Since I have started taking my eldest for swimming lessons, my youngest always wants to join her in the water.
So with that in mind I thought I would make more of an effort to take her swimming more regularly.
I work four days a week and like many working mums, I really want to make the most of Fridays, my precious day off with just my youngest now until she starts school so I was reluctant to sign up to fixed classes.
However, I had heard of Little Penguins some time back and had been meaning to give it a go for ages (especially as it is just down the road from me).
Situated at Abbey Stadium in Redditch, Little Penguins is an hour of soft play and an hour in the learning pool starting from 11am. Just £3 per child and no charge for adults, this gets you into both sessions.
The soft play features a bouncy castle, a large ball pit, some soft play shapes and a few balls and football net. At first I thought this would not be enough to keep my little girl entertained for an hour but I under-estimated the ability of 2 year olds to make the most of the simple things. The ball pit was a big hit and she loved jumping in from the side or burrowing herself (and me) in the balls. I also discovered I have a budding footballer and I was very impressed with her ball skills – definitely something to encourage and I may have to start looking at footballing classes.
Just before 12pm we headed down to the pool to get changed. There are mixed changing rooms with lots of little cubicles and several family changing rooms. I have never had a problem finding one but I have seen people waiting for the family rooms in the past. It is generally clean but I was disappointed to see that the no shoes rule is not really respected or enforced meaning you can end up with muddy feet. There are lots of lockers that require 20p (non-refundable) to use so make sure you have a 20 pence piece and get out things like shampoo etc. to use after your swim to keep poolside to save you having to use another 20p.
The sessions are run in the learning pool and only wristband holders (provided when you pay) can use this area. The pool is lovely and warm, ideal for anyone with babies and toddlers. My little girl loved jumping in from the side and floating on mummy’s back whilst swimming. She has little interest in learning to swim yet but loved splashing about and just generally having fun.
We spent a good 45 minutes in the pool before deciding to get changed. There are several showers, some with private cubicles which are also nice and warm. The family changing areas also handily have change tables and little seats you can strap your little ones in to stop them getting wet whilst you get changed.
Little Penguins is another thumbs up from me, so much so that the following week we took Daddy Family Life Worcestershire to join us.
Location: Abbey Stadium Sports Centre, Redditch
Days: Fridays (term time only)
Time: 11-12 (soft play); 12-1pm (swimming)
Cost: £3 per child
Parking: Plentiful and free
Changing tables available: Yes
Recommended Age: 0-5 years (although there are no real items in the soft play for babies and non-walkers)
For more information see here