Celebrate Chinese New Year as part of your swimming lesson

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history and is China’s most important festival. The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar. This year it falls on the 1 February 2022, beginning a year of the Tiger.

Celebrations last for two weeks, ending on 15 February 2022 with the lantern festival, marking the full moon.

One legend is that a monster named Nian (which translates to year) would attack villagers at the beginning of each year. Nian was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the colour red, so those things were used to chase the beast away. Celebrations therefore often include firecrackers, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations.

Dragon and lion dances are common and it’s believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the Dragon or lion dancing can evict evil spirits.

With such vibrant narratives, it’s the perfect opportunity for swimming teachers to incorporate some of the celebrations into their swimming lessons so we’ve put together these quick activity ideas:

Tiger’s DenTiger swimming teacher lesson idea

  • Create a Tiger’s den – add floats (sleeping tigers) to the pool and spread them out.
  • Swimmers need to move around the pool without waking up a tiger – don’t touch them and be quiet!
  • If anyone touches a float, shout TIGERS! and everyone has to get to their station as quickly as possible.
  • Adapt the game by specifying the mode of travel.

Dragon DanceDragon dance swim teacher activity idea

  • One swimmer starts as the dragons head.
  • The aim is to increase the size of the dragon by tagging the other participants.
  • Each tagged swimmer becomes part of the dragon, holding hands to form a line.
  • When more of the swimmers are part of the dragon than not, the activity can start again with a different person as the dragons head.

Lion DanceLion dance swim teacher activity idea

  • Swimmers should pair up to make a lion.
  • The head of the lion moves around the pool in a variety of ways making different shapes.
  • The swimmer who is the body of the lion has to copy their actions.
  • The head of the lion should try and use lots of different forms of travel to move.
  • The swimming teacher should call out to swap the person who is the lions head.

Floating Lanternsfloating lanters swimming teacher activity idea

  • Each swimmer has a floating toy which is their lantern.
  • They need to move their lantern around the pool but they can’t touch it as it will burn them.
  • Experiment with how many different ways they can get their lantern to move without touching it.