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Hi there, my name is Sparky the Seal and I have been hearing so much about you. Cracker tells me you have been working hard and also being very good in lessons obeying Cracker's rules.

It's a very exciting time in my Level as I am such a great swimmer and can really start to show you how to move as quickly as I do in the water. Also Seals love to play so be prepared for lots of fun and frolics with your Teacher this term.

Let me tell you a little bit more …

What we shall learn with Sparky in Level 9 of the Aquatots Programme The serious bits for Mums & Dads

We ideally like your toddler to be over 2 years old by the time they start this level so they are physically able to do more complicated swims and skills, which demand more co-ordination.

In this Level, we introduce new variations of Swim, Breathe, Swim (S.B.S.) with the "forwards head tilt and chin lift" as the neck muscles are now more developed. This skill encourages your toddler to lift his/her head up and out of the water to breathe, by him/herself. We also introduce skills, which encourage independence like "swim triangles" and "kicking on a float" unaided. A lot often depends on your toddler's mood and willingness to participate but we do our best to encourage and make it fun!


Now a little bit more about me and my family More about Sparky and the Seal Family

My name is Sparky and I am a Grey Seal. As I am still young I am called a Pup. Mummy seals are called Cows and Daddy Seals are Bulls. We are the biggest land breeding Mammals in the UK which means we were born on land and not in the water.

If you are going to the Coast you might be lucky enough to see me or my friends as we live in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. When I was born I was covered in fluffy white fur which you might think isn’t a great camouflage but it’s because back in the ice age we would have been born in the snow. People say that grey seal pups are very cute to look at as we are almost like cuddly fluffy toys with big sad eyes.

It doesn’t last long though and just before I was a month old I had already developed my adult waterproof coat which is two layers of fur and thick blubber to keep my body warm. A bit like you when you pop on a wetsuit for swimming when it’s chilly.

Shall I tell you something funny? Our Scientific name is "Halichoerus grypus", which means "hooked-nose sea pig" as we do have slightly hooked shaped noses.

I am a Carnivore which means I eat meat. I like cod, herring and skate which you may have eaten too before. By the way, let me know if you see a Shark as they eat us for dinner so I will need to swim off and hide!!!!

I had to learn to swim very quickly as Mummy only stayed with me for 3 weeks and then I had to go swimming myself to get food. Luckily my body is perfect for swimming, as I have large webbed flippers in front and a tail at the back which helps propel me through the water. You will learn how to use your hands to paddle like my flippers, as you practise closed finger paddling. Just watch how much stronger your paddling is with your fingers closed.

We are super swimmers and we can dive up to 70 metres deep and can stay underwater for about 15 minutes. We can’t breathe underwater as we are mammals but we can stay under longer than many mammals as we have a special trick of slowing down our heart rate whilst we swim and that means we don’t have to take as many breaths as you would.

When I am moving very fast in the water, I tuck my front flippers by my side to be streamlined in the water. Have a go at that when you are practising push and glide on your back. I promise it will make you go very fast across the pool.