Puddle Ducks with Dad – Word from the Mr

Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks for quite some time and Colette tells me that she’s really been making progress.  I’ve taken her swimming twice before this and they were good but not great.  The first time I went I felt a bit out of my depth (metaphorically not physically, the pool is not that deep!).  There’s quite a bit going on in the lessons, what with all the songs to learn and me trying to understand exactly what I’m supposed to be doing during all the games and trying to get the actions right.  The first time I took Amy swimming it was quite early in her lessons and she was still a bit nervous.  This nervousness wasn’t helped by me, mistakenly dunking her a bit further under the water than she was comfortable with without giving her the proper signal!  She was fine, but she was noticeably more clingy after that incident.  As you would be if a loved one had tried to drown you!

Daddy & Amy in the swimming pool with Puddle Ducks - toddler swimming lessons

Anyway the second time I took her was far better, on my part, but unfortunately Amy was a bit under the weather at the time and possibly still hadn’t forgiven me for the ‘incident’.  So she was still very clingy and not nearly as brave and adventurous as I’d been told she usually was.

Recently Amy has missed a few lessons through illness and our, at times, frantically busy schedules.  Luckily Puddle Ducks provide you with the opportunity to book ‘Catch up lessons’ if there’s a space in another session at a time and place convenient to you!  As there were a few of these ‘Catch up lessons’ to be had and the only convenient times available were at the weekend, Colette and I decided it would be a good thing if I took Amy and we had a bit of “Bo and Bear” time.

We’ve noticed that Amy has been very much a ‘Mummy’s girl’ of late.  Sometimes to the point of her being hysterical if Colette has gone out and she’s left with me.  I think this is fairly normal given how much time that Amy spends with Colette.  More time than Ben or Chloe had ever spent with Colette by this point in their lives anyway.  I can remember going through a similar phase when I was very young and annoying my Mum something fierce.  So as an antidote to this we thought more time spent with just Amy and I would be a good thing.

The ‘Catch up lessons’ we’ve been going to are at the Aqua Nurture site in Hyde, Manchester.  This is an old pub which Gary and Suzanne have renovated and turned into a pub.  It’s a lovely place and a really good place to do Puddle Ducks lessons as you are in your own pool, not a sectioned off area of a larger pool, and as it’s designed for little ones the water is kept a bit warmer than a normal pool.  Temperature being something which Amy has struggled with in the past, she don’t like the cold much like her Mother!  As the lessons are in a different place, we are swimming with a different teacher than Amy’s usual one.  This is not a problem though as Sarah was Amy’s teacher when she first started swimming with Puddle Ducks so Amy’s always happy to see her.

The Puddle Ducks lessons are structured through a series of games that help Amy in becoming confident in the water and then help her to actually learn to swim.  Every game has a song that you sing to your ‘Little Dipper’, which is what they call swimmers of Amy’s age and ability, including a song about getting into the pool in a safe way.  When I first went with Amy I didn’t know any of the songs and felt a bit awkward, but I’m far more confident now and I don’t have to focus quite so acutely to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong.  This means I can actually enjoy the lessons now rather than concentrate on keeping up.

Amy has really come in on in the last four ‘catch-up’ lessons.  For the first ‘catch-up’ lesson Colette and the big two came to watch, and when we’d got out Colette was a bit miffed that Amy was not showing me all the things she could do.  The leap in Amy’s ability is, I think, in part because she’s grown in confidence that I know what I’m doing (partly true) but also because she’s just been showing me all the things she’s learnt over the past 8 months since I last took her swimming.  The difference is remarkable.  Yesterday Amy swam across the pool four times with the use of two woggles (thin cylindrical floats) under her arms without me touching the floats at all!  I was just showing her that my hands were there in case she needed me.  In our last lesson she swam on her back with me only holding her head very lightly.  She was doing all the work, kicking her legs the whole way.  It was wonderful to see.

The other major change I’ve noticed is during a game where Amy has to swim through a hoop while reaching for a single woggle.  The teacher takes Amy and holds her on one side of the hoop while I wait on the other side of the hoop with the woggle.  Amy is passed through the hoop and reaches for the woggle.  Depending on the confidence of your swimmer the teacher pushes them across the gap under the water or on top of the water.  Yesterday I left a really big gap between the teacher and me meaning that Amy had to reach for a long period of time and float without anyone touching her.  She did brilliantly and was smiling when she reached the woggle.  She’s so much more confident now.

The lessons are half an hour long which is just right for Amy I think.  Once the lesson is done we get changed and then go through to the cafe area.  The cafe at Aqua Nurture is lovely with a big window through into the pool area so you can watch the lessons while having a brew.  After the lessons me and Amy have taken to having a cake and a drink if we’ve earned it.  Unsurprisingly we always earn it!  Amy likes to play with the toys in the cafe section and look at the books provided before we set off home.

There’s still a few ‘catch-up’ lessons for Amy and I to do and I’m very much looking forward to them.  The more the merrier I say.  They’re good fun and they’re definitely lessening the ‘Mummy’s girl’ aspects Amy’s been showing.  Amy’s growing in confidence and ability and I’m loving seeing my little girl turning into a swimmer.

