Backyard Pools and Water Safety

You may be thinking about enrolling your child in swimming programs for kids due to a new backyard pool at your home or for summer safety. Having your child take swimming lessons is a great way to ensure safety. However, it is also important for parents to learn more about backyard pool safety so the right precautions can be taken. Below are a few tips to help you learn how to be safe while enjoying the backyard swimming pool.

Top Tips

If you have a backyard swimming pool, be sure to enclose the pool with a fence. Have a self-closing or self-latching gate and keep the gate closed at all times. It is also a good idea to create rules for the pool. An example of this could be, that a child has to have an adult with them at all times or even no glass in or around the swimming pool.

It is also recommended that you have a first aid kit,safety equipment including a ring buoy, and working phone nearby. This way, if an accident occurs, you are prepared. Time is of the essence and you need to be able to call for help at a moment’s notice. Also consider having an action plan in place. This could include emergency signals, emergency procedures and additional safety equipment on standby.

Any kiddie pools or small above ground pools should be emptied when not in use. This helps to avoid any accidents as children can easily wander off and fall in.

Never leave your child unattended at the swimming pool for any reason. It can take only seconds for a child to disappear underwater and drown. Non-swimmers should be advised to wear lifejackets or PFDs, however this is not a substitute for adult supervision.

Swimming Lessons

It is a good idea to always enroll children in swimming lessons. They can learn the basics and what to do in a water safety situation. Adults who are weak swimmers should also brush up on their skills as well as undergo first aid training. This will ensure the adult can act if a child or another individual is in danger. If you must leave the pool for any reason, take the kiddos with you. Even if your child has had swimming lessons, it is better to be safe and have them get out of the pool then to remain inside and a possible drowning could occur.

Swim during the day for the best visibility and avoid getting in the water if you hear thunder or see lightning. Always use sunscreen to protect the skin, even on cloudy days.

Overall, swimming lessons are an important part of water safety. At Zodiac Swim School, we offer quality swimming programs for kids of all ages. You can easily find a class to fit your child’s age or skill level. Have them learn the basic skills for swimming and continue training so they have the ability to stay safe in the water. Contact our office today to learn more.

Staying Safe this Summer in the Water

For many families in Canada, the summer months are spent on the water. From swimming to boating, there are many activities one can enjoy while the temperatures are sweltering. However, the summer is also a prime time for tragic water-related accidents and fatalities in the country. It is important to learn more about the risks and dangers of water in the summer to keep your family safe. From swimming programs offering lessons for children, to typical water safety measures, it is essential that you learn more to stay safe this summer.


Those at the greatest risk of drowning are young children ranging in age from 1 to 4 as well as men from 15 to 44. Because of this, it is recommended that young children enroll in swimming classes. Drowning is actually a leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1 to 4 in Canada. By enrolling your small child in swim lessons, they can learn how to be safe in the water, from floating to actually swimming.

Short Time Frame and Shallow Water

It only takes seconds for a small child to disappear and shallow water can cause drowning quickly. Children can drown in just centimeters of water if it covers their mouth and nose. Typical drowning occurrences take place in the bathtub, swimming pools, even toddler pools and at the beach. Children should be watched at all times to prevent them from wandering off and ending up in the water, even shallow water.

Avoiding Alcohol Consumption

When it comes to adult water-related fatalities, alcohol consumption plays a big factor. Adults seem to take more risks around the water when drinking alcohol which can include operating a boat or other pleasure crafts. Drinking alcohol can also play a role in accidents involving children as the parent may not be paying full attention to the child when in or around the water.

Active Supervision

Active supervision is key in preventing drowning. Adults should always supervise children in or around water, be it a swimming pool, bathtub, water park, beach, etc. Even if a child can swim, they should be watched to ensure they stay safe. Non-swimmers can help increase safety by wearing a life-jacket when in the water.

When it comes to backyard swimming pools, be sure to have barriers in place so small children cannot access the swimming pool unsupervised. Toddler pools should be emptied after use to avoid future accidents. When it comes to bathing time, adults should  supervise the child. Children should not be left unattended or in the hands of another child. Never become distracted as it only takes seconds for an accident to occur.

At Zodiac Swim School, we offer safety training courses and swim lessons to prepare everyone for the water. Our courses are open to children and adults of all ages and can help them learn to swim and teach them water safety. Contact our office today to learn more about the classes we provide and how to register.

Just keep swimming!

