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Learn to swim programme: Stage one - Start Splashing!

Babies love to explore new textures, sensations and sounds and there’s no better place to start than in the water. “Now it’s all about getting your baby splashing around and used to the water,” explains Olympic medallist, Rebecca Adlington. “Keep a good eye on your baby and don’t forget to have fun.”

Want to introduce your little one to the pool? The fun starts here, with our easy guide


Try these fun, water-based activities and discover which baby-specific Sea Squad products we recommend. By the end of completing this section in the pool, your little one will be on their way to becoming a confident, courageous water baby.


Activity 1. Bob, Swish and Circle


Swimming with your baby is not only a great way to bond; it also helps them develop strength, coordination and language skills in a safe, stimulating environment. This opening activity will help encourage baby to enjoy being in the water for the first time.


Stand in the water, about chest deep and, holding baby securely, lightly bob up and down on the spot. Softly ‘swish’ from side to side, building up the motion to spin baby in a large circle around you.


Trickle drops of water around your baby or, keeping them held high, duck your head under water and blow bubbles to make them giggle and smile.


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Aqua Nappy, Swim Seat


Activity 2. Tickle Trickles


Help your baby experience the different sensations of water with this tender task. Holding baby close, keep eye contact and smile (to show them it’s safe and fun) as you trickle water from your fingertips on top of their head.


Little by little, move the water droplets forward until they touch your baby’s face. Give them a big kiss, and then start over again. Keep checking your baby’s reaction; if they don’t like it, just move on to another task and try again later.


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby towel, Aqua Nappy, Swim Seat

Activity 3. Go Fish!


Playing games with your baby in the water helps them gain confidence. This fishing task allows them to explore the pool safely. Use water balls as ‘fishies’ for your baby to discover and catch.


Holding your baby securely in front of you, gently glide towards the targets and encourage your little one to reach out and grab the balls, before returning them to the pool side.


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Swim Seat, Water Balls, Aqua Nappy


Activity 4. If you’re happy and you know it…


Match your movements to the lyrics with this fun and familiar children’s song. Encourage baby to copy your actions, supporting them in the water as they move. So, get ready to sing and… “If you’re happy and you know it, kick your legs, splash your hands, blow bubbles, spin around.”


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Swim Seat, Aqua Nappy

Activity 5. Sing-a-long-a-swim


Carry on the theme of singing and swimming with this task which encourages development, helping your baby to identify and grasp objects in the water. Place floating toys, such as water balls and armbands, in close reach of your baby. Sing, “One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive …” as your baby reaches out to grab an item. Keep singing the verse, encouraging baby to pick up a different toy each time.


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Swim Seat, Armbands, Water Balls, Aqua Nappy


Activity 6. Twinkle twinkle little star


Your baby will love the sensation of floating in warm, calm water. Floating is not only fun, it also allows babies to exercise their arms and legs while supported in the water.


To give your baby confidence, hold them close and sing this popular nursery rhyme as you support their head and shoulders back into a floating position. As your little one leans their head and ears back into the water, encourage them to stretch and kick their arms and legs out into a star shape.


Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Aqua Nappy


Activity 7. Wheels on the bus


Now it’s time to piece together all the tasks your water baby has experienced. Remember to always keep your baby close to you, so they feel safe and secure in the water.


Smile, sing and splash your way through this song together…


“Wheels on the bus go round and round” – spin gently round in a circle


“Wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish” – splash your hands in the water


“Doors on the bus open and close” – play peek-a-boo, dipping your chin in the water


“Children on the bus bounce up and down” – bob baby gently in and out the water


“Babies on the bus go fast asleep” – lie baby down to float on their back

Help from the Sea Squad: Baby Towel, Swim Seat, float vest


Congratulations, your little one is gaining water confidence and having fun! Now your baby is ready for stage two of our Learn to Swim programme – Start Swimming.


Discover all three stages of our Speedo Learn to Swim programme:


Stage One – Start Splashing. Introduce your baby to the water for the first time and build their confidence in the pool with fun activities, singing and gentle movements.


Stage Two – Start Swimming. Help your child learn how to paddle and develop their water skills through confidence-building activities and games.


Stage Three – Get Confident. Encourage your little swimmer to advance their swimming skills, with fun challenges that focus on improving their diving, underwater confidence, front crawl and backstroke swimming technique.