Tag Archives: lockdown

How to Get the Most Out of Bath Time During Lockdown

With our swimming pools having been closed due to lockdown, the opportunity to work on our swimming skills has been somewhat limited. However, the silver lining in this situation is that there is a whole world of practices perfect for the bath, which can have a huge effect on your children’s swimming abilities once they’re back in the pool. So… taps on! 

Breath control is a fundamental component of swimming. It’s one of the first things a swimming teacher will instruct your child on, and they will continue to reinforce it week in, week out, for their entire swimming journey.  

There is more to breathing than most of us think. The most obvious skill is to breathe in above the water, and blow out when submerged. However, the variations of this are endless, and working on this with your child during bath time is an excellent way to build and stay on top of their breathing control whilst the pool is a no-go. Also, if your little one is reluctant to submerge their face or mouth in water, the bath is a great place to work towards achieving this too. 

Children, invariably, will try things when they look fun. I’m sure you would agree that repeatedly asking a child to do something they don’t want to do, doesn’t work! As a rule of thumb, swimming should feel like something we do with our little ones, rather than something they have to do. Where possible, show them what to do, or see if you can get their siblings or your partner to help! 

It should be noted that breathing control practices, at some point, will see your child inhale or snort water. Neither are pleasant feelings, and unfortunately this is part of the journey, just like falling off of a bike. When it happens, the best thing to do is empathise with your child and don’t rush them into trying again until they feel ready. 

The activities below are mostly suitable for 3-5 year olds, and are subject to both bath size and child size. Make sure to never leave your children unattended, and of course, no diving or bombing! 

1) ‘Shopping’ – breathing control and water familiarisation, for beginner to intermediate stages. 

Equipment: Bath, water and anything that floats 

Challenge: Send the floating toy to the shop (the other end of the bath) by blowing bubbles in the water just in front of it, or simply blowing on the water for those who won’t submerge their mouths. If bubbles and blowing don’t move the toy too well, encourage your child to try nudging it with their nose.  

Progression: Challenge your child to blow at different intensities by asking them if they can make the toy move quickly? Or slowly? Can they make it move in short bursts (so short, sharp breaths with gaps in between)? Can they make it move quickly, then slowly, then quickly again? Or slowly, quickly, then slowly again? Challenge your child to move their face closer to the water, perhaps on their front, and dip their chin in the water whilst blowing or see if they can submerge their entire face whilst doing so. 

2) ‘Underwater Animals’ – breathing control, for beginner to intermediate stages. 

Equipment: Goggles 

Challenge: Challenge your child to submerge their face, with goggles, whilst you create an animal shape with your hands under the water for them to see (bird, crocodile, rabbit, lesser spotted woodpecker etc). They should then come to the surface to tell you what they saw. 

Progression: Being able to blow bubbles through their mouth whilst they watch, or blowing through their nose whilst they watch. 

3) ‘Talking to the Fish’ – breathing control, for those at intermediate stage. 

Equipment: Bath and water 

Challenge: Challenge your child to exhale through their nose, a key skill, by humming with their nose in the water (to the fish). Then, to listen to the fish’s response, submerge one of their ears into the water and let your kids tell you what they heard! 

Progression: With face submerged, with both ears submerged (so humming on front then laying back to submerge ears), with face and ears submerged on front – so humming and ‘listening’ at the same time, or any of the listed with the addition of water being poured over their head at the same time by you (this should be enjoyable!). 

4) ‘Time Challenge’ – breathing control, for those at intermediate stage. 

Equipment: Bath and water 

Challenge: Invite your child to blow bubbles for as long as they can, record the time and challenge them to beat it, explaining that making smaller bubbles (blowing out slowly) is how this will be achieved. Please note: time your child rather than inviting your child to beat a time, putting pressure on them to reach, say, 10 seconds, could compromise their control and cause them to inhale at the wrong time which will leave them coughing, spluttering and likely not wanting to try again for a while. 

Progression: Hold breath first, so no bubbles, then exhale for as long as they can thus increasing the overall submersion time. 

5) ‘Nose Mouth Nose’ – breathing control, for those at intermediate stage. 

Equipment: Bath and water 

Challenge: Challenge your child to blow out through their nose, then mouth, then nose again 

Progressions: Create as many variations of this as possible in one breath! 

6) ‘Leg Kick’ – leg kick mechanics, for those at intermediate stage. *Splash warning*! 

Equipment: Bath, water and legs 

Challenge: Challenge your child to flutter kick, whilst sitting up, keeping all of their legs except their tip toes under the water. When done properly we should push the water up with the tops of our feet, like kicking a football or flicking off your shoes. If your children can move their legs up and down rhythmically whilst making a small splash with their toes then that’s a good start. Look for we consistency, and see if they can sustain it for 3, 5, 10 seconds? 