A Rescue Swimmer School candidate performs a body sweep to check for entanglements or injury in the pool at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Swimming programs are a perfect way to keep your child active year round. With technology and electronics so prevalent these days, it can be difficult to keep kids moving and staying fit. With swimming classes, most kids never feel that they are actually exercising but instead having fun. By enrolling your child early in swim classes, they have the ability to learn the proper technique from a qualified instructor which helps to ensure the safety as well as health of your child.

Why Qualified Instructors are Important

It is essential to have a qualified instructor teaching your child how to swim. A qualified instructor has the know-how to ensure your child learns the proper technique for strokes in the water as well as floating, kicks, etc. Your child will be learning from the best which means they will pick up good habits when it comes to swimming. This is important. A child needs to learn the right way to swim in order to fully exercise every muscle of the body.

When you choose a qualified instructor, you are ensuring that your child will learn the right way to swim as well as water safety. An instructor knows how to teach your child the correct way to stay safe in the water which protects their health and well-being.

Quality Exercise

With swimming classes, your child will be taking part in quality exercise. The heart, lungs, brain and most muscles of the body are worked during swim classes. The full-body workout helps kids to stay trim and fit. The children enjoy being in the water and having fun. By learning new swimming techniques, children are able to exercise muscles of the body that they would not normally be exercising. This promotes overall good health. The heart and lungs are strengthened as they are worked during swimming as the sport is considered a cardio workout.

Over time, your child will progress and be able to swim laps around the pool, dive and maybe even compete in competitions. Swimming is not only a healthy sport and promotes water safety, it also can be a way for your child to stay active for many years, even into adulthood. Many schools offer swim teams where children compete against others for medals or trophies. By learning how to swim at a young age, you are setting up your child for an option of competitive sport for many years to come, if they choose so.

Overall, your child can use swimming lessons as a way to exercise and stay active. Children are able to enjoy their time in the water and you feel more comfortable knowing that your child will be healthy in the long run and safe as they enjoy the swimming pool.

At Zodiac Swim School, we offer swimming lessons and programs for children of all ages. Contact our office today to see what programs we have available for your child based on age and skill level. Sign up and see how your child can learn quickly from a qualified instructor today.

What Makes a Good Summer Camp Leader?

Toronto summer camps offer children an exciting option for fun and activities during the summer months. When children take part in summer camp, be it overnight or day camp, they are introduced to camp counselors. These counselors will be responsible for the safety of your child during camp hours as well as creating relationships and memories that can last a lifetime. Summer camps look for particular individuals with characteristics that help to shape the young minds into the adults of tomorrow. Below are a few factors that are considered to be qualities that make a good leader.


First of all, a good summer camp leader needs to be friendly and mild-mannered. Working with kids can be difficult so the leader needs to be able to handle difficult situations in a calm manner. Camp counselors that are friendly are more likely to handle difficult situations with ease and are well liked by the children at camp.

Leadership Skills

A good leader at summer camp will also possess quality leadership skills. Leaders will have the ability to talk to others and see campers following through with instructions and activities. Leadership skills such as building self-confidence and encouraging others are key factors to being a good summer camp counselor. Kids need to feel empowered and encouraged to take part in activities offered at camp. Individuals with good leadership skills will be able to provide such encouragement and ensure the kids try new activities and have fun.

Works Well with Other Camp Counselors

A camp leader has to be able to work well with others, even difficult people. A good summer camp leader will be ready to communicate with others.. Communication is key to solving issues at camp between campers as well as other counselors. A good leader needs to be able to help others make decisions and work out issues without causing more controversy. Counselors need to feel confident in their peers and know that the right decisions are being made.


Another quality feature of a good leader is fairness. One should always work to be fair when taking on a leadership role. As the leader, an individual will be responsible for making major decisions. Camp counselors as well as campers need to know that the leader will be fair in their decision making and that no one will be treated better than anyone else. Fairness is important because if one is considered a fair leader, then others will show respect in the decision making process.

Overall, these are a few qualities a summer camp leader should possess. With these qualities, the leader will help drive the summer camp to success.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we make sure our camp counselors have quality leadership skills and know how to handle any situation. We want our campers to be protected by counselors who have the skills to promote self-confidence and self-esteem. Contact our office today to learn more about the camp options we offer.

Summer Day Camp Programs that are perfect for your creative child

When it comes to summer camp in Toronto, parents will find there are many options for kids to enjoy. But how do you choose the right summer camp for your child? It is important to take note of what activities your child enjoys. Are they creative? If so, your child will have plenty of options for summer camp. You can choose a specialized program that features a particular activity such as music or theater or go for a program that is well-rounded, exposing your child to a variety of activities. Read on to find the right programs for your creative child.

