The family that swims together stays together! This isn’t exactly how the adage goes but in more ways than one, swimming is an excellent bonding activity among families. In a world where things sometimes tend to be hectic, finding the luxury of time to spend with your kids is often challenging. Worse, your parent-child relationship may be compromised, and before you know it, you’ve missed so many chances of spending time, especially with your children.
If you fail to grab the many chances of spending time with your children doing nothing but just having fun, this is your sign. Why not start to plan a family trip? A trip to a swimming pool nearby sounds inviting, right?
There is something about swimming pools that makes everybody happy. Young and old, everybody just loves these outdoor fun recreational sites. Maybe it’s the weather? The water? Or just the pool’s general atmosphere. Nevertheless, there’s something very liberating about swimming that somehow makes everyone feel like we are at one with the elements.
Apart from all those, what makes this outdoor leisure an amazing activity for the whole family? Here are some of them.
Laughs and Splashes. Make memories with your entire family through a bonding activity that involves everyone! In the advent of technology where everybody can just sit in a nook and entertain themselves alone playing games or browsing through social media, it’s a challenge to pin an outdoor activity that is fun and enjoyable for everybody, no matter what the age is.
Swimming pools are the perfect venues not only for the kids but also for adults. Want to tag along with your close neighbors too? Why not! Simply swimming around the pool, playing games, splashing, laughing, giggling, or just casually lounging can bring your whole family unit a lot closer. And even if you are just floating around, family swimming days will always become one of your most unforgettable moments.
Water Sports are Fun. We have all been there. We went to a swimming pool resort, we saw a family from afar having the best times of their lives, and suddenly, we just wished we could join in the fun. Undeniably, water sports are fun. There are a lot of games you can enjoy with your whole family while enjoying the pool! You can have balloon games, ball games, tags, you name it, your options are endless.
Health Benefits. If you find yourself dealing with lazy family members who would rather binge-watch their favorite Netflix series or play mobile games instead of getting more physically active once in a while, then swimming is the answer. Swimming is not an exercise per se, but your body will naturally use different muscles as you move when you swim. Aside from preparing fun games during your trip, make sure to pack snacks and healthy meals so all your family members will stay motivated to practice a healthy lifestyle.
Swimming Contest. This is especially fun if your family members are very competitive. A few friendly swimming competitions can add more spice to your fun day at the pool. And since the winner will get the bragging rights for the week, imagine the fun that stretches that long even when you’re at home already.
Swimming Together as a Family: The Benefits
Among the many types of fun and recreational pastime activities, swimming will always be one of many’s top choices. Apart from the evident physical benefits, this outdoor activity helps families create a more solid bond among its members. In recent years, swimming as a pastime is popularly increasing. It’s no wonder we see outdoor resorts sprouting everything!
You can swim throughout the year, no matter the season. So why wait, when you can go out and take your family with your swimming and enjoy the benefits below.
Swimming Boosts your Sociability and Teamwork. When you take your whole family out swimming, everybody acquires teamwork skills. For example, you can pass the techniques you learned from your PE teacher to your children. This grows your communication and tutoring skills. You can adapt these skills and apply them to your workplace. And since you’ve been using these skills with your children, it’s easier and more comfortable for you to teach something to your co-workers.
Additionally, swimming in public areas boosts your social skills. Why? Because when you swim, you are likely to come across other people you don’t personally know. When you interact with them, this teaches you and your family how to live with others.
Swimming Minimizes Stress. Just because it’s a physical activity doesn’t mean it will physically add more stress on you. On the contrary, it can even help minimize it. In today’s hectic and busy daily livelihood, stress will likely catch up on you. And this does not exempt kids too because schoolwork can also stress them at some point. Thankfully, studies revealed that swimming could help mitigate anxiety, stress, and even depression.
When you swim, your body will produce a hormone called serotonin. This hormone affects your moods and initiates hippocampal neurogenesis. When you are too stressed, this hippocampus shrinks. Thankfully, swimming can effectively promote hippocampus growth by increasing the oxygen flow into the brain.
Your Family Will Understand and Learn Tips for Safety Swimming. Although it provides a lot of benefits, swimming is a risky activity. True enough, this is the number one leading cause of accidental deaths among the youth and infants. When you swim together with the family, you get your young members familiar with the common safety swimming practices.
Swimming Helps you Keep Fit. This is perhaps the most obvious benefit. Swimming is an effective way to keep you and your family healthy and fit. In this day and age, our eating culture has significantly caused weight management because so many people find it difficult to regulate their body mass index. Putting on too much weight burdens you and poses many adverse health and social impacts.
Because swimming is a physically intensive activity, it can help burn up all those unnecessary calories. When regularly done, this can help regulate your weight. Additionally, swimming also tones your muscle, giving you a more aesthetic and athletic look that many people will admire.
Swimming is an Important Skill. According to Red Cross, 54% of the total population across the US either can’t swim or aren’t skilled in it. Interestingly, a good portion of this number though they cannot learn swimming at their age. In reality, swimming is open to everyone, no matter the age bracket.
