From learning to swim to water play in the garden, water can be a fun way to cool down on a hot summer’s day or enable leisure activities and hobbies such as sailing. A gentle boat ride is a lovely way to see the world from a different angle too. Here are some ideas for getting the kids involved in some water activities and family fun.
As well as an enjoyable pastime, it is an invaluable skill to learn to swim. Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children and young people in the UK, so it is vital that they learn this skill which could save their life. Some little ones can be a bit afraid of swimming when young, so lessons from a qualified instructor and getting them used to water from little is a good idea. Most leisure centres and plenty of private companies offer sessions for all ages.
Once swimming is nailed, you can move onto other fun water activities such as diving, ball games in the pool or sea and divebombing! Synchronised swimming or competitive diving could be on the agenda in the future!
A trip to the beach is the perfect day out for the family. If the sea is too rough to go in or your little ones don’t fancy it, then a good way to interact with water is skimming stones (sometimes known as stone skipping). This is a skill it takes a bit of practice to perfect – and one that children love. How many bounces can you get your stone to do? Which is the perfect size/shape stone to use? Just watch out for a young person’s aim if they need a bit of perfecting! A good way to improve hand-eye coordination as well.
Splashing in parks
A good way to enjoy water activities on a sunny day is to go to a park with a water feature, such as fountains children can play in and try to ‘dodge’ the water when it sprays up. Or a full-on water park if you have one near you, these are amazing fun for children – and adults. Just remember to take a change of clothes and towels with you!
Live near or holiday at the coast? Bodyboards are the perfect thing for swimmers who aren’t too confident to try out in the sea, as they can hold on to them whilst kicking their legs. If somewhere like Cornwall, though, you can go bodyboarding and ride the waves, a superb way to mess around in the sea and get those endorphins going. Always take safety very seriously around water. Ensure you are always with children and stay between the red and yellow flags.
You don’t have to actually be in the water to enjoy it! Take a trip on a boat for a great day out for all the family. Get a ferry to somewhere you haven’t explored before, hire a rowing boat at a lake, take it out for an hour, rent a motorboat, or go on a mini cruise! You might be able to find an excursion to see some seals, for example, or relax on a glass-bottomed boat where the family can excitedly spot sealife together. Or go for a sail on a boat trip where you can have dinner and admire the world from a different vantage point than usual.
Water play in the garden
A simple water game can keep children amused for hours and doesn’t cost the earth. Fill up some water balloons and have a competition for who can stay dry the longest! A paddling pool or sprinklers provide hours of entertainment, and all you need is some empty cartons or containers to make the most of the water. This can be an ideal way to get young people interested in water and having fun with it if they are a bit apprehensive. Try making ‘potions’ by adding in food colouring or bubble bath and flowers. Or get children to learn to put their face in water by blowing bubbles. Even if there is not much water, always stay with your child and supervise as, unfortunately, fatal accidents can happen in just a few inches of water.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Standing or kneeling on an inflatable board and just paddling along is an amazing way to calm your mind from the fast-paced world we live in, and what better way than to be surrounded by the calming presence of water. This is a sport the whole family can enjoy, whether you do it and your children sit on the board with you or if they are a bit older, have a go themselves. You can hire stand up paddleboards from companies situated near beaches or lakes. Have a few lessons or start on a river or lake before venturing into the sea. Always take safety precautions, too; wear a buoyancy aid and carry a mobile phone in case of difficulties.
This is great for families as children can sit in a double kayak and paddle too. Again these can be hired for a period of time. As before, wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid at all times and make sure you have a means of calling for help, such as a mobile phone in a waterproof case. The app What3Words is a great one to download before you go out; it allows users to save and share their exact location – even if you’re in the middle of the sea or on a remote river.
If you are an adventurous family, it might be that you enjoy pastimes such as jet skiing, windsurfing, paragliding, sailing, snorkelling or scuba diving. It’s best to have some lessons to make sure you have some experience. A qualified instructor can let you know the risks and how to enjoy these safely.
The benefits of ‘blue space’ and being by water are good for your body and mind. This is especially true for children too. As long as you are sensible and always extra careful around water, then the benefits for your little ones will be numerous. I hope you enjoyed my suggestions for some excellent water activities for all the family.
Natasha Sones has an outside family adventure travel blog: www.natashasoneseditorial.com/blog. Follow her blog or her Instagram account: @natashastarseeker if you love family lifestyle articles.