You can do your best to bring your children on a memorable vacation but so often it is the time spent at the hotel pool that elicits the most squeals of joy! Even during a recent trip to Disney World, my six year old would insistently request the chance to go swimming every afternoon.
This age is not merely content to lounge pool side with a book like I would prefer! Rather than spend that water time like a mama monkey with her babies clinging to her neck & back, I found it helpful to be prepared with some easy and portable games & challenges to keep me more engaged with our play.
1. Swim class practice: We start our pool sessions with a quick review of all the things she’s recently learned in swim class: back float, kicks, turning from back to front, etc. She loves to show off her moves with a rapt audience.
2. Safety check: Before doing more splashy games we make a habit to look at the hotel pool rules, they are all different. We’ll approach a lifeguard for clarification particularly on whether it’s ok to jump in from the side, one of her favorite activities but also one of the most frowned on in certain areas.
3. Multi-tasking rings: By far our favorite games involve the same single set of pool toys: the Maritime Mates Sink & Seek Rings. I love how flat and packable they are for slipping into a suitcase and then a tote bag for the pool.
- Target practice: Have your child stand on the edge of the pool, toss a ring out into the water and then try to jump & land as close to the ring as possible. Perfect for encouraging more enthusiastic jumps.
- Toe grippers: While the parent counts out loud to 30 or 60 seconds, see how many rings your child can pick up from the bottom of the pool using nothing but toes and feet. Perfect for kids too nervous to do the traditional pool diving.
- Hide and seek: Quiet pool, no other little playmates? You can still play hide and seek solo! While the child sits safely on the edge of the pool with eyes closed, the parent spreads out the rings in the pool for the child to hunt. Mix this up with different rules: Must use doggy paddle from ring to ring. Must back float for 30 seconds after finding each ring. Keep it silly or make it a playful version of swim class practice.
- Fetch: I’m not kidding at all when I say my daughter LOVES to pretend she’s a puppy and play Fetch in the pool. I’ll toss a ring in a safe direction and she’ll doggy paddle over to retrieve it. She paddles back with the ring in her mouth and is ready for more. Sometimes it really is the simple things, isn’t it??