While accidents are unwelcomed, this doesn’t mean it’s not likely to happen. In some instances, swimming skills may prove more crucial when saving lives or properties. Thus, it’s best to undergo a few swimming sessions with the whole family. Equip everyone with the fundamental skill of swimming. Furthermore, small children who start taking swimming classes at a young age are expected to become experts in the future.
Swimming Will Help Create a Solid Bond. In most cases, kids are busy with school, and parents are often too caught up with work. Over time, the “busy-ness” of everyone involved creates a gap in the family. Swimming effectively makes up for it!
Now that we have understood the benefits and importance of swimming, it’s time to head out to your nearest water park. Besides preparing meals, it’s also important that you have fun things to do during your day out. Here are 21 super-fun activities to do by the pool.
1. Atomic Whirlpool
How it works. Gather the players inside the pool and have them line up in a single-file line along the edge of the pool. Tell them to walk around the edge. After about 30 seconds of walking, let them jog. Another 30 seconds more, tell them to start running. At this point, there should be a current strong enough to pull them along. Next, instruct them to stop and, this time, walk in the other direction. This is where the fun becomes better, as moving against the current is very challenging.
2. Volleyball and Basketball
You need a basketball/volleyball and a net or hoop for this game. This game can either be played one-on-one or by a team. Volleyball and basketball are fun to play in court, and they are even more fun when you play them in the pool. And the most interesting part? You can have it as organized (or not) as you wish. Create a team, make a score, and simply have fun shooting hoops or hitting the balls. Regardless, these games will surely be a great hit.
3. Bumper Balls
Prepare a beach ball and a rope or cord for this game. To play, secure the rope across one section of the pool. Give every player a beach ball. The moment you say “go,” the players will use their balls to bum one another into the rope. A player that touches the rope is “out,” and the last man standing wins.
4. Belly Flop Contest
Each player simply takes a plunge in the pool, showing off their loudest, biggest, and most weird belly flop. The one who has the most applause for the belly flop wins! For this game, always observe safety first. Exercise caution when jumping or diving into the pool.
5. Crocodile Hunter
Prepare inflatable crocodiles and hula hoops (one for each player) in this game. Inflate the crocs and place them in the pool. Each player should have a hula hoop. The goal here is to catch the croc by “ringing” its tail or head. If somebody tries to snare the reptile, he must climb onto the back and quickly race to the shallow portion of the pool. The player that completes the task the fastest wins.
6. Cardboard Boat Race
For this game, prepare cardboard boxes, scissors, packing tape, colored papers, markers, and stickers. Create teams and hand each team the materials. Give them at least an hour to make use of the supplies to build their most seaworthy and creative cardboard board. The more creative, the better! They can name their boat to make it even more interesting. After the given time, the teams will then put their boats in the pool. The one that stays the longest wins afloat.
This is just similar to the basketball game H-O-R-S-E. In this game, the first player will do a task that the other players must repeat. For instance, if he does a cartwheel underwater, the remaining players must also attempt to do it. The player that cannot do the task earns the first letter of the word FISH. The first player who spells the full word first loses.
8. Duck Push
Prepare rubber ducks for this game, one per player. Hand each player one duck each and advise them to go to the one end of the pool. Upon signal, the players must “push” the duck towards the other end of the pool, sans the hands. They can either use their noses, bump the rubber ducky with water, or even blow on it. Whatever the technique, the goal is to keep the duck moving quickly and race to the other end of the pool.
9. Floatie Race
For this pool game, you need pool rafts or floaties, one for each player. Make sure you choose the type big enough to sit on. To play, tell the players to hop on their floaties and make a line at one end of the pool. When the referee says “go,” the players must race to the other part of the pool. Those who fall off their floaties are disqualified.
10. Follow the Leader
Choose a player to be the leader and another one to be the watcher. The leader stands in the center of the pool, the watcher goes somewhere where he can see everybody, while the rest places themselves behind the leader. When the watcher says, “go,” the leader will then start to swim. He can do anything he wants: swim underwater, make a dog paddle, or do a backstroke, to name a few. All the players have to imitate the leader exactly. The watcher pays attention to the player and picks someone who doesn’t do what the leader does. The one who fails to follow the leader gets eliminated.
The players that are eliminated have to exit the pool. The one remaining is declared the winner and becomes the new leader for the next game.
11. Freeze Tag
This is the modified version of the usual freeze tag and is best played in the shallower part of the pool. That way, all the players can still stand with their heads above the water. Select a player to be “it.” The “it” then attempts to tag as many players as he can. Those who are tagged should stand frozen like a popsicle, with both hands straight up in the air, until another player “thaws” the frozen player by swimming between his/her legs. As a rule, the “it” is not allowed to tag underwater.
12. Frozen T-shirt Contest
For this game, you need two (or several) frozen t-shirts. Take note that it takes a few hours to freeze a shirt, so it’s best to plan this. Wet the shirts, fold them and then pop them in the freezer about a day or two before playing. The game is pretty simple: the team or player that thaws their shirt the quickest and puts the shirt on wins the game. Tell the teams that they can use any method to thaw the shirt: the swimming pool, garden hose, or even hot pavement.
