Things to do with kids (including older kids) No. 2 – Swimming

This one may appear pretty obvious but honestly, if you can’t think of what to do on a day off school, swimming is often the answer.

From a purely selfish perspective swimming with older kids is a dream. Mine are 10 and 12 at time of writing and so in Sheffield can go in the pool by themselves. They could even go on their own if they wanted to but that will come with time. It’s not that I didn’t love taking them swimming when they were younger but the joy of not having to wrestle them out of wet costumes, help them wash their hair and listen to the moaning about being cold is a definite bonus. I do still feel soppy when I remember them bobbing about in an inflatable seat though,..

In Sheffield we have loads of options, from gym pools if you can afford it, to SIV (Sheffield International Venues) pools of different types and even an outdoor pool if you venture into Derbyshire. Costs vary – we went this morning for about £8.50 for all three of us with a life card which isn’t too bad.

Here are  my recommendations for bigger kids:

  1. Hillsborough – Yes it has a pirate ship for teenies but it also has two slides, a lane swimming pool for me to actually swim in while they lark about, and more importantly a poolside cafe. This morning I swam twenty lengths then sat drinking coffee, glancing up occasionally to check the lifeguard whistle wasn’t directed at my kids. They had a blast (even if the wave machine frustratingly wasn’t on) and I finished my book.
  2. Ponds Forge – the only irritation for me here are the pool times which start way too late for me meaning family sessions are usually chockablock. Plus there is no poolside seating so you really are leaving them to it if you don’t go in with them. On the plus side the lazy river with inflatables is great fun and the wave machine seems to work. I don’t think I’ve ever swum a length there though – you need the big pool for that.
  3. Heeley Baths – this one is my local and therefore I like it, although their focus is more and more on lessons with family sessions seemingly squeezed in. Family splash is fun – you can go in and play with floats, or sit on the balcony above if you are dressed in a bikini and have your own portable air conditioning unit. The sessions seem short though and you sometimes feel a bit pushed out of the pool as they set up for lessons. Other than that it’s old fashioned and charming. Plus it’s where mine learned to swim as tiddlies so has a place in my softie heart.
  4. Hathersage – ok so it’s a little way away but it’s just lovely. Fantastic heated outdoor pool with nice facilities and a great cafe. If the weather is on the cool side it can be nippy getting changed (as we found when we stupidly went in April) but it’s really special. It didn’t feel that special when we queued all the way through one swimming session and the local session following it before even getting in the pool though – It can be crazily busy (especially in the summer holidays). We got through it by taking turns playing the playground with the kids and eating chips while the other sat in the queue reading the paper but I wouldn’t necessarily advise going on really warm days
  5. Dronfield – this one is fairly standard but warm, clean and often not as busy as the big pools in the Sheffield area. You pretty much make your own fun in this pool, or the children could actually try swimming a length or two. What am I talking about? Madness. They don’t go swimming to actually swim…

Are there any others in the Sheffield are ideal for bigger kids?

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