Halloween Swimming

Halloween Swimming Lessons

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!

Spider And Cobweb

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.

Halloween Pumpkin

Woggle Building

Woggle Shark

A good swimming teacher requires an active imagination.  A good swimming teacher (after reading this blog) could potentially need to become a good architect/builder!  Not with bricks and mortar I hasten to add, but with tubes of foam otherwise affectionately known as woggles or noodles.

A single woggle can provide hours of fun and be so versatile as discussed in the last fortnight’s blog and children get a lot of pleasure of choosing their favourite colour for their swimming lesson and they definitely brighten up a swimming lesson.  But have you considered using more than one woggle?  Shortening them, lengthen them, connecting them together?  Admittedly, I hadn’t until I started researching on the Internet for a woggle blog and the possibilities are limitless, as long as your imagination is too.

Woggle Cutter
Connectors And Cutters For Woggles
Hula Hoop Twister

I have come across a company based in America called “Canoodle” that sells building kits made up of various connectors and a slicing tool especially designed for cutting woggles to the required length.  Canoodle also sell woggles, which have a hollow centre so that the connectors can be inserted; all equipment sold is designed to float and is UV resistant.  The company’s main aim is to encourage imaginative play both in and out of the swimming pool.

So the question is what can be made using woggles for a swimming lesson?  How about a water polo goal?  One goal only requires three woggles and two connectors.  You can also make the ball out of woggles and very quickly; a lesson on water polo comes to life.  Children love animals and it is possible to build a shark and encourage young swimmers that they are on an aquatic safari.  Or if you have little ones that might be scared of even a pretend shark, you could build a gigantic noughts and crosses set.  Sometimes children might need dry side lessons to help them get used to the idea of swimming lessons.  Woggle constructions could introduce the children to the equipment used and what it can be used for.  Quite simply the possibilities are endless.

Woggle Ball
Woggle Goal
Woggle Castle

Of course you don’t have to buy specialised equipment, you could just use a sharp blade and gaffer tape to put your creations together.  However, gaffer tape can be a pain to take off and can leave a nasty residue and damage the woggles; at least with the connectors, the constructions will come apart quickly and be sturdy whilst in use.  For more ideas visit: www.canoodlestore.com.