Swimming Game – Animal Hunt (splashpad)


Pretend play, group activity

Core Skill:

Listening, playing, following directions


Animal Hunt


Play a pretend game with a group of 2 – 4 year olds in the splash pad using different water features and creativity. The instructor leads the game by declaring that the class is going on an “Animal Hunt” where they have to rescue all the creatures that have escaped from the zoo.

Visit different water features in the splash pad and swimmers have to “pretend to talk to the animals in their language” to get them to return.

Talking in their language means interacting with the water features like the animal would; speaking through body language and movement.

Some examples:

Wash yourself and your long trunk (arms dangling and moving like connected to your face) and wash your body and head under the mushroom rain like under a waterfall. Attempt to “Spray” the red pole with hands cupped and filled with water from under the mushroom like an elephant using their tusk to spray others.

Using the red pole and water try to stretch your neck and get at the water at the top; avoid climbing the pole.
Rub neck or shoulders on the red pole to scratch self and clean off your neck fur like a giraffe.

Using the green arch on the left with spray aiming inwards like a hoop of fire, try to run or walk through roaring like a lion would that “jumps through fire.”

Using the squigglely green pole on the left in picture above, with the spray spouts on the ends like flowers pretened to be screeching monkies that are dancing around and howling. Go from one spray side to the other howling like a monkey and jumping on hands and feet. Stoop low with hands on the ground and waving arms like a monkey dancing.

Slither in on the ground where water is to slither move the snakes around each of the standing poles. This works better in a zero-depth pool. But can work on a cement splash pad with upright poles and spray features.

walk like an alligator on your belly moving through the shallow water. Chomp the water with your massive jaws and splash the water by biting it. Have fun. Encourage putting face in the water and snapping your jaws shut.


This game should be full of laughter, fun, and pretend play. The goal is to get the swimmers to react and listen to the instructor by joining in this hillarious and exciting pretend play. It will build trust with the instructor. It will encourage the swimmers to start following directions. The instructor sets the tone of the game by demonstrating all of the animal actrions, and the swimmers mimic them. The instructor should encourage the children to make the motions goofy, funny, and interesting.

The absolute KEY to this is that the instructor DOES THE PRETEND PLAY TOO. They must be involved, active, and lead the play.


Guppies; ages 2 – 4.

This document talks about:

  • Swimming Game – Animal Hunt: A pretend play game for 2-4 year olds in the splash pad where they have to rescue animals that escaped from the zoo by imitating their sounds and movements.
  • Core Skill: Listening, playing, and following directions. The instructor leads the game by demonstrating the animal actions and the swimmers mimic them¹[1]. The goal is to build trust and encourage the swimmers to join in the fun²[2].
  • Examples of Animals: Elephants, giraffes, lions, monkeys, snakes, and alligators. Each animal has a different water feature and a way of interacting with it. The instructor should make the motions goofy, funny, and interesting³[3].
  • Free Resources and Community: The document invites the readers to join a free community of aquatic professionals and provides contact information and categories of swim lesson games.

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