Why do we sing at least 2 or 3 songs (sometimes even more) during each swim session?
Here I have compiled a list of 15 benefits that supports children's learning and emotional development during our swim sessions at Mini Water Adventurers swim school.
Benefits of singing:
1) Singing makes everything more enjoyable and lightens the heart - "sing-play" is a fun way to interact & a perfect way to express your love
2) Singing makes you happy - singing releases feel-good hormones
3) Singing is good for your mental health and mood
4) Singing helps boost your immune system & great for the aerobic system
5) Singing teaches communication & language skills - you introduce new vocabulary & your child learns to associate the words with the action/object
6) Singing helps with transitions and activities - child feels safe when life is predictable (knowing what comes next)
7) Singing enhance your bond & closeness with your child - your voice is the most important thing in your child's life
8) Singing causes the mind to focus and the body to relax - comforting to a child when they feel sad and banishes boredom when they are agitated
9) Singing aids in memory, listening skills and concentration - causes the brain to perform multiple tasks
10) Singing encourages a child to express their emotions and sharpens their ability to communicate their feelings
11) Singing can help develop a child's imagination and creativity
12) Action songs are a brilliant way to develop your child's coordinations, gross and fine motor skills
13) Singing with others enhances empathetic relationships with those around us
14) Singing is correlated with a positive sense of social inclusion and a feeling of belonging to a community
15) Singing and music involves rhythm and rhyme - essential tools for language development
Babies start developing the ability to process sound at about 25 weeks and Dutch & Hungarian researchers determined that day-old infants can identify rhythmic patterns
So....we are born with the ability to appreciate to sing!
At what points in our swim sessions do I add songs?
I have a welcome song that we sing at the very start of each swim session:
After exploring for about 5 mins we then come back as a group and sing an action song relative to the theme of the week.
Below is a song from the Spring/Bug theme:
Next the focal point is the kicking action. At this skill set if we notice that the babies or younger toddlers aren't executing the kicking motion enough we use songs to help:
"This is the way we kick our feet, kick our feet, kick our feet. This is the way we kick our feet ready for swimming".
At the same time as singing the adult is performing the proper kicking action for them so the words are associated with the action.
Next is the breathing control - practicing breath holding and breathing in and blowing out. There are a number of ways to incorporate songs for this skill & as a learning tool. For example: you can use singing numbers when blowing out - " 1 bubble (blow), 2 bubble (blow)" and so on OR we used a watering can or fun clouds for our theme this week and singing the song below:
When we said "soil" we splashed the water, the sun we signed & then water we sprinkled water over the head (using cue if needed) using the watering cans or clouds.
I have also used "It's raining it pouring" whilst the group moves in a circular motion - kicking and taking a breath or blowing bubbles through under a trickle of water I am holding above them.
Please note: If a child communicates to me that they do not want to go under then we have them catch the water with their hands until ready to go under.
Next up we aim to go on our backs - No child is forced to go on their backs unless they want to and are comfortable.
Songs help tremendously with a skills that a child is a little anxious or unfamiliar with. Especially for toddlers and preschoolers.
I have used songs in our Space theme "Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon, 5,4,3,2,1, Blast off" and they kick their feet really hard to move backwards. Or "Twinkle, Twinkle little star" using sing language as well with this one. Or for our Dinosaur week I had a pretend cave (under noodles) and we sang "1 little, 2 little, 3 little dinosaur, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little dinosaur, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little dinosaurs, 10 little dinosaurs go stomp, stomp stomp" and they kick their feet when we say stomp.
Next we do independent swims for ages 2+ years old with their Orca swim trainers on & sometimes sing "this is the way we paddle, paddle" for arm movement & "this is the way we blow our bubbles" and "this is the way we kick our feet" to entice practicing the skill sets learnt.
With the younger children the same songs can be used in the Anchor Hold whilst encouraging their independent swims.
Safety skills or diving down or independent play on the steps/shallows are next which any song they like to be added. For example, the Safety skills (side work and teaching your child what to do if they fell in or got pushed in - what they immediate response would be) the song "Humpty Dumpty" can be used with a cue 1,2,3 after saying "had a great fall".
Our last group song is a goodbye song which is still themed.
This week we had the butterfly song:
This is a great way to get the children prepared to end their session.
Flutter around - move round in a circle
Touch the ground - go under water with cue (if want to)
Fly so free - jiggle or any movement
Land on me - jump
Reach the sky - throw or put above head
Say good bye - wave
I give announcements if needed now then:
We sing this song right at the end of the swim session. We also sign each of the animals.
The children (& adults) really enjoy their swim sessions with the songs incorporated. With the 15 highlighted benefits stated above you can see why it's really useful to learn as many as you can to enhance your time in the water.
If you are looking for swim sessions in Worcestershire (Droitwich), UK please contact me anytime to see what sessions are available to you.
If you would like to purchase our NEW learn to swim aid - The Orca swim trainer we have a pre-order sale ending very soon. Get your very own here.