This is a good summer theme day as a lead up for a planned family visit to a local outdoor pool or maybe even a water park but it could also be done any time of year when  you plan on taking your family to a pool.

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



There is a children’s song called “In the Swimming Pool.”  Check here for lyrics and actionshttp://www.lyricsdownload.com/unknown-swimming-in-the-swimming-pool-lyrics.html 

Another good song for this theme day is Dire Strait’s  “Twisting by the Pool.”




You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “swimming coloring page” or print out my Swimming Colouring Page.



Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  Do you like to swim? Why/why not?  What do you like about swimming?  When you next take swimming lessons what skill would you like to work on or improve?

 Choose the level of your child:


¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer.

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about swimming.



Print out my Swimming Word Search:


 Easy Swimming Word Search or Difficult Swimming Word Search.


Check here for the answer keys:


 Easy Swimming Word Search Key or Difficult Swimming Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about swimming.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about swimming.


Go to the library on your own to find swimming books to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “swimming” under “children’s books”).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Here are some picture books about swimming:


· Don’t be Afriad, Little Pip, by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009—A small penguin named Little Pip does not want to swim, instead she wants to fly.


· Froggy Learns to Swim, by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiwicz, Viking, 1995 – Froggy’s adventures continue in this book when he is afraid to swim but his mother teaches him a little song to help him learn.


· Mermaid Queen: A True Story, by Shana Corey and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, Scholastic Press, 2009—Ths is a great book to empower girls as it highlights the true story of Australia Annette Kellerman who learned to swim  as a child when a doctor told recommended it to strengthen her legs.  She later raced and travelled around the world to encourage women athletes by showcasing diving and her invention water ballet, plus she basically invented the modern bathing suit when she was arrested in Boston for donning her more athletic and practical suit amongst the heavily clad lady swimmers of the day.


· Sink or Swim, story by Valerie Coulman and pictures by Rogé, Lobster Press, 2003—Ralph the cow is determined to prove that cows can indeed swim.


· Swimming Sal, written by Carol Molski and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma, Eerdmans Books for Young readers, 2009—Sal is the only dog from Hilltop Farm who has not won a medal.  She longs to join the girl’s swim team to show everyone what a great swimmer she is.


· A Treasure at Sea for Dragon and Me: Water Safety for Kids (and Dragons), by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Martine Gourbault, kids Can Press, 2005 – This rhyming book follows a little girl and her friend dragon as they go on a day trip to the beach with her dad.  As they pretend to be pirates numerous water safety rules are illustrated and at the end of the story there is a summary poem and additional hints/ rules for adults to share with kids.


· Tuck in the Pool, story and pictures by Martha Weston, Clarion Books, 1995 – Tuck the Pig does not want to go to his swim lessons but by taking his lucky rubber spider Snyder along he gains the courage to try.


Here are some non-fiction books about swimming:


· How to Improve at Swimming, by Paul Mason, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2008—For kids serious about swimming this book covers all the basic strokes using photographs.


· A Kid’s Guide to Staying safe Around Water, by Maribeth Boelts, PowerKids Press, 1997—Featureing a photograph for each page this book is a good introduction to water safety and is a good easy reader book as well.


· The Olympic Sports: Swimming, diving, and Other Water Sports, by Jason Page, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2008— full of lots of photographs and neat Olympic and swimming facts this is a great book to introduce competitive water sports.  It is slightly outdated now only in that it was written prior to the Beijing Olympics and thus mentions Mark Spitz as the record holder for swimming medals instead of Michael Phelps.


· Swimming in Action, created by Bobbie  Kalman, written by John Corrsingham & Niki Walker and illustrated by Bonna Rouse, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003 – This is a thorough little book with a lot of information but not overwhelming text.  It has both photographs and illustrations and looks at the basics of swimming in a pool such as water safety, warm ups, controlled breathing, treading water and other strokes, and even suggests some water games at the back.


· The Young Swimmer, by Jeff Rouse, Stoddart, 1997—US Olympic gold medallist Jeff Rouse presents young readers with all sorts of swimming information: history, basic equipment, and many different swimming strokes with clear photographs to help any swimmer improve.





Materials: two pieces of white paper to paint on per child, coloured paints and paint brushes, container of water and paper towels, waxed paper to put paint on as a palate, newspaper or plastic to cover the table, old clothes or art smocks to wear.


