Treading Water & Blowing Bubbles: Swimming Basics

Apr 17, 2017, 10:49 AM by Andra Coberly

The world is 71 percent water. 

That means swimming is a big part of our lives. It can be a hobby, an exercise, summertime favorite and a competitive endeavor. It can be something you enjoy or something you loathe. Either way, both adults and children should regard swimming as a life skill.

However, like balancing a checkbook and driving through a roundabout, most of us do not have that life skill. 

According to a survey by the American Red Cross, only 56 percent of adults report having water safety skills that could save their lives. Those skills include treading water, bobbing to the surface after jumping into deep water, floating in a circle and then exiting the water, leaving a pool without a ladder and swimming 25 yards without stopping.

On top of that, only 39 percent of parents of kids 4-17 say their little ones can perform those skills, yet more than 90 percent of those kids participate in water activities. And only 20 percent of parents expected their kids to take swim lessons in the summer. 

So this summer, vow to make sure you and your child have the proficiency to be safe, confident and happy in the water. Really, swimming is not just a life skill. It’s a life-saving skill.

Tips From the Y

Teach your young child the art of blowing bubbles. Start with a glass and a straw. Let them blow bubbles and explain how it works. Move to the bathtub. Encourage them to put their mouth in the water to blow bubbles. Then try it at the pool this summer. 

The Y is currently registering for summer camp, youth sports and swim lessons. Register at

This piece was previously published in Boulder Valley School District's Thrive newsletter.