13. Marco Polo
This game is for two or more players. Assign a player to be the “it.” The “it” is blindfolded and counts to a certain number. As he counts, the other players then scatter around the pool. After the count is done, the “it” will try to tag the other players just by listening and following the voices they make. When the “it” says “Marco,” all the other players must respond “Polo.” The “it” then uses these voices to tag another player. When he finds one, that player becomes the new “it,” and the game starts again.
For this game, prepare a clear 2-liter soda bottle, label removed, cap intact. Fill the bottle with pool water and tightly close it. The players should be in two teams, with each team on opposing sides of the pool, facing away from the water. Once everybody is settled, throw the water bottle into the pool. The moment the teams hear the splash, they can turn around and find the bottle. Since the bottle is clear and blends in the pool, it becomes almost invisible to the naked eye. The team then finds the bottle first, wins.
15. Noodle Joust
Prepare one pool floaties/raft and two pool noodles for this game. Select two players and have them ride on the pool raft, with a pool noodle on each, before you push them on the middle portion of the pool. Once secure, let the noodle joust begin. Both the players will joust with the noodles until one is finally knocked off of the pool floaties. The remaining one on the floatie wins!
Start by assigning an “it” and have him/her stand in the middle area of the pool. Tell the other players to form a line on one side of the pool, and swim from one side to the other, and the “it” chases and tries to tag them. Those who are tagged will hold hands with the “it.” On the next round, the tagged players will tag the swimmers as these swimmers attempt to swim to the other end. Do this until all the remaining players are tagged.
17. Chicken Fight
The more players for this game, the better. The grown-ups have to hoist the kids up while pushing other kids on somebody else’s shoulder. The goal is to make the other kid fall in the water. The last pair standing in the end wins.
18. Mr. Shark’s Dinner Time
This game is a variation of another kid’s game called Mr. Wolf Game. The rules are the same, but this time, the game is played in the water. You need at least ten players for this game. One kid will be the shark and will stand at the end of the pool, facing away from the water. The remaining kids will also stand at a distance in the pool. They then ask the shark for some time. The shark can turn around anytime, and when he does, the other kids have to stop moving. The one that touches the other first wins the game.
19. Scavenger Race
This is a variation of the classic treasure hunt game—only it has a time element. To start, put together some plastic sticks as the kids stand by the pool’s edges. Throw the sticks right in the middle of the pool and have the kids rush to get them. The one who brings back the most sticks in the quickest time wins.
This game is perfect if you have small inflatable rings or boats. The rule is simple. All the players will sit in their inflatable raft as they move around the pool. The goal is to push the other player off of his raft. The last one remaining on the raft wins the game.
Minding Your Kid’s Safety in the Pool
Many kids, especially toddlers, are very eager to check out the surroundings around them. Most of the time, they are attracted to water. It ripples, it splashes, it shines, and it even makes things float! However, these tiny balls of adventure don’t understand just how dangerous water can be. As parents, you need to create layers of protection so your little kids will remain safe. How do you do that?
- Secure and fence your swimming pool. Experts suggest that fencing pools can help prevent more than half of all drownings of young kids. A fence on all four sides must surround swimming pools (including those massive inflatable above-ground pools) and temporary pools. The fence must be at least 4-feet high, with no opening between the slats more than four inches wide.
- Have your pool completely separate and away from your house. If you can, have a self-latching and self-closing gate that opens away from the swimming pool. The latch has to be 54 inches from the ground.
- Keep your gate locked at all times and once in a while, check it to make sure it works. All toys must be kept away from the pool area when they are not in use so that kids won’t be tempted to wiggle their way into the pool during the non-swim time.
- Remove or fence backyard water hazards. This included fountains, birdbaths, and ponds. Although these are aesthetically pleasing, it’s best to hold off using or installing them until your kid is older. Well, drainage ditches and wells should also be fenced to keep your child from accessing them.
- Be wary of your kids. Do not let them go outside unnoticed. You can use safety gates, doorknob covers, and door locks to keep your toddlers from going outside unnoticed. Also, make sure that the other family members know and practice closing the door behind them. That way, the younger kids won’t follow them outside.
- Make it a habit to empty your water containers right after using. Do not leave a filled, open-top container unattended. When these are not in use, make sure you empty any liquids in the container. This includes pails and buckets used for painting, coolers with melted ice, wading pools, large water bowls for pets, or recycling or trash bins that can collect rainwater.
- Keep an eye on your children when they’re in or around water! Give them your undivided attention. This is very important because we tend to get distracted with so many things like yard work, books, or cellphones.
Spending time with your family in a leisure park such as swimming pools is a good way to bond with each member. With all the fun games, the good food, and the lasting memories worth keeping, this outdoor activity will always be one of the best ways to spend time with your family.
You may also like to check out our choices for the 5 Best Above Ground Pools for Kids.