walks: moving on your hands with legs stretched behind you.
  • Crab walks. Walk on hands on your back with legs kicking or standing.
  • Ears in the water.
  • Movement across the shallow end.
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Following directions; complex games and challenges.