Daddy & Amy

*Amy swims with Puddle Ducks free of charge for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

*Read more reviews here*



  1. February 21, 2017 / 8:09 am

    I have heard so many good things about puddle ducks. My youngest two, still can’t swim and I was thinking about taking them swimming lessons this year #TriedTested

  2. February 21, 2017 / 8:17 am

    Well done Amy with the swimming! Puddle Ducks sound like a great fun way to learn and they seem so accommodating with the catch-up lessons too. #TriedTested

  3. February 21, 2017 / 8:47 am

    I can’t swim and haven’t got around to taking my kids to swimming lessons but it is definitely on my to do list 🙂 #TriedTested

  4. February 21, 2017 / 9:29 am

    I think swimming is so important for young children, it is something I have done with my both of mine from around 8 weeks old. They have their phases of clinginess too and then other phases of being far too brave for my liking! #triedtested

  5. February 21, 2017 / 10:27 am

    They sound so good. I wonder if they have any round our way. We always Z on holiday but not for regular lessons and i think he really needs them now!

  6. February 21, 2017 / 10:57 am

    I love how well Amy has progressed with Puddle Ducks, you really are a great advert for them. #TriedTested

  7. Natalie @KidGearUK
    February 21, 2017 / 11:07 am

    These lessons sound like a great way to get kids starting to swim and gain confidence.

  8. February 21, 2017 / 11:07 am

    We absolutely loved Puddle Ducks and took Mia until she was around 1. I really need to start taking Mia back to a swimming class as its something we loved doing together and it just ‘dropped’ off a bit! I loved the Puddle Ducks class as it was really nice and quiet, perfect for a mum who had no clue what she was doing with a newborn! 🙂


  9. Catherine @ Story Snug
    February 21, 2017 / 11:10 am

    It’s lovely that Daddy and daughter can have some time together. I often feel that my husband misses out on all the fun activities my daughter does during the week.

  10. February 21, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    Well done with the swimming! I’ve just started intensive 1-2-1 coaching with a swim instructor and he’s really pushing me out of my comfort zone quickly – and I’m only 4! It’s good for our holiday though x well done daddy for preserving x #TriedTested

  11. Becki Parsons
    February 21, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    I’m trying to persuade my husband to take our 3 year old to swimming lessons – I’m terrified of the water after an incident at school lessons, so I really don’t want to pass my fear on to him. Once I’ve reached my target weightloss I’m going to get some adult lessons. But I think these sort of lessons would be great for a nervous 3 year old!

  12. February 21, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Aww! How lovely! It sounds like the lessons are going brilliantly! The catch up one’s sound like the are a great help. #TriedTested

  13. February 21, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Puddle Ducks sounds like such a lovely swimming company. I don’t think they operate near me which is a shame. Looks like you have both grown in confidence though!

  14. February 21, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I took my eldest swimming from 6 weeks but I have not been as good with my other two. Think it may be because my middle child hates water, baths.. you name it. You have made me think about starting with my bubba number 3 though! super cute 🙂

  15. February 21, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    We did Puddle Ducks and I miss it so much. I stopped when my second was born because I couldn’t look after the newborn baby at the same time. I really wish we signed up for Saturdays though so my husband could have taken the eldest. My son progressed so much when he did Puddle Ducks and he would have loved special Daddy time.

  16. February 21, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    This is nice 🙂 my kids loves to go swimming and the other one is on lesson too. I think it’s a very important skills to learn to swim and it’s fun as well. I don’t know how to swim though lol #triedtested

  17. Emma Lofthouse-Burch
    February 21, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    This is a lovely review. Well done Amy(and dad) x

  18. February 21, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    It’s so lovely seeing your children gain new skills, it’s good to hear you have both grown in confidence #TriedTested

  19. February 22, 2017 / 11:22 am

    I love the idea of |Puddle Ducks, I might look into something like this soon for my youngest #triedtested

  20. February 22, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    This is so lovely, sounds like she’s doing really well with her swimming! We have the same with my daughter being a bit clingy to me, and one on one time with my husband does really help with it. x #TriedTested

  21. February 22, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    This sounds like the sort of thing I need for the youngest, I wish I had done it with the older two, as none of them can swim yet. Back to lessons this year though. #triedtested

  22. February 26, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    The catch up lessons are a great idea – we all miss sessions sometimes, because life is so manic all the time! #TriedTested

    • February 26, 2017 / 9:27 pm

      Isn’t it! I love that Puddle Ducks allow for real life!

  23. February 27, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I’m quite sad we stopped swimming lessons with Toby when he was just over one and I’m ashamed to say we’ve never taken Gabe! It sounds like Puddle Ducks are great for Amy – I might have to look into whether they run any classes near here. #TriedTested

  24. Mudpie Fridays
    February 27, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Kipper has swimming lessons too and I must say the catch up lessons are invaluable, especially when they are little. But not all swim schools offer them which I think is shame. Its great she is doing so well such a valuable life skill. #TriedTested

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