We are now well in to Autumn and I just love this time of year. We see the colours around us changing from vibrant greens to yellows, oranges, browns, purples and reds. Conkers and acorns drop to the floor and we pick the remaining blackberries we can reach. The apples and pear trees are ripe, ready to make yummy crumbles and pies. The glistening red berries can be seen from a far. The sound of the tractors harvesting the farming fields and the musky-sweet smells of the leaves decaying on the ground.
How can this beautiful season be incorporated in our swimming lessons? So many E.P.I.C (explore, play, investigate and create) lesson ideas can be discovered by what see, hear, smell, taste and touch during this time of year.
I always like to have seasonal themed swimming lessons as I just love thinking of different and fun activities that we could do to help practice the sill sets needed to be learnt. Not only are the themes beneficial to the children but they are to me as a teacher. I also see a learning opportunity that I can fuse with the time in the pool (you can’t take the schol-teacher out of me lol).
How do I go about gathering those ideas for swimming lessons and how do I choose the equipment to use that works nicely with the theme?
The end of September I researched everything there is to know about Autumn and I then categorise the information in to specific sections that I think would work in the pool. For example, I had 3 sections - Nature, Harvesting and Animals. This equated to 3 weeks of lessons.
Once I had my 3 themes I then break down what materialises. For example, Nature my list was:
* Falling seeds - Conkers and acorns
I then come up with ways I can merge these in the water. I look on Pinterest for inspiration and then places like amazon and eBay.
Using my “bones of it” lesson structure I bring it all together ensuring that the skills I am wanting to cover for the different levels will have covered.
For the FREE Bones of it lesson structure click here.
A few examples for Level 1-2 (ages 3 months - 2 years old) I have:
Song - 5 little acorns hanging in a tree
Activity 1 - practice holds & kicking skills by collecting pumpkins that are floating in the water.
Activity 2 - floating like leaves (backs). I actually give them leaves too (artificial ones) so that they can talk about and touch the leaves 🍁
Activity 3 - movement cube which has different gross motor skills like, grow tall like corn or roll like a pumpkin. (This printable is available to purchase).
Activity 4 - jumping in to leaves. I place the Leaf Matching cards (a printable you can purchase) and they pretend to jump in to a pile of leaves. If they are not jumping then they can splash and play with the leaves, pour water on them or blow them.
For the Sensory basket I have things like: red balls (berries), spiked sensory balls (conkers), a discovery bottle with leaves an acorns in, pine cones and cinnamon sticks.
So you will see that with just this one example of an Autumn lesson how interactive and creative you can be, using all the senses, creating memories, learning not only swimming skills but also about what happens during Autumn. The child will remember more and you have provided an engaging and captivating time in the water. You are helping those children that are a little anxious and nervous around water, you are guiding parents with effective communication and enabling bonding experiences, and the children are moving and practicing, exploring the whole time.
Do you offer seasonal themed lessons? How do you execute your lessons? What equipment do you use? Let me know in the comments below.
I have other Seasonal lesson ideas (idea shower sheets) for ages 3 month - 7 years old. You can purchase them here.