Creative Expression

When you find that your child loves to draw and paint, then they are expressing their creative side. A camp that specializes in creativity will be the perfect choice for your child to enjoy activities after school is over. With camp counselors on hand, your child will be exposed to activities to help them explore their creativity through a variety of mediums including paint, sculpting, drawing, etc.

Kids love to be creative and get their hands dirty, but in many cases, parents worry about the mess or question what type of activities to provide. At camps that offer creative programs, such as Creative Kidz via Zodiac Day Camp, children have access to several art variations including printmaking, mixed media, decoupage, sand art and more.

Additional Programming Types

When parents think of a creative camp, they often think art is the only subject considered. However, it is not the only option when it comes to being creative. Kids can be creative in the kitchen and taking part in a culinary program is a perfect solution. Children can learn more about nutrition as well as food prep, kitchen safety and how to prepare a meal, not to forget, table manners!

Another area of creativity lies in dance. With dance classes at camp, children can learn how to develop their own creativity as well as self-expression. Children gain more self-confidence and simply have fun.

Fashion and design are additional aspects involved in camp programming. Campers can learn how to make clothes and jewelry, showing their creativity in the process. Children can learn how to sew, sketch and design, exploring art in this manner.


Many times, creativity can also be found with exploration. Other camp programs can include such subjects as magic or nature. With magic, children learn how to take everyday items and use them to create illusions. Exposing kids to science and the outdoors can also open the creative floodgates and have children thinking like they never have before.

Overall, summer camp can be a quality creative outlet. At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer several programming options to give your child activities to enjoy. Our Creative Kidz program is perfect for finding the right activity for your child with specialized programs based on creative subjects. Contact our office today to find out more about our programs offered and learn how to enroll your child in an upcoming session.

Summer Camps: How Did it All Begin?

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Why Summer Camp is Worth Every Penny

Kids summer camp is an option that parents have to provide entertainment as well as activities for their children to enjoy once school is over. We have all heard of summer camp, but where did it all start? Learning more about the history of summer camp and where it all began can be fun as well as interesting, especially if you are considering placing your child in a program this summer. Read on to see just how summer camp started and where it is today.

The Beginning

Camp programs for kids began as a boys-only option in the 1870s and 1880s. Boys were able to ‘rough it’ which was considered a way to build character. In the beginning, there were less than 100 camps but over time, the popularity of summer camp began to grow. By the early 1900s, the camps were considered a way for children to develop in a quality manner.

  1. Stanley Hall is a psychologist who wrote a book in 1904 titled Adolescence. In this book, Hall describes how being in nature can help with child development. Because of this book, camps would boom, going from 100 across the United States in 1900 to over 1,000 by 1918. Camps did turn away a bit from the ‘rough it’ aspect and began to offer movies, radio shows and sports lessons such as tennis.

Canadian Summer Camps

Once summer camps grew in popularity in the United States, Canada began to take notice. By the 1930s, only a few summer camps existed in Canada due to the smaller population. By 1932, the Ontario Camping Association was created to provide a quality summer camp program model for kids in Canada. Officials wanted to focus on balanced programming, a quality diet, facilities and teaching kids how to respect and have an appreciation for the environment.

World War II Affects

By the time World War II began, the summer camps in North America were hard to maintain in regards to being a standard camp and isolating kids from the world. Many camps began offering combat training as a result of the war as part of the recreational aspect of camp. By the time the war ended, the idea of summer camp began to change. Summer camp became a need for children and in Canada, thousands of camps began to be created and the OCA grew in size. Camps began to become specialized, offering focused activities such as music or sports.

Today, summer camps are quite diversified. Parents will find camps that are in nature and camps offered in busy downtown areas. Specialized camps exist still today, with popular themes such as sports, theater and music along with options for co-ed or gender specific.

At Zodiac Day Camp, we offer a number of summer camp programs, both day camps and overnight options. Our Kid-Vantage Adult & Tot program is open to 2 to 4 year old campers and our drop-off program to 4 to 6.5 year olds, featuring unique activities filled with fun. Zodiac Day Care provides an opportunity for a half and three-quarter day drop-off programs for 2.5 to 4 year olds who receive a fun-filled variety program. Our Specialty programs are a mix of half day variety and half day specialty and are for children ages 6.5 to 12.5 and include a nice variety of activities including music and sports. Contact us to learn more about what program would suit your child the best!

A Snapshot of a Typical Day at Summer Day Camp

Summer camp programs are an excellent way to keep your kids busy once school comes to an end. During the school year, your child becomes accustomed to daily activities and scheduling. Once school is over, they soon look for something to do. With summer day camp, you can send your child to a facility for a few hours each day where they can take part in fun activities and make new friends.

