Water on the Face
In the sink, encourage children to splash water onto their face and rub it in as though washing their face. Encourage them to gradually use more water, keeping their mouth and eyes closed whilst washing, hold for a second then breathe and open eyes.
Children could also practice the above in the bath by pouring a cup or sponge full of water over their face, or standing under the shower allowing water to run over their face. Children should close their mouth and eyes to start with, then breathe and open eyes once the water’s cleared. To progress this, keep the eyes open as the water runs down the face.
Eventually all of the above should be done without the hands wiping the eyes or touching the nose.
To swim properly a swimmer needs to be able to swim and breathe at the same time without breaking stroke. Often the face is in the water and has to be lifted close to the water in order to breathe and then be placed back into the water, this is known as “aquatic breathing”.
Children can try this activity to practice aquatic breathing: Place your chin onto the surface of water in a bath/skink/basin and blow onto the water. Keep the chin on the water and breathe in before blowing again. Progress this by blowing bubbles with your mouth under the water and raising your head out of water to breathe. Build this up until it can be done two or three tims without a pause. Move onto putting your nose and mouth under the water to blow bubbles before raising your head out of the water to breathe.
The perfect aquatic breathing is to completely submerge the face in the water and then blow out, lift face clear with chin on water to breathe in and repeat.
In the bath, children can try all the above but laid flat on their front resting on their forearms and elbows. They could also try blowing a small toy as the first introduction to aquatic breathing.