Make a Splash with Fun Pool Activities!
It’s summertime! The warm sun has arrived, and it is time to look for ways to cool off! The pool is a great environment to have fun while increasing strength, balance, coordination, endurance and more! The properties of water can help decrease the weight of a child, making activities that are challenging on land, easier in the water. Water can also add resistance for strengthening. Overall, the pool is a great environment for fun and therapy!
Below are a few suggestions of activities to try this summer while at the pool:
Activities in the pool:
- Jumping around: Kids can practice all types of jumping in the pool. Jumping into the pool, jumping forward, jumping on 1 foot, and jumping jacks, to name a few.
- Standing on 1 leg: Challenge the kids to a “flamingo contest” by seeing who can stand on 1 foot for longer.
- Stairs: Often times there are stairs into the water. If a child needs to practice the stairs, encourage them to use the stairs to get into and out of the water.
- Play catch: There are lots of fun water toys that can be used for throwing and catching. It’s also fun to throw something and have a friend or family member dive for it.
- Walking or running: Water adds a lot of resistance. Simply walking or running around the water is a challenge and great for strengthening and endurance.
Activities with pool noodles:
- Kicking with the pool noodle under the arms or stomach: To complete this activity, a child must hold their head upright out of the water. This is great for postural strength. Play games, like tag, to increase motivation to keep going.
- Sitting on the pool noodle like a horse or like a chair: Both of these positions require the trunk muscles to work to maintain balance without falling. When a child gets good at this, increase the challenge by trying to play catch.
- Vary the texture of pool noodles: For children who do not like various textures, try finding pool noodles that are different textures to increase their exposure to different types of feelings.
Activities with pool rafts:
- Children can sit, kneel, or crawl on the rafts. The water creates an uneven or unstable surface, so it is a great activity for balance and strength. Encourage reaching or other fun games to increase the challenge.
Did you know that TheraPLACE Learning Center offers aquatic therapy at Home of the Innocents? They have a therapy pool that is 92 degrees. Aquatic therapy uses the properties of water to specifically target goals that the children are practicing. The water can help relax muscles for those who have tight muscles or increased tone. It can also help provide increased compression and proprioceptive input, which can be helpful for those with decreased body awareness or who have sensory concerns. The water provides a motivating environment for increasing strength, balance, coordination, endurance, body awareness, to name a few. If you are interested in aquatic therapy, talk to your therapist!
The summer is a wonderful time to focus on therapy skills in fun environments since children are out of school. Get creative with different water games. Think of games that you used to play, and teach them to your children. If you would like more specific suggestions, talk to your therapist!