How Goldfish Swim School Got Us Through Winter

If you’ve been here before, you know that we live in Chicago, where winters can be loooong. When Goldfish Swim School reached out in February & asked if we wanted to try out a couple months of swimming lessons, I jumped at the opportunity! I was really looking forward to getting the kids active & out of the house during the harsh cold.  Not only did it cure our cabin fever, but it prepared them for summer with some water safety & basic swimming knowledge.

This was our first time taking swimming lessons, but the kids love it & are learning so much! Here’s a video with a quick glimpse of what Goldfish Swim School has to offer.

& here’s all the info about Goldfish Swim School & our experience! We were given two months of free lessons to create this post, but all opinions are my own :)



The atmosphere at Goldfish Swim School is inviting, friendly & fun. The space features bright colors & a laid back beach vibe, making it perfectly welcoming for kids, especially those that may be afraid of the water. On our first day, one of the staff members gave us a tour of the facility so we would feel comfortable & be familiar with everything it had to offer on day one. She made me feel confident that I could go to any of the staff members with questions or concerns.

Facility Features

There are a number of facility features that make Goldfish amazing. As this is our first experience with swimming lessons, I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I thought the following features were convenient & added to our positive experience!

1. Cubbies

Goldfish-Swim-SchoolThe easy-to-reach cubbies  foster independence by allowing them to store their belongings on their own. Gio & Gabi loved bringing their own backpacks & finding spots for them :)

2. Showers to Rinse Off


Rinse off chlorine in the poolside showers before heading inside to get dressed! They feature soap dispensers so the kids can get nice & clean before heading home. This was one of Gio & Gabi’s FAVORITE parts about swim class, haha. It was so hard to get them out, they just wanted to dance in them all morning! If you saw our IG stories, you know exaaaactly what I’m talking about!!

3. Hair drying station


This is especially helpful in the winter, so you don’t have to go out in the snow with wet hair! They have an adorable setup with a surfboard for the kids to sit while you dry their hair. How cuuuuute is this!?!? Gabi loved being pampered, while Gio was just there for the “blaster,” haha.

4. Swim Suit Dryer

The kids thought this was so magical! You just throw your suit in & push down on the top to make it work. Ta daa! No wet suits to carry home!

5. Private & Family Style Dressing Rooms

The dressing rooms have fun colored doors, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. There’s a little bench inside where you can set your bag(s) & hooks where you can hang towels or wet suits when changing.

6. Chairs Near the Viewing Window

Goldfish-Swim-SchoolParents can relax in front of the viewing window while their kids are in the pool. I did a mommy & me class with Gabriella, so I was always in the pool with her– but Gio loved when dad came to do the class with Gabi & I could cheer him on behind the glass :)

7. Kids area


The kids’ area has toys, a blackboard, books & a fish tank. It’s the perfect place for siblings to play during swim class!



8. Heated Pool

Sub-zero temps are no match for the 90 degree heated indoor pools. You can enjoy lessons year round!!


Goldfish offers lessons from 4 months to 12 years old. Their instructors offer their expert guidance in proper swim techniques while also demonstrating & teaching water safety. With a maximum of 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio, you can feel confident that your child is getting the attention, experience, guidance and instruction they deserve.

The kids each get 30 minute lessons once a week, conveniently at the same time even though they are in different classes.

Gio is in the Junior 1 class for 3-4 year olds where he’s learning things like:

  • Flutter kicking with  a barbell
  • Breath control in underwater dips
  • Superman Glides
  • Sea Otter Back Floats
  • Crab walking along the wall
  • Climbing out of the pool using the “fin, fin, belly, flipper” method

Gabi is in the Mini 2 class (I’m in the water with her) for 16-35 month olds where she’s learning things like:

  • Comfort in the water & in a class setting
  • Kicking with a barbell
  • Pulling paddle swim
  • Wall hold
  • Crab walking along the wall
  • Water dips
  • Superman Glides

Among these techniques, they are learning other water safety skills– like how to turn right back toward the wall after they jump off the side, for example.

As a former teacher, I love how each exercise is designed so that children learn through play. In Gabi’s class, they would swim toward these floating plastic balls where they would reach & grab them (teaching them to reach & pull) & toss them into a plastic bin. All the exercises were fun & engaging, & even Gabi (who is typically very shy/reserved) was eager to participate!

The kids get progress reports to keep parents informed on their skills, & will get moved up as they master all the skills in that level. Gio LOVED getting little ribbons when he mastered a skill, he was always so proud to show me!


Goldfish offers a number of different classes at different times throughout the week. Whichever class you choose, your child will have the same teachers every week. This gives the kids the opportunity to build a relationship & trust with their instructors, setting them up for success in the pool.

One of the things I loved (& utilized a few times!) was the make-up sessions they offer for missed swim classes. The kids got sick once or twice, & on another occasion I was traveling, so we had to do a few make-up sessions. You can schedule make-up sessions up to one week out, or you can also exchange make-up lessons for a Family Swim pass & go at your convenience. Either way, you aren’t missing out if you can’t make it to your scheduled swim class.

More Fun at Goldfish

In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish offers Parties & Family Swim.

Parties at Goldfish Swim include:
  • Invitations with a map to our facility and matching envelopes
  • Two hours of private access to the facility
  • Certified lifeguards on duty to oversee all pool activities
  • Cupcakes and beverages for the children
  • Centerpieces, balloons and tropical decorations
  • Forks, napkins, cups, plates and table coverings

The best part about letting Goldfish host your party is they take care of the details, setup & cleanup for you! You can just focus on having fun with your kids & leave the logistics to them. We all know how stressful kids birthday parties can be, so why not just take the hassle out of the process?

Experience Family Swim

If you aren’t sure your kids will like swimming lessons, Family Swim is a great opportunity to “get their feet wet” & let your kids explore the facilities on their own terms. It can be a fun outing for the kids on a cold or rainy day, while introducing them to the water and the idea of swimming in a pool. After your Family Swim, you can decide whether or not you want to enroll, based on your experience. If you already have an experienced swimmer, you can relax in the warm water while they get a bit of energy out!


Overall, we loved our experience with Goldfish Swim School & the kids learned a ton. They aren’t quite swimming on their own completely, but these perpetual lessons are really ensuring that they get weekly swim practice, feel comfortable in the pool, & understand water safety. A huge plus from this program was that it offered meaningful learning experiences during the winter when it was too cold to do anything else!

If you have any questions about Goldfish Swim School,  I’d love to help answer them!  Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail & I’ll get back to you.

I was provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School for two months in exchange for my honest review.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.