As the Arizona heat continues to rise this summer, most of us will want to jump in the water! The pool is a fantastic place not only for fun and play but also for kiddos to get stronger. As always, it is very important to have adult supervision when playing in or near a pool! Here are 5 exercises to try with your kids at the pool this summer:
- Sitting on a pool noodle: helps to improve balance and core strength
- Have your child sit by straddling the pool noodle similarly to riding a horse
- Staying close by, challenge them to maintain their balance without allowing their feet to touch the ground
- Another way they can sit on the pool noodle is as if they are sitting on a normal swing at the park.
- Again, remaining close by, challenge your child to maintain their balance without using their hands or feet for support.
2. Walking along the side of the pool using only their hands: Helps to improve upper extremity strength.
- Make sure the pool deck isn’t too hot for their hands
- Have your child hold onto the outer rim of the pool while the rest of their body is in the pool
- Using only their hands, have them move along the rim of the pool
3. Jumping jacks: Helps to improve both upper and lower extremity strength while improving coordination
- Move to a spot in the pool where the water reaches your child’s shoulders but they can still touch the ground with their feet
- When the water is at this level on the body, it provides increased resistance
- Have your child perform jumping jacks against the resistance of the water
- A fun challenge may be seeing how many jumping jacks they can do within 30 seconds or more
4. Blast-offs: Helps to improve lower extremity strength
- Hold your child so they are floating on their back
- Have them place their feet on the side of the pool
- Have them bend their knees as much as they can
- Countdown from 3 and allow them to push off the side of the pool and see how far they can go as if they are “blasting off” across the surface of the pool
5. Stairs: Most pools have stairs in order to get in/out of the pool. Stairs can help with single leg balance, lower extremity strength, balance, and coordination.
- Have your child practice walking up/down the stairs to get in/out of the pool
- They may use the railing if needed, but try to challenge them to ascend/descend the stairs without their hands!
- You may also place toys at the top of the stairs to go and get each time they ascend/descend.
- Kids can try standing on 1 leg on the underwater stairs without floating away
We hope these 5 pool activities can help make the hot summer days more interactive and fun for you and your children! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at TEAM 4 Kids. Have a safe summer!
Kayleen Laurendi PT, DPT, ATC