Progressions: Challenge their rhythm. Kick… Kick… Kick… Kick. Kick.Kick.Kick.Kick. Kick……… Kick…….. Kick. Challenge them to kick 3 times with 1 leg and then 3 with the other. 

7) ‘Roll Over’ – core control and balance for those at intermediate stage and over. *Splash and potential banged knees warning*! 

Equipment: Bath (as deep as possible) and water 

Challenge: Challenge you child to roll from front to back, back to front or front to back to front again without using their arms. Ask them to keep their arms by their sides like a pencil (or carrot), so the movement happens from their core. 

Progression: If you bath is long enough or your children are short enough, have them do this with their arms extended over their head like a rocket. Have your kids turn on your command and replace the words ‘roll over’ with something entertaining like ‘coconuts’ and try and trick them with the wrong words. 

If you’ve enjoyed these breathing exercises, please let us know by commenting on this post! We’d also love to see your little ones practicing these activities, so tag us in any photos or videos @swimmingnature on Facebook and Twitter, and @swimmingnatureuk on Instagram.  

Lastly, we will be re-opening for intensive Fast-Track swimming courses from the 3rd August in selected venues, followed by site-wide Autumn Term private swimming lessons from the beginning of September. To book, please visit: https://book.swimmingnature.com. 

Top 5 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Meals For Lockdown

Whether you’re a key worker, or you’re finding yourself at home with the kids a little more recently, keeping them healthy and busy during this strange time is probably at the forefront of your mind. 

So, we thought we’d put together a list of our top 5 healthy (but tasty) meals for food inspirations, which you can make with your little ones and even your not-so-little ones! 

  1. ‘The Lockdown Special’ – Family Pasta

Pasta was probably one of the first things that we all grabbed from the supermarkets when the coronavirus became a little more serious. Not only is it something that keeps for a long time; but it is so versatile!

We think that the ‘Whole-Family Pasta with Broccoli’ recipe looks amazing. Plus ‘kid-friendly’ is like music to our ears.

But if you want more inspiration, here are some other healthy pasta dishes ideas – some are more ‘treat’ than healthy, but a little of a good thing never hurt…

Plus, you can also easily substitute any ingredient to make these recipes gluten, dairy or meat-free!

2. ‘Veggie Tater Tots 4 Ways’ 

Not only are these ‘tater tots’ (potato croquettes to most of us) super easy to make, they’re also tasty, moreish and packed full of vegetables to make sure your kids are still getting their greens during the lockdown. 

What’s more, you can choose whichever veggies you have in your cupboard or fridge and they’ll still taste great!

Or, if you ARE feeling creative, why not make these veggie potato croquettes and then see what else you can serve them with, or maybe even turn them into a casserole?

There’s even a vegan recipe here for those with intolerances, allergies or who follow a vegan lifestyle.

3. Homemade Fried Rice

Another cupboard staple, rice is amazingly versatile and with a few other tasty ingredients added, makes a family-friendly meal that’s easy to whip up.

We love this recipe because although it’s simple to follow and produces a great-tasting meal, you can play around with this one as much as you like! Depending on what you’ve got, you can add different vegetables, spices or flavours to suit you and your family’s taste buds.

Don’t have soy sauce? Try sweet chilli. Don’t have green onions? Try red peppers. The possibilities are endless…

4. Mini Savoury Muffins

These are truly one of the tastiest treats that can be made relatively simply. 

You can pack in just about any flavour combination that takes your fancy (or you know your children will like) and they taste amazing. Using cupboard staples in this way is something kids can join in with too, as the recipe is simple, fun, and who doesn’t love eating a warm savoury muffin straight from the oven?

We also highly recommend this vegan recipe too.

5. Sweet Potato Fries

Healthy chips? Who doesn’t love that idea! 

Check out this recipe for easy, tasty and definitely crispy sweet potato fries so good no one will even miss the ‘real’ thing.

Have Fun & Start Cooking

No matter what you’re making, remember to have fun! The main thing is to keep safe indoors and make sure you’re all washing your hands while handling foods. So, we hope this inspires your creativity in the kitchen!

And while you’re waiting for everything to return to normal, why not check out our award-winning swimming lessons for kids? We can’t wait to start teaching again, and if you haven’t explored what we’re all about, well there’s no better time to get to know us.

Our swimming classes for children cater to all levels, from babies and toddlers to older children. We even have private swimming lessons for adults! Just like in the kitchen, it’s never too late to learn new skills…

How To Keep Your Kids Busy And Motivated During The Lockdown

While it is a somewhat strange time in the UK at the moment, there is one constant challenge that so many of us face: how to keep our children busy and motivated indoors. To help you keep your kids busy during the lockdown, we’ve brought together some ideas and activities which we’ll share with you in this blog post!

