Liam’s been loving his swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School – we are too! I’m sure that learning to swim can be a slow work-in-progress, especially with littles. Jamie and I have watched Liam in his last several lessons. We both noticed that while he loves the lessons and going underwater, he isn’t a huge fan of getting water in his eyes. A big topic of discussion lately has been whether or not to get him a pair of swim goggles.
Personally, I’m not a fan of swim goggles. I’ve never liked or worn them. I don’t like how tight they have to be on my face and I can never seem to get a good seal. Jamie, on the other hand, wears his often. We joined the YMCA this year and Jamie likes wearing his swim goggles when he does laps in the pool. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But we ordered him a pair of swim goggles to try out anyway. It wasn’t a huge investment, so we figured it was worth giving them a shot.
But first, we gave them a test run in the bathtub.
Once the bathtub test was a success, we brought them to Liam’s next lesson at Goldfish.
He dove right in with no hesitation. No longer worried about the water getting in his eyes, Liam could focus more on holding his breath and kicking his legs. Liam’s only had his swim goggles for a couple of lessons, but already, we’ve noticed a huge difference. It’s amazing how one little piece of equipment can make such a big difference.
The goggles are completely Liam-approved! And clearly, they’re not only for the pool or the bathtub. Liam proudly sports his around the house and in the car. They’re not the fashion statement I would personally make, but who am I to argue with it if they work?
Does your child wear goggles while swimming? Have you noticed if they help or not?
Also, I wanted to point out that May is Water Safety Awareness Month! As a parent, water safety is something that’s super important to me. It’s one of the reasons why we want Liam to learn hot to swim. Goldfish Swim School is hosting water safety events on May 20 from 4-6 p.m. at both the Dublin and Westerville locations. It sounds like so much fun, and it’s FREE! I know that Liam and I are going to try to make it out there, so hope to see you there too!
This post is part of our partnership with Goldfish Swim School. As always, all the photos, words and opinions in this blog are completely my own.
We’re still talking about our trip to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis around here. It was such a jam-packed fun day and far exceeded all our expectations. Admittedly, my experience with children’s museums are fairly limited. But the fact that there was plenty for everyone (even adults) makes it a win in my book.
Here’s part 2 of our visit that I promised you. We have so many photos from our visit to the children’s museum that there were just too many for a single blog post. I also plan to recap our entire trip to Indianapolis in a later post. It may be a couple weeks, though, since we’re officially less than two weeks away from C’s due date.
When I last left you, we were learning about agriculture, geology and water ways in the ScienceWorks exhibit. From there, we stopped so Liam could take a spin in a race car before checking out the Playscape area.
The Playscape was the perfect place for Liam to run off some extra energy. Designed for ages 0-5, there are plenty of hands-on and sensory activities for little ones. Liam was instantly drawn to the large water table “creek” they have towards the entrance. They do have water-proof smocks available. Of course, my kid refuses to use one so his shirt got soaked. Thankfully, they have blow dryers nearby to help you dry off.
Liam was a little intimidated by the climbing/play section, but he eventually found his way through it. The more adventurous kids can find their way to a sailboat at the top. Even if they don’t, there are plenty of ways to get up, down and around all the leaf steps. Liam’s favorite, though, was the Sandbox. He could have stayed there all afternoon if we’d let him.
There’s also an art studio and a music room. While we were there, they even had a music class going on. I think if we lived in Indianapolis, we’d be regulars in the Playscape. If you’ve got really little ones, this area also has private nursing areas, family bathrooms and diaper-changing stations. They also have a separated section for babies. This way, they have a safe place to play and explore apart from the bigger kids.
While Liam played in the sand, I snuck over to check out the Power of Children exhibit. The exhibit is recommended for ages 8 and older, because it deals with some pretty heavy stories from the last century. It takes you on the journey of three children – Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White. Really they’re three incredible stories about discrimination and intolerance. All of which we can learn so much from. Not only does the exhibit do a great job at telling their stories, but it also highlights how we can make a difference for the future.
Then, we headed off to China. Okay, not literally. Although I would love that. Maybe someday. The children’s museum’s Take Me There: China exhibit takes you soaring across the ocean, high over the Great Wall and lands in China.
