Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

Give your swimming lessons a festive feel with these Christmas games ideas

Teachers wanting to give their swimming lessons a festive feel are being encouraged to check out Swim England’s 12 days of Christmas games ideas.

The recognised national governing body’s Learn to Swim team have created a range of fun activities all with a Christmas theme.

Katie Towner, Swim England’s Head of Learn to Swim, said: “The Learn to Swim team have been putting together some great festive games for you to try in the lead up to Christmas.

“Remember, all the games need to be delivered in a covid-secure way, so adaptations and risk assessments may need to take place.

We hope all your learners have a lot of festive fun taking part in these games and we’d love to hear your feedback on how your lessons went.

All the activities are suitable for Learn to Swim stages 1-7.

Santa and his Reindeer, stages 4-7

Learners are put into pairs, and one learner (Santa) sits on a large float (sleigh) while the other learner (reindeer) has a noodle under their arms and kicks or pulls the large float across the pool.

These pairs compete against each other to get across the pool first and collect presents (smaller floats) along the way.

Equipment: large floats, noodles, smaller floats.

Santa’s Chimney, stages 1-3

Using the popular song ‘When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney,’ enter the water and make a circle.

Rotate as a group and carry out activities such as blowing bubbles and ducking under the water. At the end of the song jump up out of the water and shout “ACHOO!”

Song – ‘When Santa Got Stuck Up the Chimney’

Snowflakes, Snowballs and Snow Angels, stages 1-7

Move through a range of shapes:

  • Snowflakes are a star shape float on their front or back
  • Snow Angels, learners move their arms and legs in this star shape
  • Snowballs are tuck floats.

Challenge your swimmers by getting them to transition in and out of a range of the above shapes or make it easier by letting them use a noodle or float.

Equipment: Noodles, floats.

Home Alone, stages 3-7

Create an obstacle course relevant to the age of the learners.

Equipment: Noodles, floats (large and small), tunnel, toys.

Three Wise Men, stages 3-7

Link the water safety messages to the Three Wise Men and create a story around the Nativity.

Water safety messages and skills to be practiced:

  • Safe entry
  • HELP positions
  • Survival stroke
  • Emergency numbers (999 or 112).

Christmas Tree, stages 1-4

Learners travel and swim around the pool retrieving items to be brought back to the central location to decorate and create a Christmas tree out of floats (laminated cards of a tree cut up).

Equipment: Laminated cards of a tree, toys, smaller floats.

Festive Floats, stages 1-7

Learners could perform a sequence of festive shapes such as a Christmas tree, snowflake (star float), snowman (pencil float) and Christmas pudding (tuck float).

Golden Sinkers, stages 1-7

Learners travel or swim around the pool to collect five sinkers from varying depths of the pool.

Equipment: Sinkers.

Santa’s Workshop, stages 1-7

Learners are elves in Santa’s workshop tasked with collecting and building presents. Learners travel or swim around the pool collecting items as instructed and return to a set location to assemble the toys.

For example, collecting mega blocks or floats and proceeding to create an item for Santa.

Equipment: smaller floats, toys.

Reindeer Races, stages 3-7

Learners in teams of four use noodles to form a chain and have relay races. The distance and float used can be changed as an adaptation to different abilities.

Equipment: Noodles, floats.

Santa’s on his way, stages 1-7

Learners travel and swim around the pool. Teachers call out “Santa is on his way” and all the learners need to stop travelling/swimming and float in the desired shape until they are told to continue to travel/swim.

To make it more difficult include rotation from front to back during each float.

Christmas Dinner, stages 3-5

Use a large float in the middle of your area, use different types of equipment to build the table, sinkers as cutlery, small buckets as cups, squishy toys as the food on the table.

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