For most of us, learning to swim was a childhood rite of passage, one that we want for our own children, too. Even though we’re surrounded by water, no one’s dipping into the Hudson or East River (for good reason.) Fortunately, it’s easier than you may think to find the perfect swim lessons for your kids, no matter what their age or level. Here are seven of our favorites to get your family water — and warm weather — ready!



For Free Lessons: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

You may already know that the NYC Parks Department oversees several public pools located throughout the five boroughs. But did you know that it offers free, weekly, eight-week session group swimming lessons for children ages six through 17 ? Yep, it’s true. Surprise: Only a certain number of spots are available at each pool, and competition for these is fierce. The only way to secure a place in one of these free classes is through an online lottery. For more information, go here.

Tip: These are large “general ed” style group swim lessons for children ages 6 through 17. If your child has special needs, doesn’t do well with crowds, or you prefer they learn with children near their own age, these lessons aren’t for you.

Locations throughout the five borooughs

photo: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation


Does your child take swim classes? Tell us about your experience in the Comments.

—Stephanie Pedersen