Once inside, the exhibit introduces you to Chinese music, art and modern culture. You can eat noodles at a Chinese restaurant, feed a baby panda bear, practice writing your Chinese characters or play a Chinese instrument. Jamie and I were able to explain to Liam about how his Tai Po (my grandmother) spent her childhood in China, returning to the United States as a teenager.
We remembered that we hadn’t had time to visit the Beyond Spaceship Earth exhibit before lunch, so we headed back down the the first floor. Here, kids can don space suits, fix their space shuttles and learn about life aboard a spaceship. There are plenty of hands-on activities in this area, so you could easily spend a good chunk of time learning about NASA and space exploration. If you have the time, you can also check out the Schaeffer Planetarium.
Since this was towards the end of our day, we were all a little tired from walking around. The theater was the perfect opportunity to sit down for a minute and take a break. Currently, the Schaefer Planetarium has the famous Liberty Bell 7 on display in the theater. It was pretty cool to see up close. We only stayed to see a small portion of the video (because, toddlers) but it was interesting to see some of Gus Grissom’s story. There’s even a light show to go along with it.
Next to the space exhibit is the Treasures of the Earth exhibit. This exhibit was probably one of my favorites, because it offered a really good look at some of the world’s most incredible artifacts. Kids can “explore” a deep sea shipwreck, complete with the required scuba gear to find it. Or navigate their way through an Egyptian tomb. Or help reconstruct an ancient Terra Cotta Warrior (something that’s on my bucket list to see in person someday). Just a warning – those Terra Cotta Warrior pieces are quite a bit heavier than they appear.
There’s also a science lab in this exhibit. We missed seeing any work actually being done here, but it was still pretty cool to see a real pirate cannon on display. Apparently the cannon is from a ship commandeered by Captain Kidd in 1699.
We needed another break after this. We stumbled upon the Fireworks of Glass exhibit. We’d passed this area several times throughout the day, but it was always crowded with families. In the late afternoon, though, we had it all to ourselves. It’s the perfect place to just sit and take in some beautiful glass art. Chihuly is one of my favorite artists. I was first introduced to his work when we lived in Nashville and he had an exhibit at Cheekwood. I’ve been a huge fan ever since. At the children’s museum, you can definitely spend a ton of time looking at the 43-foot Chihuly sculpture that rises up through the whole museum. But you can also create your own sculpture using plastic shapes that look just like the real thing.
I didn’t to a ton of research on the children’s museum before we went, so I didn’t realize how they end every day. Do you know?
It’s a parade! They end every day with a parade. And not the kind that you watch – the kind that you get to be a part of. It’s a blast for the kids. But really, I can’t think of a better way to ensure that everyone gets out of the building at closing time. It was one mass exit and into the gift shop (for a souvenir or two). And it was so much fun. Liam loved waving good-bye to all the staff and holding his flag.
A few tips to note, if you’re planning to visit the Children’s Museum:
- Buy your tickets early to save money. The earlier you purchase tickets, the more you save. Prices go up the closer you get to the day you want to go. For instance, our friends purchased their tickets the week before we bought ours. We ended up paying about a dollar more per ticket than they did. Of course, buying early also means that you’re locked into the day you chose. The day we decided to go to the children’s museum ended up being the nicest day of our trip. If you prefer to have more flexibility in your schedule and want to see what the weather’s like the week you plan to go, you may prefer to wait.
- Plan to get there early. Not because there’s a line, but because there’s so much to do and see. You can always leave before closing time if you decide not to spend the entire day there. But getting there as soon as the museum opens allows you the opportunity to maximize your time there.
- Do your research. There is so much to do and see at the museum that you may want to go with a (flexible) plan. Make sure you know which exhibits you don’t want to miss and which ones you don’t mind skipping if you run out of time. If you’re more local to Indianapolis and plan to visit the children’s museum regularly, know which exhibits are leaving when. Visit your favorites as much as possible until they’re gone.
- Leave your expectations at home. All-day excursions like this can be overstimulating for many kids. Especially littles like toddlers who will skip nap time as the result of a long day. Be flexible in knowing that things may not go as you planned. And be aware when your child needs a little break before heading into another exhibit.
