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Dragon Finder

River Nene

Swimming with Dragons

Exciting pool sessions designed to help kids increase their confidence in the water whilst having great fun being active and learning more about amphibians and reptiles!

These FREE* sessions run for between 30 mins and 1 hour and are packed full of fun games using fantastic floating props designed to help children imagine what it’s like to be an amphibian or reptile living in the U.K. The sessions also cover key National Curriculum science topics of food chains, lifecycles and habitats.

During Swimming with Dragons you could be a newt finding food or a frog avoiding predators – the world is your oyster, or as we like to say: the pool is your newt egg!

The River Nene Dragon Finder team will be transforming swimming pools in various places along the River Nene using giant lilypad, snake and tadpole floats. Come along to a session and experience what it’s like to live in a pond.

Suitable for school groups, kids clubs and family groups of up to 30 people. Participants need to be able to swim 15 metres unaided or be accompanied by a responsible adult in the water at all times.

To see if we have any upcoming ‘Swimming with Dragons’ sessions, visit our events page, or please get in touch if your group would like to arrange your own session.

See our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ below for more detailed information.

*Note: some pools may charge an entry or hire fee to participants.

Swimming with Dragons: FAQ's

What is ‘Swimming with Dragons’?

‘Swimming with Dragons’ combines quick-fire identification quizzes with a series of games in the water, using foam float shapes and other pool-safe equipment, to help participants engage with key science topics whilst increasing their confidence in the swimming pool.

What will participants learn?
  • Confidence in the water
  • Identification features of several UK species and the differences between them: frogs, toads, newts, grass snake, frogspawn, toadspawn and tadpoles.
  • Elements of pond food chains, including the terms ‘predator’ and ‘prey’ (e.g. grass snakes eat frogs; frogs eat slugs; newts eat tadpoles; tadpoles eat algae/plants and insects)
  • Stages in the lifecycles of frogs, toads and newts
  • What the term ‘habitat’ means and some simple features of a pond environment 
What does the ‘Swimming with Dragons’ session involve?

A brief outline:

  • Once participants are in the water, we start with a short introduction to who we are and what we’ll be doing
  • This will be followed by games designed to build water confidence and incorporate the above learning points, involving floats shaped like frogs, newts, a snake, tadpoles and lilypads
  • Before each game, A3 photos of the species involved will be shown, pointing out identification features, and relevant terms (predator, prey, habitat) will be explained
  • Towards the end of the session there will be a quiz to see what participants have learnt
  • If there is time left there may be an additional game or free play with the floats at the end 
How long would the session last?

The length of the session can be altered to suit your requirements. The full program of activities is designed to take 1 hour in the water, but a 30 minute session would still cover aspects of all of the learning points mentioned above.

How many participants can take part?

A ‘Swimming with Dragons’ session is suitable for around 15 to 30 participants. If you wish to involve more participants we can arrange additional sessions, which can be on the same day or on different days, to suit your availability. All sessions are free of charge*. 

What are the staff requirements?

Your staff will be responsible for getting participants to and from the pool, supervising changing facilities and addressing any behaviour issues that arise during the session. If any participants are unable to swim 15m unaided, please ensure that they are accompanied by a responsible adult in the water at all times to provide assistance.

Froglife will run the session with one of our team leading from the side of the pool and, depending on participant numbers, one or two Froglife staff in the water to help with activity set up and supervision. 

A pool lifeguard will need to be on duty during the session.

What are the pool hire arrangements?

You will need to make arrangements to hire the swimming pool space and a lifeguard – unfortunately we are unable to cover any pool hire charges. We are usually able to integrate with existing school swimming lesson times so you may not incur any additional pool hire charges.

We recommend hiring the teaching pool or requesting the shallow end of the main pool to be roped off so that pupils and equipment don’t stray into the deep end. The pool area used would usually be about 10m x 15m, but this can vary depending on group size.

Froglife will bring all the floats and pool-safe equipment that we require, and we normally arrive at the pool at least 45 minutes before the session start time to prepare and set up.

If the pool staff would like to discuss the session further, we will be happy to help.

When can ‘Swimming with Dragons’ take place?

This is up to you! Let us know your preferred dates and times and we will try our best to fit in with your schedule.

Who are Froglife and what is the Dragon Finder project?

Froglife is a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on.

Dragon Finder is Froglife’s flagship project. It brings together practical conservation, surveying, data collection and interactive educational activities to help conserve reptiles and amphibians in the UK. The River Nene Dragon Finder Project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund until May 2019 and works across Peterborough, parts of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire.