A toddler learns basic water skills as she floats on a board in her local YMCA pool as part of the L'il Dippers program.

You're never too young to enjoy the water! For children between 6 months and 5 years old, the YMCA Li'l Dippers program will introduce your baby, toddler, or preschooler to the basics of swimming.

We have developed each level in Li'l Dippers with your child's natural growth and development in mind. We know each child is unique, so our YMCA swim instructors encourage your child to progress at their own pace to reach their potential.

There are eight levels in the YMCA L'il Dipper program: Splashers, Bubblers, Bobbers, Floaters, Gliders, Divers, Surfers, and Dippers.

Explore all the levels to find the one that's right for your child.

Level 1 – Splashers (ages 3 – 18 months)

As the first level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Splashers is a great way to introduce babies 3-18 months old to the water. Parents get in on the fun by participating with their children.

At this early stage, children are still learning a lot about their environment. The goal of Splashers is to make children and parents comfortable in the water together, and (of course) to learn to splash with arms and legs!

Splashers is led by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who knows how to create a fun, stimulating environment for babies to get their splash on!

Level 2 – Bubblers (ages 18 months to 3 years)

The second level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Bubblers, is for children 18 months - 3 years old. We work with you to introduce your child to new movements in the water, including holding the wall, kicking feet, and blowing bubbles. Parents get in on the fun by participating with their children.

Bubblers is led by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who knows how to create a fun, stimulating environment for you and your little one, encouraging bonding and skill development in the water.

Level 3 – Bobbers (ages 3-5 years)

The third level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Bobbers, is for children 3-5 years old who are new to swimming. Children are encouraged to attend without a parent.

In Bobbers, we'll continue to introduce fun activities in the water to activate the movements that will eventually lead to swimming. By the end, your child will be comfortable having their face in the water, and will have learned basic movements while being supported.

Bobbers is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will help your children feel comfortable in the water without a parent.

Level 4 – Floaters (ages 3-5 years)

The fourth level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Floaters, is for children 3-5 years old who have completed Bobbers or equivalent.

In Floaters, we introduce floating and gliding, and continue to practice other movements. Through structured activities and play, children will also become comfortable submerging themselves under water.

Children are encouraged to attend independent of their parent. Floaters is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will continue to encourage your child to build their confidence in the water.

Level 5 – Gliders (ages 3-5 years)

The fifth level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Gliders, is for children who are 3-5 years old and have completed Floaters or show an equivalent level of competence.

In Gliders, children will combine kicking with gliding to learn how to propel themselves through the water.

Gliders is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will encourage your child's progression. Children are encouraged to attend without a parent.

Level 6 – Divers (ages 3-5 years)

The sixth level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper program, Divers, is for children who are 3-5 years old and have completed Gliders or show an equivalent level of skill.

In Divers, children will combine all the skills they have learned so far to swim on their front and back unaided for a distance of 10 metres. Your child will also learn to jump into and float in deep water unassisted.

Divers is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will tailor the learning experience to your child's needs. Children are encouraged to attend without a parent.

Level 7 - Surfers (ages 3-5 years)

The seventh level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper swim program, Surfers, is for children 3-5 years old who have completed Divers or show an equivalent level of competence.

In Surfers, we'll continue to help your child develop front and back swimming skills and build up to a distance of 15 metres. And now that your child is comfortable jumping into the water, we'll work on some creative, fun entries — ker-splash!

Surfers is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will share their love of swimming with your child. Children are encouraged to attend independent of their parent.

Level 8 – Dippers (ages 3-5 years)

The eighth and final level of our YMCA Li'l Dipper swim program, Dippers, is for children who are 3-5 years old and have completed Surfers or show an equivalent skill level.

In Dippers, we'll introduce the front and back crawl as well as underwater swimming. Children at this level will have achieved a foundation of swimming skills and be able to front swim a distance of 25 metres.

Dippers is taught in small groups by a certified YMCA Swim Instructor who will inspire your child to reach their potential in the water. Children are encouraged to attend independent of their parent.