Staying as active as possible is essential during this period of uncertainty, so we definitely recommend allocating your (one) exercise session for the day when the sun is out, the air is fresh and you can find an area where maintaining at least 6-10 feet from other people out and about is achievable.

However, for the rest of the time, why not:

Join In Virtual Read-alongs 

If you don’t have access to many books, or want something a bit more social than all your kids reading separately, why not make reading a social exercise?

Storyline Online is an award-winning children’s literacy website, which streams videos featuring a whole host of celebrities reading children’s stories, alongside creative illustrations. 

You can listen and read along with some well-loved children’s stories, read aloud by famous celebrities including Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Betty White and so many more. All these celebrities make it great for adults too, even if you’re hearing the same stories on repeat… We love the ‘Tale of Peter Rabbit’ read by Rose Byrne!

We love this particular activity, because Storyline Online is available 24 hours a day. So no matter where you are around the world, it’s ready to bring you fun, engaging stories.

We think that reading is a great skill for children of all ages to have, not only to boost not only to boost imagination skills and work on vital cognitive abilities, but reading is something that keeps on giving. 

It’s great for bringing imagination to daily tasks, which is essential at the moment!

You can encourage them to come up with characters in play, or create tasks inspired by the plot that encourage your children to sit down and think about why they enjoyed the story. 

Turn Your (One) Exercise Session Into a Game

Who said that walking had to be a chore? Why not incorporate some of the games and activities from inside the house, and take them with you when you get some fresh air?

Of course, it’s crucial that everyone sticks to the strict measures that are in place at the moment for all our safety – staying 6 – 10 feet away from other people, and only going out once a day to restrict the possibility of passing anything along to anyone who is vulnerable. 

However, while you’re out, and abiding by the rules, have fun! 

Why not bring the games that you might have played on car journeys to the paths and fields? Play Eye-Spy to keep them entertained and paying attention to their surroundings; bring along their favourite songs and turn the walk into a dance off. 

Or, turn the walk into a jog, cycle or roll and get them outside on a set of wheels if you have them – making the most of the outdoor time will not only bring freshness and excitement to the day, but it’s great for burning off that energy…

Explore Your Favourite Museums And Landmarks Virtually

There are actually many UK based tourist destinations that you can explore virtually – so why not bring the UK to your living room and show your children some of the best loved places in the country! You can see the artefacts and history at the British Museum, or do some of the learning activities from the Science Museum

Have a look at this list of the 10 best museums around the world to visit, and this selection of family-friendly virtual tours from museums that provide fun and education for all ages.

Museums are hearts of world information, packed full of great educational resources that you can easily access and turn into interactive, fun sessions that keep your kids busy while they learn about the world.

What’s more, some of the most gorgeous and awe-inspiring landmarks around the globe have virtual tours. You can explore the Taj Mahal from the sofa! Have a look at these amazing landmarks that are all open for virtual tours.

Keep Up With The Wildlife

Zoos around the UK have opened up their exhibits to people who want to enjoy all the benefits of seeing the wildlife, from the comfort of your own home! 

From seeing what the penguins are doing at Edinburgh Zoo, to some of the animals at Marwell Zoo or the meerkats at Newquay Zoo there are many wildlife exhibits that you can watch live footage from and learn about the animals while doing so. 

Why not turn the virtual tours into a wildlife lesson? See how much information about the species they can learn, or give them tasks to develop their interest and education about our natural world!

Have a look at this list of 12 animal webcams from around the world that might just make social distancing bearable…

Ditch The Screens

Making sure that we don’t rely on screens and technology to keep our children entertained is crucial, so this doesn’t become a crux or habit later in life! Taking a break from social media, virtual games, and screens in general is great for everyone.

Encouraging activities like colouring, crafting, and making with physical materials is hugely beneficial for developing creativity, and it’s always fun! What child doesn’t enjoy getting a little messy?

We’ll be posting printable sheets of our loveable Swimming Nature characters onto our Facebook page that your kids can colour in! So take a look, print them off and get crafty.

Also, why not have a look at this list of creative, crafting ideas that your children can easily try for themselves while they’re at home. We particularly love these ideas:

Print Off Worksheets For Brain Training

Home schooling is going to be critical now more than ever, with a lot of children at home for a few weeks and many parents, guardians and carers still working or working from home.

Luckily, there are thousands of free and educational resources for children of all ages! 

Free, printable worksheets for children of all ages keeps their minds and hands busy, encouraging the skills that normal classes would explore during the day so that your child isn’t missing out on any basic schooling. Plus they make learning fun!

Do you have any other ideas on how to keep your little one entertained which you think are worth sharing? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, we hope you keep safe and healthy, and most importantly, stay at home if you can.