How to Teach a Water Safety Lesson to Children without a pool!

Filed under Water Safety Instructor, Kids Water Safety by Jim Reiser
from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

How can you teach water safety to children without a having a pool? Here are seven ideas and video highlights that will help you get started!



1. FREE PRIZES.
When I am asked to “take the stage” at an event like a Safety Fair or Children’s event at a mall, park, or children’s fair–the first challenge is always getting the kids to the stage. You can answer that challenge quite easily with a handful of free prizes. I usually have some economical goggles, pool toys, etc. and announce . . . “Girls and boys, children of all ages, come on up to the stage for a free water safety presentation. Bring your mom or dad with you too! I have stickers and lots of prizes too! Did you hear that boys and girls . . .free prizes! Come on up now! You’ll gather a crowd of children in a hurry!

2. STICKERS AND BALLOONS! The moment the children come up to the stage, we start putting stickers on the children and handing them helium balloons—all with our logo and contact information, along with a handout of the SAFER KIDS song (which you will use in a few minutes). Everyone loves free stuff and this certainly does the trick to stir up the excitement.

3. START YOUR PRESENTATION WITH QUESTION: Once you’ve gathered your audience. You want to engage them by asking a question. I like to ask, “How many of you are SAFE in the water?” Most of them will raise their hand. Then you really pull them in when you shock them with an animated “NO!” I usually act a little silly so I don’t scare them but stress and hammer home this point: “No one . . . not you, not your mom or dad, not even I am safe in the water!” And I can swim across the lake, I can swim a mile without stopping, and I’m even a swim teacher and a lifeguard—but that doesn’t make me safe. What we can be, you and me, is “safer.” Everyone say that . . . “Saferrrrrrrr.” The “r” in safer stands for “risk.” Where there is water, there is risk. But today, I’m going to teach you how you can be safer by following the Safer 3, a layered approach to water safety (that technical comment is aimed toward the parents but we are going to teach it to the children).

4. TEACH WATER SAFETY WITH A SONG. Continue the presentation by saying, “You have a song sheet with the words to the Safer Kids Song by Jim Reiser. I’m going to teach you that song so you can learn everything you need to know so that you can be safer when you’re in or around the water. Here’s how we’re going to do this: I will sing a verse of the song. Then you will sing that verse with me. Then we’ll talk about what we learned in that verse. Then after we learn each of the verses, we’ll put it all together. Ready, here we go with the first verse (same tune as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star): “Learning to swim is really cool, so you can have fun playing in the pool, but always make sure there’s a grown up watching you, that’s a safety tip that’s oh so true.” After you sing it, you talk about it. I may say, for example, “So you all agree learning to swim is really cool, right?” They say “yes!” “But what was that really important thing we learned in the first verse? To always make sure there’s a?” They all yell “grown up watching you!” So that’s the idea, and from there I move on to the next verse. (View a sample of the song from Jim's Safer Kids 101 DVD)

5. GIVE MORE PRIZES! In addition to keeping the children engaged during the 20-minute presentation with questions and participating in the singing, I will also throw out prizes, i.e., goggles, toys, t-shirts, temporary tattoos, to the children that answer the questions correctly. This technique really keeps them sitting on the edge of their seat!

6. GIVE CHILDREN HOMEWORK THAT CAN SAVE LIVES! Once I finish teaching the song, I get their attention again: “Now it’s time to give you your homework!” There are two parts two your homework. Part one; this song is my gift to you. Your homework is to practice this song every day until you can sing it without looking at the words. That way I know that you really know the safety rules. Part two . . . I want everyone to close their eyes. Now think of a relative or friend that you really care about (pause). Okay, open your eyes. I want you to teach them the song, just like I taught it to you. Then give your friend your copy of the song as a gift, and give them homework just like I gave you!

7. SHOW CHILDREN HOW THEY CAN SAVE LIVES BY DOING THEIR HOMEWORK.
Over the course of the year, I will teach 2000 children the Safer Kids Song and I will give 2000 children this homework. Here’s a math word problem for you. If 2000 children learn this song and do their homework, thus teaching 2000 more children how to be safer in the water, how many children are now safer in the water? “4000!” I continue this example until we get up to 64,000, sometimes even 128,000, and make my point (plus get them to think and work on their math).

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