Aquatic Safety

Books to Share

  • Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London.
  • Safety in the Water by Joanne Mattern.
  • Safety at the Swimming Pool by Lucia Raatma.
  • Swimming Lessons by Betsy Jay.
  • Water Safety by Lucia Raatma.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • The Bears’ Vacation by Stan Berenstain.
  • Help! I Can’t Swim!: Safety in Water by Cindy Leaney.
  • Swimming: How To Play the All-Star Way by Barry Wilner.
  • Trading Places with Tank Talbot by Dori Hillestad Butler.
  • A Treasure at Sea for Dragon and Me: Water Safety for Kids by Jean Pendziwol.


Decorate the programming room with beach items such as seashells, sunglasses, beach balls, beach towels, sun hats, flip flops, snorkels and flippers, inflatable beach toys, and colorful buckets and shovels.

Reader’s Theater

Let the children present “The Young Chief Who Played the Flute,” a folktale from New Zealand available in Multicultural Folktales: Readers Theatre for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers, available through netLibrary, a TexShare resource. The story tells how a young Maori woman falls in love with a chief. Forbidden to marry, and kept apart by the ocean, she risks her life swimming to his island.


Water Safety Posters


  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Crayons


Let the children design posters promoting water safety to hang in the library. Themes might include, safe swimming, safe boating, being safe at the beach, the importance of wearing life jackets, and pool safety.

Seashell Boxes

Using directions on The Best Kids Book Site at, let the children make the “Seashell Boxes” craft.

Super Summer Beach Towels

Using directions on The Best Kids Book Site at, let the children make the “Super Summer Beach Towels” craft.

Games and Activities

Lifejacket Pass

Set up a starting line and a finish line. Divide the children into teams of three or four members, with each team receiving one life jacket. The first member of the team must properly put on the life jacket and pretend to swim while walking from the starting line to the finish line and back. If desired, decorate the “lane” to look like the child is moving from one end of a pool and back. The child then takes off the jacket and passes it to the next team member, who will repeat what the first member did. The winner is the team that finishes first. To find lifejackets, check with your local marina or boat dealers.

Yes or No

Give each child a piece of paper with the word NO written on one side and YES on the other side. Ask a safety question and let the children hold up the answer, yes or no.


  • Take swimming lessons. (Yes)
  • Swim only if there is a lifeguard or if a grown-up gives you permission to swim. (Yes)
  • Swim if you are tired. (No)
  • Dive off piers or rocks. (No)
  • Run around swimming pools or boat docks. (No)

Guest Speakers

Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for more information on the Longfellow's WHALE Tales program on water safety. The easy-to-follow lesson plans are for school teachers, parents, or other adult leaders to use in teaching children ages 5 to 12 about safe behavior in, on, and around the water.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

Be Cool, Play It Safe. (43 minutes)

Web Sites

Boat Safe Kids

This web site has answers to important life jacket questions and an online life jacket tic-tac-toe game.

Pool Kids USA

This web site helps kids learn about water safety through games, puzzles, and activity guides.

Red Cross

The interactive zone of the American Red Cross web site offers online games, coloring pages, and more. One of the coloring sheets features boating safety.

Professional Resources

Multicultural Folktales: Readers Theatre for Elementary Students by Suzanne I. Barchers. Also available through netLibrary, a TexShare resource.

The Best Kids Book Site

Hundreds of ideas for simple kids’ crafts are available at this site.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011