If you are unfamiliar with summer day camp, it is basically a program where your child can attend camp for a half or full day. Camp counselors and specialist lead fun activities and mealtimes are enjoyed with new friends. Overall, your child can participate in a number of activities while at camp, from sports to swimming and arts & crafts. Learn more about a typical day at summer day camp below.

A full day camp program will begin usually around 8:45 am and continue till around 4:00pm. Children arrive at camp and are taken to their appropriate class where they will enjoy activities with kids their own age.

Depending on the type of camp your child is enrolled in, they will take part in various activities. This can include cooking, dance, fashion design, music, computers, magic, nature, sports, outdoor recreation and more. The day will be scheduled and consist of quality activities at certain time frames. Children will be excited each day to attend summer day camp as there will always be something new to enjoy.

During full day camp, children will take part in AM snack time as well as a hot/cold lunch and PM snacks. Kids love snack time and enjoy lunch time with their new friends.

Also included in summer camp are special programs including themed days. Children are able to dress up or take part in special activities based on the theme presented by the camp.

A typical day at Day Camp may look like this::

8:45 a.m – arrival

9:00 a.m. – planned activity such as arts & crafts

10:00 a.m. – swimming classes based on age group and level

11:00 a.m. – planned activity such as science and robotics

12:00 p.m. – lunch time

1:00 p.m. – organized sports

2:00 p.m. – planned activity such as music and drums
3:00 p.m. – planned activity such as outdoor adventure
4:00 p.m. – Dismissal

The daily schedule will of course vary based on the type of program that your child is enrolled in. When registering your child, take a tour of the facilities so you can see firsthand the camp and the activities on schedule. By learning the schedule, you can choose a summer day camp that will provide activities that your child will be interested in.

Overall, it is a welcome break to send your child to summer camp. They have fun and you relax knowing they are busy and entertained. Contact Zodiac Day Camp to learn more about summer camp options and how you can keep your child busy this summer. There are many options to choose from based on age group as well as activity type.

Bronze Cross: Taking the second step in the path to becoming a lifeguard

The Lifesaving Society has a series of programs created to help young teens learn water rescue techniques as well as first aid, progressing to lifeguard status. Your teen can begin the programs once 12 to 13 years of age, depending on their skill level. With swimming programs in place, your child can learn the essential steps to becoming a lifeguard and gain employment in the teenage years. Such skills are considered life-saving as well as a way for your child to be better prepared for their own survival as well as protecting others in the water.

The very first step in Lifesaving  swim levels is the Bronze Star. This is a starter course and open to 12 year olds or teens of an older age who wish to begin their path towards becoming a lifesaver. The next step up is the Bronze Medallion course which is open to 13 year olds or 12 year old who have completed the Bronze Star course.

This course provides the student with an understanding of the lifesaving techniques involving four components: judgement, fitness, knowledge and skill. Students will learn how to tow and carry a victim as well as defense methods for when the victim is conscious and fighting back despite rescue attempts. Students also learn how to handle unconscious victims. Endurance is worked on as well as stroke efficiency.

Bronze Cross

To take their skills to the next level and work towards lifeguard status, your teen will need to enroll in the Bronze Cross class. This course provides further insight and helps your teen get closer to the goal of becoming a lifeguard. The class builds on what was learned in the Bronze Medallion program, providing a more complex curriculum of advanced lifesaving skills. One example of what is learned can be seen in the difference between a lifesaver and lifeguard as well as how to manage a deep water spinal injury.

Standard First Aid CPR C

Included in this course is the need for training involving Standard First Aid CPR C courses. This training course will cover aspects of first aid as well as CPR. Your teen will learn how to handle common injuries including spinal injury, bone and joint injury, how to handle medical emergencies and the legal implications surrounding the administering of first aid.

Your teen will be provided a CPR mask and gloves as these are personal protective equipment items that are needed for use in the course as well as during evaluations. Once these courses are completed, your teen can move on to the next stage of training.

At Zodiac Swim School, we provide access to such lifeguard training courses so your teen has the ability to enhance their water safety and rescue skills with the opportunity to become a skilled lifesaver or lifeguard in the future. Learn more about each of these courses to see how your child can benefit. Once enrolled, your teen will begin to learn life-saving techniques that they will retain throughout their lifetime with the ability to gain employment as a lifeguard in their future.

