My youngest has always been a water baby.
He never cried at bath time. (He made a huge mess with all the splashing instead.)
He is always the first to jump in the deep-end at a pool party.
And now that we have our own pool, I can see the difference it makes in his overall sensory system. He is calmer and will actually ask to go in the water when he is feeling overwhelmed (and all the sensory moms said, “Amen!”).
When we made the decision to move next door last month, our number one reason for doing so was the pool.
My oldest has arthritic joints and the pool is a perfect way for him to comfortably stretch and exercise. I have already shared the impact it has on my youngest.
The only problem? The pool takes up so much of the backyard, we were not able to bring our trampoline with us.
Our trampoline. Our secret to getting days back on track and actually moving while learning. Gone.
We are saving up to buy a smaller, easier to fit in the corner model, but in the meantime, it’s clear that I need a substitute for interactive learning, especially now, as we are transitioning back to school.
The obvious choice? Find ways to incorporate the pool into our learning activities.
Friday Fun-days: 52 weeks of Easy For Mom Activities
For this week’s Friday FunDay activity, my son and I spent time creating and actually doing as many learning activities we could think of in the pool.
The following are our combined best ideas.
Poolside Learning Activities (for the child who never wants to leave the water!)
Pool Jumps, Laps and Spelling Practice
My son was the one who suggested this one. He likes to move while he thinks about how to spell words. (He pretty much likes to move in general, but does really well with rote memorization if he can move while practicing. He says it helps him think.)
In our practice, he jumped and pushed off the bottom of the pool as he spelled the words aloud. In another activity, he simply floated on a pool floaty and kicked his feet while “thinking” of how to spell the word.
Both worked well and allowed him some movement and fun while he learned.
Sidewalk Chalk Answers
Similar to our former trampoline activities, this one was an easy hit. I wrote the answers to various questions or math problems around the side of the pool. Then, I asked him the question and he swam to or jumped-in near the correct answer.
This was super easy, although I had to re-write often as the splashes washed away the chalk.
Floats and Hula Hoops
We used the same basic premise as above, but used our circular floats as the designated answers. This worked well for multiple choice questions. A, B, C, and D were all labeled and he either swam, or jumped into the correct answer/float.
I imagine hula hoops would also work, and be a little easier to jump through, but I will need to purchase a few to try.
Beach Balls and Sight Words
There are a couple of ways that we used beach balls in our activities. The first is writing sight words in permanent marker and throwing the ball back and forth, reading the sight word facing you when you catch it. The second uses the same rings as above. Instead of jumping into a hula hoop or floating ring, my son threw the beach ball through the circle representing the correct answer.
My son loves the pool. It’s that simple. Why not use it to make learning fun?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.