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BARNEY THE BEAVER Meet The Aquatots Characters

Hi there, my name is Barney and I am a Beaver. I shall be your Aquatots pal for Level 5 and my goodness, have I got a lot to show you. We Beavers know how to have fun.

We are going to show you how to start picking up toys under water? Sound like fun to you?

Let me tell you a little bit more …

What we shall learn with Barney in Level 5 of the Aquatots Programme The serious bits for Mums & Dads

Even more new and exciting skills are introduced at this level. For example, Diving for Toys in shallow water. New swimming skills are developed further to encourage independent early swimming rhythm and breathing pattern at the same time. This level is a time for Mummy & Daddy to really start "letting go". You have helped your child learn so many valuable skills so far and you have guided them perfectly in the water. This term we give our little ones that extra independence by letting go of them in the water more often and just giving that guidance when required. Such a proud experience for Mum & Dad watching as your child moves independently and purposefully for short periods in the water.


Now a little bit more about me and my family More about Barney & the Beaver Family

Beavers are a quite special, as we are able to live on land and in the water. Our bodies are specially designed for living both in the water and on the land.

Our fur is waterproof which means we can go swimming and not get wet. Our big tail is like a paddle, our front feet are like hands which allow us to work and hold onto things, just like yours do. Our hind feet have special webbed inserts between the toes to help us swim quickly. Our body's special design, means we can have fun both on the land and in the water. We Beavers are lucky, we have the best of both worlds !!

When we are on land our tail helps us to sit up straight, yet when we are swimming in the water it acts like a rudder, helping to steer us easily as we swim very fast. You will be able to use your arms and legs for turning in the water a lot more this term and won't need so much help from Mummy or Daddy when turning around. We can use our big tail to slap the water, make a big noise and let other Beavers know we are at home. You can try slapping the water with your hands, slapping like a Beaver. It's so much fun.

Our front feet, are like hands and we Beavers are always busy. If someone in your family is always busy working away, you might hear someone say that person is as “Busy as a Beaver”. We use our front hands to build dams where we live.

We like to live in ponds, lakes and rivers. We beavers like the water to be still, like in your swimming pool, so my Mummy and Daddy build dams to stop the water flowing fast through where we live. I have a very big swimming pool all of my own. The dam is usually built straight across the river. If the water is flowing fast, then we build the dam in a curved shape to make it stronger. My Mummy and Daddy are very clever at building things. I am learning too. Its great being a busy little beaver. My parents are so clever, they built us a beautiful house to live in. Our house is called a lodge and has three floors. The front door is usually underwater. We have to dive down under the water to come up into our house. I have other Uncles and Aunties that live in their own house near to ours. Its great to be one big family all together.

We can stay under water for up to 15 mins and we are very strong swimmers.

Beavers have very strong sharp teeth, we use our teeth to cut down trees. We are always cutting down trees to build new dams and repair our house. Our teeth never stop growing, so when we are working hard, our teeth sometimes get worn away from all the gnawing away at the tree trunks, our teeth are always nice and sharp.

I live with my Mummy and Daddy until I am about two years old, then I move out of our home and start to build my own lodge. I will build my home with wood from the trees that grow near where we live.

Once I move out, my mummy will have some more baby beavers, I will have lots of new brothers and sisters. A baby Beaver, is called a Kit and we learn to swim when we are only one month old.

We are most often found in North America, but we have lots of cousins who live in Europe and Asia too.

We are herbivores so we don't eat meat, but we love to eat the bark of our favourite trees, water lilies and pond weed which we will sometimes have to dive down to get hold of, grabbing in our front paws. A bit like you, when you dive to get a toy in your hands underwater.

Sometimes, we have to travel to find our favourite food, if there is lots we find in one place, we can get busy and build a canal to the where the food is found. We then float the food back to where our house is. When the winter comes, it is hard to find food, so during the summer, we collect and store branches underwater to eat in the winter. We also eat the underside of the branches in the damm too. We always have lots of food to eat.

I hope you have lots of fun learning to swim like a Beaver. Next term you are going to be off to meet my cousin, Oscar the Otter. He lives at the end of our river down by the sea. He is very clever and sometimes a little naughty. I am sure you are going to have lots of fun with him. It was lovely to meet you. Remember to dive down like a Beaver and to slap the water like we do with our tails. Its so much fun !!