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Last modified: 24 May 2022 1:30pm

Two mothers with babies and an instructor playing with coloured balls in an area separated by floating foam barriers

Expectant mothers, new parents and young children have been flocking to the Selwyn Aquatic Centre to enjoy new classes helping them get active and have fun.

The trial of three new weekly pool sessions, Aqua Natal – for expectant mothers, Aqua Fit for Parents and a Sensory Time for young children, have proved a big hit, Council Aquatics Programmes and Events Manager Sammy Lawson says. All three rapidly booked out and have been expanded or have plans to expand.

Aqua Fit for Parents is a first of its kind programme in New Zealand, which she first thought of while lifting children during a song in an adults and children swim class a few years ago, Ms Lawson says.
“I thought, ‘This is quite a work out, I wonder if there would be interest in doing a work out, but with babies?’ I asked the parents and they all said, ‘Yes’. It’s more about the parents doing the work out, while the kids have fun. For half of it the kids are in a floating ring and the other half of it they’re the weight for the exercises.”

With no suitable pool the idea, along with the long-standing plan to run Aqua Natal – a popular programme at other pools – had to wait until the Selwyn Aquatic Centre extension when changes to the programme pool made both possible. While the first Aqua Fit for Parents session booked out in 10 minutes and Aqua Natal quickly had to be expanded to meet demand, Sensory Time proved the biggest hit, she says.

The Tuesday morning sessions had to be doubled from one hour to two when 80 people showed up to the first one. Ms Lawson says she built on similar classes in other places and her own training in speech and language therapy to create the play sessions for parents and children under five.
“We’ve gone all out really on different sensory activities, bubbles, mirrors, funnels, lights, things that move, with a teacher there to support.”

Sensory Times 9–11am Tuesdays,
Aqua Natal 6.15–7pm Tuesdays
Aqua Fit for Parents 9.30–10.30am Thursday

For more information or to enquire about booking call 03 347 2734.