Testing the Waters: A Storytime for National Learn to Swim Day

Last Saturday (May 21) was National Learn to Swim Day, which is an important skill to highlight in our coastal town. So today we did a storytime all about Swimming.

Here’s what we did:


Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London; illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

I always enjoy reading Froggy books because usually some character calls “FRROOGGYY!” and Froggy yells out, “Whaaat?” I like to point out the word Froggy on the cover before I read, and tell the kids to watch for it so they can join in. In this one, Froggy doesn’t want to go swimming, even though his mother tells him frogs are born in the water. She teaches him to put his head under the water and say, “Bubble Bubble,” then lift it out and say “Toot Toot!” And then she teaches him to back float by moving his arms in different shapes to match the words “Chicken, Airplane, Soldier.” This becomes a fun repeated refrain throughout the book. Something embarrassing happens to Froggy in every book, and in this case, he loses his bathing suit. Although this was a bit longer than the books I usually read at this storytime, there were enough interactive elements to keep the kids engaged.

Swim Swim Sink by Jennifer Harney

Cute book about a duckling that always sinks when he tries to swim. He tries lots of alternatives: water wings, SCUBA gear, and even a jet-ski, until finally he decides to travel in his own adorable pirate ship. The kids loved joining in on the “QUACKs.”

Bubbles….Up by Jacqueline Davies; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez.

Lovely book describing all of the joys of being in the water: talking underwater, sitting at the bottom of the pool, being surrounded by bubbles. There’s even a thunderstorm in the middle, which we augmented with a thunder tube (one of my favorite storytime props). A beautiful celebration of swimming.


Swimming, Swimming

Cute and easy song with motions. Here’s a video from Mother Goose Club Playhouse:

Swimming, Swimming,

In my swimming pool.

On hot days, and on cool days,

In my swimming pool.

Breast stroke, side stroke,

Fancy diving too!

Don’t you wish you never had

Anything else to do?

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Claire and I each held up a frog puppet for this one, while holding up our other hand to show the number of frogs remaining. I like to stop between each verse to ask the kids how many frogs are left:

Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log.
Eating the most delicious bugs! Yum Yum!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Now there are four green speckled frogs!

Four green and speckled frogs…etc.

Six Little Ducks

[C] Six little ducks that I [G7] once knew,
[C] Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too.
[G7] But the one little duck with the feather on his back.
[C] He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

[G7] “Quack! Quack! Quack! [C] Quack! Quack! Quack!”                                             
[G7] He led the others with his [C]“Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Down to the river they would go,
Wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble, to and fro.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”


Home from the river they would come,
Wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble, ho hum hum.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”


I’m an Anglerfish

I love Folkmanis puppets, and my daughter went through a serious deep sea fish phase years ago. So I was thrilled to discover Folkmanis had made an Anglerfish puppet (it even lights up and its eyes wobble!). We used it today for this anglerfish song, to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot.

I’m an anglerfish,

Come see my light (hold your hand up to your forehead).

Down in the sea

Where’s it’s dark as night.

When a little fish swims in my sight (move your hand like a fish).

I open my mouth (spread hands wide apart)

And I BITE, BITE, BITE! (clap hands together)

Let’s Go Swimming

I know I do a lot of Laurie Berkner songs, but I absolutely had to include this one, which is always a bit hit. Here’s a link to the YouTube video:

And here’s a link to the lyrics, which are too long to include here, as well a link to the chords for ukulele or guitar.

STAY AND PLAY: Bubble Wrap Painted Fish

Bubble Wrap Painting is one of my favorite process art activities. It works great for themes like reptiles, beehives, fish, or just for fun. For this one, I used this fish clipart template to cut fish shapes out of bubble wrap. I put out blue paper, paintbrushes, and small paper plates with a few different blobs of tempera paint for each table. The kids painted the bubble wrap fish, and then smushed them onto the paper to make a fish print. Some kids got really into it, adding eyes and teeth with the paint brushes. Messy fun!

Happy Swimming!


2 thoughts on “Testing the Waters: A Storytime for National Learn to Swim Day

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