Are you planning your own trip to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis? Let me know how much fun you have! And if there are any new exhibits we should check out on our next visit! Or have you been there before? What’s your favorite part?
One of the things we liked about Columbus before moving here was that it’s pretty central to some other major cities. We can get to Detroit, Cincinnati, Louisville and Indianapolis within a few hours drive. Chicago and Nashville aren’t too much further. Because of its proximity, Indianapolis became the perfect near-mid-way choice to spend spring break with our friends from St. Louis. I plan to share about our whole trip in another post, but I wanted to dedicate some time to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. They say it’s the biggest and best in the world, so there’s no way we could skip it on our first visit to Indianapolis. We spent an entire day there and I have to say, you shouldn’t miss it either.
I heard from several people that you can easily spend more than a day at the museum. So we decided to get there as soon as it opened. This gave us the option to leave early if we decided we were done. Spoiler alert: we stayed all day.
We didn’t really have a game plan for the day. And with four adults and three kids of varying ages, we weren’t exactly sure if we would all stay together or split up either. It felt easiest to start at the Chocolate Slide. It’s the first thing you see, since it’s right by the entrance. You can’t miss it and the kids were begging to go. Okay, adults too. Liam was too short to ride by himself, but I don’t think he minded going down with Jamie at all. They both had a great time going down it. The Chocolate Slide is at the museum until April 23 if you want a chance to check it out.
It was hard not to miss all the signage for the museum’s Circus exhibit, so it felt like the natural next step for our visit.
It’s actually quite an incredible setup. A performer greets you at the entrance and invites you into the room. A circus starring….YOU! In the room, there are tons of interactive activities that kids can do that are typically part of the circus. Like walking a wire tightrope, balancing on a unicycle and becoming a human cannonball. They’ve got costumes where kids can get lost in their imaginations and even a virtual reality section for those who love adding technology to their adventures.
If you’re having lots of circus fun and don’t want it to end, you can even be part of a circus performance. We decided to move on to a different exhibit because we didn’t think Liam would be able to manage the time commitment. But our friends did and they had a blast! It sounds like they had so much fun and perfect for kids who are just a touch older than Liam is.
While our friends performed, we moved on to the dinosaurs. One of the things I really appreciate about this exhibit (all of them, really) is that they have a variety of activities for all different age levels. For a child Liam’s age, there are still plenty of things to touch and see even though he can’t quite understand the science of it all. Liam’s dinosaur matching game skills are pretty impressive.
The dinosaur exhibit led right into the trains, so that was the most natural next stop. Liam loves trains and he says that this exhibit was his absolute favorite from the day. He had fun punching us train tickets in the train station and watching the light show on the steam engine.
We met back up with our group and had lunch in the museum’s food court. Planning to eat at the museum seemed like the easiest thing for us. There are so many options that everyone in our group was able to get something they were happy with. The food court also has gluten-free options and choices for those with food allergies and sensitivities. As a mom to a child with a food sensitivity, I really appreciate the extra step the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis takes to accommodate guests of all needs and abilities. Sometimes these options are hard to find, so it was nice to see.
After lunch, all the kids were really excited to check out the indoor carousel. I’m not sure what it is about carousels. Whatever it is, they’re magical. I love riding them too and they make me feel like a little kid again.
The room with the carousel also has a ton of other things to do. Including a treehouse, ice cream parlor and a maze of mirrors. The maze is one of the few things we didn’t do that I wish we had. It was past nap time and Liam had a little meltdown. We decided that he needed a little break instead. Luckily, benches are easily found inside the exhibits and out in the halls.
After our quick break, we checked out the ScienceWorks exhibit. Again, I was surprised at how many hands-on things they had to do at every age level. Their climbing wall (both vertical and horizontal options) isn’t just for the big kids. You can transport materials with boats along a water system. Or “drive” a John Deere combine through a field. Or sit at a kitchen table and show your kid what a balanced plate of food can look like. All of this can be easily adapted for learning at any age. Liam had fun choosing food for our plates. There’s even a part where you can “grow” fruits and vegetables and then harvest them. It’s a great visual to teach kids about growing your own food at home.
