Some children's faces lit up with excitement while others' scrunched with concern as water splashed around them Wednesday morning at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center.
The nine young children, each sitting in the lap of a parent, were pretending to make cookies, splashing the surface of the 1-foot-deep wading pool as they mixed some make-believe batter.
The Lawrence Parks and Recreation parent-child swimming lessons, for children 6 months to 3 years old, are meant to make young children more comfortable in the water.
Some of the children already felt at home in the pool, but others were more wary, such as Julie Hayward's 20-month-old son, Andrew.
"He hates water," Hayward said. "But I think seeing other kids get in, he's been more willing to get in there."
After the cookie game, instructor Jason Smarker led the parents and children into the deeper section of the family pool, to do the hokeypokey and other musical games. The worried looks on some faces turned to smiles.
Erick Spears' 2-year-old son, Tyler, smiled during the entire lesson.
"He has always kind of been a water kid," Spears said.
After the games, Smarker moved on to the day's biggest step. He told the parents to briefly dip the children underwater, remembering to smile and act excited when they pulled the kids back up.
"When they bring them back up, they're confused," Smarker said. "They're like, 'I don't know what's going on.' But if the parents are happy and they're smiling, their kids are going to be happy."
He said he had seen several children overcome fears about the water during his two years teaching the two-week class.
"I had one girl, the first day of class she was crying in the water, but by the end she was laughing and smiling," he said.
The class also aims to get the children to feel comfortable in the water when they're separated from their parents, so they can move onto higher levels of lessons.
Parks and Recreation offers six more levels of swimming lessons for children, as well as adult classes. Classes run year-round, including evening and weekends during the fall and spring. The evening classes include eight 40-minute sessions for $30, and the weekend classes include five 50-minute sessions for $19.
Enrollment for the fall classes begins Sunday with the release of the fall Parks and Recreation activity guide.
People can enroll online at http://lprd.org or go to the Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive.
Swimming pool fees
Lawrence city commissioners have advanced a proposal to raise pool entrance fees to $3 and $4.Starting next year, children older than 4, teenagers and seniors will pay $3 per visit.Right now, children pay $1.75, while teens and seniors pay $2.50.The price for adults will go up a quarter, from $3.75 to $4.That's a lower increase than city staff originally proposed. They recommended everyone pay $4 per visit.The changes will leave the Parks and Recreation Department with $47,000 less in next year's budget.That money will come from other Parks and Recreation projects.Lawrence city commissioners plan to finalize the changes when the 2008 budget is approved in August.