Put down your pencils and pick up a pool noodle, because we’re diving into 15 fun activities that will help your kids stay cool, while getting ready for back-to-school.


According to science, the foundation for a child’s cognitive growth is rooted in two key factors: a safe environment and learning through guided play.

At Goldfish Swim School, it’s what we call The Science of SwimPlay®. Our confidence-building curriculum helps kids learn to swim, respect the water and have lots of fun while doing it.

Every child’s potential is in there. Sometimes you just need to add water-which is why we’re sharing more than 15 hands-on ways to make learning fun for your little one.


Colorful water balloons

Play The Greater Than Less Than Game

Which number is bigger? Which is smaller? Which way does the symbol face? This fun game uses pool noodles to teach kids about number comparison and help them remember which way the “greater than/less than” symbol faces. Remember, the alligator always eats the bigger number!

Teach Your Child How to Add to 10

How many ways can you make the number 10? This activity uses different colored pool noodles to visually show which combinations of numbers add up to 10.

Play Sum Splat

Everyone knows water balloons are a great way to beat the heat and have some backyard fun! But, did you know water balloons can also be a great learning tool? Help your kids practice their math facts with a little game called sum splat. Simply use a permanent marker to write a series of addition facts on your water balloons (ex: 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc.) and use chalk to write the possible outcomes on your sidewalk. Then, watch your little ones have fun throwing each balloon at the correct answer. How fun?!


Painting with Pool Noodles

Just when you thought pool noodles couldn’t get more fun, this activity involves using pool noodles to paint apples (talk about the perfect back-to-school craft)! For a fun twist, check out this blog to learn how to make your own “stamps” to create fun pool noodle prints.

Squirt Gun Painting

If squirt guns aren’t your thing, you can use plastic spray bottles, too! Simply set up an easel with sheets of paper outside, fill up your squirt guns (or spray bottles) with liquid watercolors, and have fun watching your kids create colorful masterpieces for your fridge. You could also fill water balloons with paint and throw them at a canvas (outside, of course) as another fun way to create even more cool and colorful patterns.


Colorful pool noodles

Letter Smash

Similar to sum splat, this game uses water balloons to help younger kids learn the letters of the alphabet. Use a permanent marker to write each letter of the alphabet on a balloon. Then, do the same with chalk on the sidewalk. Have your kids pick up a balloon and toss it at the letter that matches. For a fun twist, you could also use this activity to help your child learn about lowercase and uppercase letters.

Painting Letters With Water

This mess-free activity is perfect for hot summer days, and a great way to help preschoolers use their fine motor skills to practice writing the letters of the alphabet (or their numbers, too)!

Alphabet Soup

This is another super simple activity that can teach toddlers and preschoolers about the alphabet. Simply place foam letters into a water bin for toddlers to scoop out with a ladle.

Pool Noodle Word Search

This activity teaches kids how to spell by using pool noodles to create word patterns and rhymes. Once you’ve made all of your “pool noodle blocks” it’s time to play! Let your kids randomly pick three and stack them on top of each other. Then, let them find as many words as possible by turning the blocks and finding letter combinations! For example, if the bottom two letters are A-T, turning the top block could spell any of the following combinations: CAT, BAT, PAT, MAT…you get the point!

Sight Word Sailboats

Bring a little learning to your kiddie pool or bathtub with this super fun sight word sailboat activity. You only need five household materials to make each sailboat: Pool noodles, construction paper, straws, markers and tape. Once they’re made, place them in your kiddie pool or bathtub, call out a word and watch your kiddo have fun picking out the right one.


Goldfish swim instructor wearing face shield helping a child swim

Water Balloon Baseball

Make a splash (literally!) with this fun twist on a favorite summer sport. Simply swap the wiffle ball for a water balloon and let the fun begin!

swim lessons

At Goldfish Swim School, we create a safe, fun and welcoming environment for children 4-months-old to 12-years-old to learn and grow. Using The Science of SwimPlay®, our confidence-building curriculum teaches kids how to swim while also helping them develop other essential skills that will help them make BIG waves in life, like gaining the courage to overcome their fears and dive into new experiences.

In addition to the progress being made in our pools each and every day, we’ve also created a way for kids to continue learning about water safety and get some extra practice at home. Join Miss Jenny and her friends on a #GoldfishAtHome adventure on YouTube, as they use their imaginations to travel around the world, to the moon, under the sea and more-all while practicing swim skills we teach in class.


Don’t forget to make bath time fun!

Blowing bubbles during bath time can be a great way to practice the basics of breath control. Encourage your child to slowly blow air out of their nose and mouth as they put their faces to the water. Once they’re comfortable with that, let them put their face underwater to blow even bigger bubbles! While they’re having fun and becoming more confident putting their face in the water, they’ll also be busy building the foundation for proper breath control.

Bath time is also a great opportunity to condition your little one to the feeling of water on their face. Use a plastic cup to gently pour water over your child’s arm. Make it a fun game by saying something like, “Ready Go!” Once your child is comfortable with this, use the same approach to gently pour water over their head. Before you start, you could have your little one practice the same thing by pouring water over their dolls heads, too.


Which ideas are your favorite? Try them at home and tag us in your pictures using #GoldfishSwimSchool. If you want more ideas, check out our blog about more games to play in the pool

Don’t forget to empty any kiddie pools or buckets of water when you’re done, and make sure there’s ALWAYS a responsible adult supervising the kids any time they’re in or around water! Brush up on more water safety tips here.

Creating a safe, fun and welcoming environment for children to learn and grow has always been our number one priority. Every detail – from our confidence-building curriculum and our tropical atmosphere to our shiver-free pool – was carefully designed with kiddos in mind so they build up a love for the water and are excited to come back every week.

Contact your local Goldfish Swim School to learn more about The Science of SwimPlay® and our approach to teaching children how to swim today.