If it’s hard to visit every exhibit in a day, it’s also hard to put into all into a single blog post too. I have tons of info and photos to share still. Stay tuned for part 2 coming later this week!
Have you visited The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis before? What was your favorite exhibit?
Did you know that babies need lots of stuff? I know they say that all you need are diapers and a place for them to sleep at first, but that’s technically not totally true. I’ve forgotten about how many “extras” we needed for Liam when he was a newborn. As we’re getting ready for this new baby, my packing list for North Carolina is steadily growing. Thankfully, we know we can buy anything we need (or forget) while we’re waiting out ICPC. But I also want to make sure we have things ready here at home so we’re not having to run out to the store all the time with a newborn. Thanks to Babyganics, we’ve got a small stash of some important essentials.
We received a little gift basket with the following Babyganics items:
Moisturizing daily lotion (chamomile verbena)
Alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer (mandarin)
Shampoo and body wash (chamomile verbena)
Face, hand + baby wipes (fragrance-free)
A voucher for diapers (I haven’t received these yet. If you follow along on Instagram, I will post about them there once we get a chance to try them out!)
Liam and I love the lotion. This is probably his favorite product. I was surprised at how long it keeps your skin moisturized. And it doesn’t leave you with that icky, greasy feeling on your hands either that some other lotions do. I’m normally drawn to fragrance-free products since I have a pretty sensitive nose. But the scent of this lotion isn’t too strong.
The hand sanitizer is probably my favorite product. Which surprised me, because usually I’m not a fan of using it. It’s alcohol-free, so it doesn’t sting if I happen to have a cut on my hand. And since it’s a moisturizing formula, I can use it continually throughout the day without feeling like I’m drying out my hands. It’s the perfect thing to have on our changing table for the new baby. Or to have on hand when we have family over and they want to hold him or her. I also really love the light mandarin scent.
I do like that the wipes can be utilized for faces and hands in addition to regular baby wipes. It’s nice to know that one pack of wipes can be used for everything without fear of them being to harsh for sensitive skin. The shampoo and body wash is a tear-free, foaming soap. Which means it’s fun to use (yay, foam!) and gentle on eyes.
We haven’t used the sunscreen yet, since it’s barely spring here in Ohio. You can bet, though, that we’ll use it a ton this summer. Liam’s skin is so much fairer than mine and he burns easily. So skin care isn’t something we can skip when we play outside. You’re not actually supposed to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months old, so the new baby will have to wait until next summer to try out the Babyganics sunscreen.
Product safety is suuuuper super important to me. We try to use more natural products as much as we can. Babyganics scores pretty well on the EWG scale. However, the company has a pretty big line of products that also includes things like laundry detergent and household cleaners. So the ratings vary from product to product. To make sure you’re getting a product you’re comfortable using around your little ones, make sure you do your research and read every label. But, all of the products in this post are non-allergenic, pediatrician and dermatologist tested, and NOT tested on animals. They’re also free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes or synthetic fragrances.
Babyganics products are easily accessible too! We have an Amazon Prime membership, so I tend to order a lot of things with their free two-day shipping. But you can also find Babyganics at grocery stores, big box stores like Target and baby stores. To see their full line of products, you can check out the Babyganics website. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram for new product releases and sale info.
Have you used Babyganics products? What did you think of them? Drop me a note in the comment section and let me know!
These products were provided to us for free for the purpose of this review. The words, images and opinions of this product are completely my own.
Last summer’s Olympics were a big deal in our house. We got to experience everything through Liam’s eyes, then 2, and it was so fun. A few days after the swimming portion of the Olympics ended, I found Liam in tears in his room one morning. When I asked him what was wrong, he cried, saying that he wanted to take more swimming lessons. Seriously, this kid loved watching the USA Swimming team dominate their events, so I wasn’t super surprised by his wanting to take more lessons. We’ve now had the opportunity to take swimming lessons at three different places, most recently the Goldfish Swim School. If you’re local to me and are looking for a place for kids swimming lessons in Columbus, I wanted to give you my quick first impression of Goldfish and how it compares to the swimming lessons Liam’s had at other places.
