For me October has to be the best month of the year. Yes the weather is getting cooler and shops think it is necessary to bring out Christmas products as soon as the children get back to school. One smallish event that they are forgetting is that Halloween is before Christmas and whilst not so popular here in the UK unlike the US, Halloween is actually a lot of fun. My friends tease me that I’m ever so slightly obsessive about Halloween (I even had a Halloween themed wedding), but there are so many different aspects of it that can appeal to a wide ranging audience that it can be suitable for all ages.
A few years ago, I saw on the STA website that they had written a Halloween themed plan for a swimming lesson and it has inspired me to do the same. The main piece of equipment that will be extremely useful is the woggle. You can use a woggle to be your magic wand and turn all your swimmers into frogs or toads, which can be the basis for a lesson on breaststroke. Staying with breaststroke, the arm action could be described as going round the cauldron and through the cauldron. Woggles can be used as broomsticks, so children can sit astride the “broomstick” and pretend to be Harry Potter racing up and down the pool against Draco Malfoy. Broomsticks can also be used to jump into the pool (same position as before) – how far can the children jump? Woggles can be made into witches’ hats (see the last fortnight’s blog), which could be used as goals for a game of water polo or more precisely, Quidditch.
Instead of mushroom floats, swimmers could curl up into pumpkin floats and then pretend to be a pumpkin rolling (somersaults). Floating on their backs, they could use their imagination to count how many witches or wizards are flying past. Using small clean balls (but not small enough they could be accidently swallowed) to replace apples, a game of apple bobbing could encourage little ones to get their faces in the water. If you wanted to splash out a bit, you could have a watery trick or treat session where the children swim to set points in the swimming pool and collect sweets (or small balls that could be exchanged at the end of the lesson). Usually for my own swimmers, I encourage them to scoop ice cream into their tummies when learning front paddle, but of course, this could be Halloween sweets, ghost collecting, frogs’ spawn – make it as fun and as gruesome as you like!
It is worth mentioning that not all parents will approve of a Halloween themed lesson, so a little fore warning might be sensible. If you do have any questions to answer, just explain that the lesson is to encourage the children to develop their imagination to enhance their enjoyment of the swimming lessons and in no way is it being seen as having religious undertones.