THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “PLAYING AROUND” AND “CONSTRUCTIVE PLAY”

10-05-2024

At the end of swimming lessons at Swim Max, the difference between "playing around" and "constructive play" in the swimming pool is crucial for maximising the benefits of the time spent in the water. 

In this blog, I share how these play types are different, with a focus on enhancing and promoting the advantages of constructive play:

1️⃣ Playing Around in the Pool:

Definition: This involves unstructured, spontaneous water play that allows children to relax and enjoy the water without specific educational goals.

Characteristics: Activities might include jumping, splashing, or impromptu games that are primarily for fun and decompression.

Value: Playing around is important for helping children feel comfortable and joyful in the water, creating a positive association with swimming pools. A great example of this is family time in the pool on holidays.

 2️⃣Constructive Play in the Pool:

Definition: Constructive play at the end of swimming lessons at Swim Max is strategically designed to reinforce and enhance the skills taught during the class, incorporating them into engaging, enjoyable activities.

Characteristics: This type of play is more structured and includes games and challenges that directly utilise newly learned swimming techniques, such as stroke refinement games, timed treasure hunts that require specific movements, or water-based obstacle courses.

Value: Constructive play is essential for deepening a child’s swimming abilities and water safety knowledge. By integrating skill development into enjoyable activities, children at Swim Max are more likely to retain what they've learned, apply these skills automatically, and develop their swimming skills. Constructive play also boosts confidence as children see tangible improvements in their abilities through engaging challenges.

Examples of promotional and beneficial constructive play could include a “Swim and Seek” game where children use various strokes to find hidden items around the pool, developing both fun and skill progression. 

Another could be "Aqua Agility Races" where children navigate through floating hoops and dive for rings, all the while being timed, turning skill practice into a thrilling competition.

These focused activities not only reinforce the day’s lessons in a fun way but also highlight the effectiveness of the swimming teaching methods, making each session productive and enjoyable.

At Swim Max, constructive play is not just an extension of learning but a crucial element that showcases the practical application of swimming skills in a fun and focussed way.

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