We waited forever to put our son in swimming lessons, so long that I worried his fears would stifle his progress. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. My son loved his swimming lessons this summer. (Whew!)
To piggyback on this interest, I designed a fun math activity around swimming. First, he read “Swimming” by Cynthia Klingel and Robert B. Noyed. This level one reader was easy enough for my son to read on his own and echoed many of the things he experienced over the last few weeks in swimming lessons (e.g., wearing goggles, floating, pushing off, etc.).
After he finished reading, I gave him three small cut-outs of swimmers of varying sizes and a large worksheet picturing the profile of a swimming pool. Answering the questions meant that my son had to move the swimmers across the pool and down to the bottom, counting their strokes.
If they swam two laps, how many strokes was that (while this introduced the idea of multiplication, my son is hardly ready for that so we stuck with 8 + 8 + 8 = what)? This could easily be adapted for older kids to introduce (or practice) multiplication.
The activity was a success. How do I know? He asked to keep the swimmers so they could hit the pool again another day.
Just before we headed out for my son’s last lesson at the pool, we read Jonathan London’s “Froggy Learns to Swim.” I could tell from his recitation of the book’s “bubble bubble, toot toot” in the car that the story had struck a chord.