Goldfish Swim School is now the third place Liam’s had swimming lessons. There are two different locations in the Columbus area. We are using the Westerville location, but there’s one in Dublin as well.
Liam’s first swim lessons were at the Westerville Community Center. We took a baby/parent class here with about 8 or so other baby/parent duos. His second session of classes were at a YMCA location. This was Liam’s first introduction to being in a swim class without a parent. The lessons at Goldfish are significantly more expensive than at any of the other places we’ve tried (and others we’ve looked at). But are they worth the price? From our first visit to the place, and according to other families we know that have taken swim lessons at Goldfish, the answer is an overwhelming YES.
I want to touch on the facility itself in another blog post and instead, spend time on three of the immediate differences we noticed at Liam’s first lesson at Goldfish. The most noticeable difference is the water temperature. If your little has taken swim lessons before, you may have noticed that the water temperature is….less than desirable. Actually, it’s pretty darn cold. It’s hard to ask a toddler to sit, shivering, in a pool for 30 minutes, let alone learn new skills.
I have no idea why this is the norm for public pools. Maybe it has to do with needing to keep the water at a certain temperature for people working out in the swim lanes. Regardless of the reason, it’s still cold! And inconsistent. Some days it would just be cold. Other days it was downright freezing. At Goldfish, the water is kept around 90 degrees year-round. This keeps the kids comfortable enough to actually learn something.
The classes are Goldfish are also perpetual. They are big proponents of the idea that weekly instruction is best to help the child build on the things they learn at each lesson. I tend to agree. As far as I know, many of the other pools around town offer lessons on a seasonal/term basis. You sign up for a block of 6 or 8 lessons. Once they’re over, you either have to commit to another block of lessons or take a break and wait until a future term opens up. Having such a long break in between lessons may make it harder for your little to retain the skills they’ve learned. Since lessons at Goldfish are perpetual, you have lessons every single week as long as you want.
Committing to a block of lessons also made it really hard for our family to plan. We don’t have family in town and we like to travel. With our work schedules being super flexible, we don’t always wait until the weekend. When we have signed up for lessons at other places, you really have to commit to being there. The lessons can’t be rescheduled and you aren’t refunded for ones that you miss. Honestly, it’s one reason why we, personally, have taken breaks in between swim sessions. We wanted a break from feeling like we couldn’t go out of town during those 8 weeks.
Because Goldfish’s lessons are weekly with no set limit, it’s fairly easy to cancel your lesson and schedule makeup lessons, with no additional cost. I have yet to do it, but we will definitely be taking advantage of this perk with our upcoming adoption. We’ll be out of town for an undetermined amount of time and it’s nice knowing that Liam can easily make up those lessons when we come back. And that we’re not wasting money by not using lessons we’ve paid for.
As a parent, probably the most noticeable difference is how Goldfish Swim School makes a point to ensure that everyone’s on the same page to help your child learn. On our first trip to Goldfish, I was given a checklist of all the skills Liam needs to learn in his class. As he learns each skill, the boxes get checked until they’re all full. Once that’s done, he’ll be ready to move up to the next class. And we’ll get a new checklist then too.
I’m a list person and this is the perfect visual for parents to see exactly what their kids are learning. I spent several of my college years teaching piano lessons. I can’t tell you how many times I stressed to parents the importance of learning with their child. Especially in the early years. This list helps us do that too. We can see what Liam needs to be working on and practice it with him when we go to the pool.
At the end of each class, parents get to see their child demonstrate a couple of skills. The instructor also tells you more specifically where your child excels and is struggling. For instance, Liam has a hard time relaxing enough to float on his back. Knowing this, we can spend more time on practicing this between lessons. Again, it helps make sure everyone is on the same page.
Already I can see that switching to Goldfish Swim School was a great move for Liam. He’s really shown a lot of interest in swimming, so I’m excited to see him master each new skill. Who knows, maybe he’ll join their swim team someday! We’re only one lesson in and I can tell that it’s a great learning environment. I can’t wait to share more with you as we have additional lessons and learn more about Goldfish!
This post about kids swimming lessons in Columbus is part of our partnership with Goldfish Swim School. As always, all the photos, words and opinions in this blog are completely my own.
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