Step 1:  Have your child paint one sheet of paper blue (you can suggest mixing some white in the blue paint to give the blue different shades of blue).

Step 2: On the other sheet of paper have your child paint a self portrait in a bathing suit ready to swim (let your child take a look at his/her bathing suit before hand for a more accurate portrait).

Step 3: Let each painted sheet dry.

Step 4: Help your child cut out the self portrait.

Step 5: Let your child glue the self portrait onto the blue paper as if he/she is swimming in blue water.




NOTE: This craft can actually be used as a toy pool for action figures and small dolls.


Materials: Empty shoe box, coloured paper and white glue OR paints (with brushes,, a jar of water, waxed paper to put paint on, and old clothes to wear),  newspapers or a plastic table cloth to protect the table, waxed paper,  a small piece of cardboard, blue tissue paper, child safe scissors, a pencil, clear tape, a damp cloth for sticky fingers.


**Read over


Step 1: Let your child decorate the outside of the shoe box by gluing coloured paper around it or by painting it in many or one colour.  You could also paint the inside of the box blue as we did for more of a water effect.

Step 2: Cut the blue tissue paper into small squares (about 1 ½ inches or 3 cm across).

Step 3: Show your child how to wrap a square of tissue paper around the pencil eraser and then dip the tissue into white glue (poured onto waxed paper).

Step 4: Press the folded pieces of tissue paper into the inside of the shoe box so they look like blue waves.

Step 5: Fold a small piece of cardboard (cut into a rectangle) so that it fits along the edge of the box and tape it into place to be a diving board.

Step 6: Let the box glue and then let your children use it as a swimming pool for action figures and dolls.




Serve up some fish crackers for a quick snack (also portable enough to take on a field trip to the swimming pool)

Make some blue yogurt by adding blue food colouring to vanilla yogurt to create mini swimming pools to dip some fresh fruit in (like strawberries and bananas).



Make some “Dogs in a Towel“ (aka pigs in a blanket) by wrapping hotdogs in refrigerated crescent rolls and cooking them in the oven.

In honour of swimming fish another option for this theme day is  tuna or salmon sandwiches  - mix a can of tuna/salmon with mayonnaise, dill and lemon juice or mix the can with yogurt, ranch dressing and shredded carrots for a different twist.



Make some blue Jello (like blue waves in a swimming pool) for a swimming treat.




Print out my Family Brainstorm: Pool Rules/Water Safety Worksheet and as a family discuss safety rules for when you are around a swimming pool or anywhere near water.  If you need help coming up with some ideas check out the websites listed below.



Have your child to make a poster using crayons and markers about one of the rules brainstormed in the above activity.  Help your child write out the words if he/she isn’t old enough to do it on his/her own.



Thank you to Michael and his swim instructor Mary from Huntsville, Alabama for recommending this link to Swimming Safety Tips, Resources and More: http://safestars.org/swimming-safety/

This is a great site with interactive games, a downloadable colouring and activity booklet, a safety song to review water rules: http://www.splashzoneusa.com/home.html

Look here for hints on how to stay safe around water: http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/out/water.html




Play these games while in a swimming pool:




Q: What did the tree wear to go swimming in the ocean?

A: Swimming trunks.



Who’s there?


Anita who?

Anita take some swimming lessons.



Who’s there?


Juana who?

Juana go swimming?





Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find any shows that deal with swimming or water.


Try these titles if you can find them:


· Kipper: Pools, Parks and Picnics, Hit Entertainment, 2003


· Timon and Pumbaa’s SafetySmart: In the Water!, Disney Education Productions


Here are some fishy titles that might work for this theme day:


· The Little Mermaid


· Finding Nemo - as Dory the fish sings “just keep swimming.”




Go to your local pool (indoor or outdoor) or plan a bit field trip to a water park or the ocean or a lake (if your lucky enough to live water) for a day.


If you have a little blow up pool for your backyard or balcony fill it up with water for some splashy fun on a hot day.

Be safe around a pool!


My son’s swimming self portrait

(Age 8)

My son’s swimming self portrait

(Age 3)

Shoebox Swimming Pool Craft

Poster for Water Safety

Swimming in the ocean.

Photo: C. Wright

Photo: Larry K