Do you want to become a Lifeguard? Get started with the Bronze Medallion Course

Becoming a lifeguard is a good choice for teens who enjoy swimming and want to become involved in a leadership role within the community. As a parent, you can encourage your child to become a lifeguard by enrolling them in swimming programs at a young age, then focusing on lifesaving levels as they get older. With quality programs available, your child will have the ability to learn how to swim effectively, then move on to more advanced swimming and the ability to save lives.

Bronze Medallion

One level of training via the Lifesaving Society Program available at Zodiac Swim School is the Bronze Medallion. This course provides an understanding of lifesaving principles when it comes to water rescue. Judgement, knowledge, fitness and skill are the four components involved in this educational program. As a rescuer, your teen will learn the proper technique for tows and carries of an individual from the water as well as defense methods and releases when involved in a dangerous rescue. Sometimes the victim is conscious and defensive or unconscious, so the rescuer has to learn the many scenarios involved in lifesaving water rescue techniques. Endurance and stroke efficiency are also elements that are worked on during classes.

Emergency First Aid CPR B

This class also includes first aid courses so the student has a general knowledge of first aid needs including CPR. The goal is to teach the student how to handle an emergency situation without any confusion or panic. Common injuries are covered along with providing core skills to reduce shock when administering care to another individual. Teens will also learn how to recognize a cardiovascular emergency and how to respond appropriately.

Students are taught how to respond with first aid care for infants, children and adults, which is helpful for any emergency situation. During this class, personal protective equipment is required and used during the evaluation of each program. This includes a CPR mask as well as gloves.

These classes are open to teens 13 years of age or older. A 12 year old can take this certification class if they have completed the Bronze Star program, a prerequisite of the Bronze Medallion training, though not required for older students.

Overall, such certifications will help your child stay safe in the water, but also give them the ability to help others. Teens with such training can go on to take further lifesaving programs and eventually go on to work in lifeguard positions at Zodiac Swim School summer programs or other areas. Training is also considered a leadership skill and works well to boost self-esteem as well as surround your child with others who have common goals.

At Zodiac Swim School, we offer several certification programs to help your child learn lifeguarding as well as first aid skills. Depending on the age and skill level of your teen, you can see your child navigate through the various programs and become a lifeguard for our summer programs or in another capacity. Learn more about our programs today so you can enroll your child in first aid and lifesaving society certification classes.

Explore the “Taste of Tamarack” and the experience of an overnight summer camp

Summer camps for kids is a great way to ensure your children are staying active once school is over for the year. After school ends, children look for something to do and to stay active. With summer camp, you can enroll your child in full day or half day programs or even consider an overnight option. For children ages 7 to 12, Zodiac Day Camp provides Camp Tamarack, an overnight summer camp where kids take part in fun summer camp activities, water sports and more.

What is Camp Tamarack?

Camp Tamarack is an overnight camp owned by the Directors/Owners of Zodiac Day Camp located in Ontario along a private lake in Muskoka. Last summer, the camp hosted campers and families of Zodiac Day Camp and now look forward to having campers move up to becoming full fledged campers of Tamarack. A multi-faceted program has been created and promotes camp spirit, friendships and having fun. Campers of the 7 to 12 year old range have the ability to stay for 1 week or 2 weeks,  3 weeks, 4 weeks or 7 weeks. Younger campers or those who are inexperienced in overnight stays also have options so they too can be introduced into camp life.

Acorn Program

This program is for kids ages 7 to 12 who wish to participate in the full camp experience. Choose a time frame for your child to attend, from one week to fifteen days. You have the option to extend the stay of your child when choosing a shorter time frame. You may find that your child is not ready to come back home just yet once they experience camp.

Mini Acorn Program

There is also another version of the above program, known as the Mini Acorn Program. Campers who are ages 6 to 11 this year can register for the mini program for this summer. This is a weekend opportunity to give campers a ‘Taste of Tamarack’. The three day, two night opportunity is reasonably priced and can help introduce your child to summer camp.

The mini weekend sessions are planned for this August so there is still plenty of time to enroll your child. During the weekend, your child will have access to the same wonderful facilities as if they were a full fledged camper. The caring and committed staff members are ready to assist your child in adjusting to camp life as well as providing a wonderful overall experience.

Children will have quality accommodations, food provided, fun programs to take part in and receive a Camp Tamarack shirt once camp is over. Your child will have the chance to  make new friends and have fond memories of camp during this weekend experience.

Find out more about camp and what Zodiac Day Camp and Camp Tamarack offers during the summer months by visiting our website or contacting our camp office. We are happy to help you learn more about our many camp options, treating your child to the wonderful experience known as summer camp!