Summer in Geneva with kids & the Staycation Guide

Summer in Geneva with kids & the Staycation Guide

How long are you planning to stay in Geneva with kids this summer? No matter if it’s one week or eight, the Staycation Guide by Parentville is coming to save the day again!

Since its first edition in 2017, it has been one of the best-received summer helpers for both local families, and those who come here for holidays

What is the Staycation Guide

Staycation Guide is simply a downloadable PDF. It is filled with ideas for summer outings, day trips, adventure parcs, hikes, and (new in 2020) home activities!

It has interactive maps, links, and lots of practical information. It basically saves your time – Parentville does all the research for you, chooses the best places, and voila!

Get your Guide

Click on the button below and become the expert of family-friendly destinations in and around Geneva!

TESTIMONIALS

Here’s what has been told about the previous editions of the Staycation Guide (2017, 2018):

 

Thank you very much for all these research you are doing and gently sharing for the kiddos!

I love to test new places and try to talk about it a little bit in a far less efficient way you are! Just wanted to say that it is really appreciated! Congrats!

Julie

THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!! I would like to nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize because of the anxiety you have resolved in my household for this summer. This is clearly a contribution towards world peace. Congratulations!!!
PP

Your Staycation guide is so lovely! Have been reading and writing down some of the tips this morning. Such a great work!

S.

Raising anti-racist kids. Building a better world

Raising anti-racist kids. Building a better world

Children hear more than we think. They have more question than we assume. We have already gone through events that triggered conversations about gender equality, climate change, or refugees and wars. Now is the time to explain to them what racism is all about, and what white privilege is. In other words, it is time to talk about Black Lives Matter. Yes, even in Switzerland.

Yes, especially in Geneva – a small yet international city of world-over importance. Home to numerous international organizations and hundreds of NGOs. We live in one of those places on the world’s map that should shine as an example.

To build a better world, we need a better-educated youth. For the world to change, we need more people who are not only non-racist but also anti-racist. No child is too young to learn about racial injustice.

Below you will find links to articles, movies, and books. Take your time to go through it. Save this article and come back from time to time to find new materials. I’m also available via email and social media if you’d like to discuss educating kids on anti-racism in private.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

IN ENGLISH:

Saturday“, by Oge Mora.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race“, by Margot Lee Shetterly & Winifred Conkling.

Ruby. Head High: Ruby Bridges’ First Day of School“, by Irene Cohen-Janca.

Rosa Parks“, by Lisbeth Kaiser and Marta Antelo.

The Other Side“, by Jacqueline Woodson.

Sulwe“, by Lupita Nyong’o.

The Bell Rang“, by James E. Ransome.

The Colors of Us“, by Karen Katz.

“The Day You Begin”, by Jacqueline Woodson.

IN FRENCH:

“Des amis de toutes les couleurs”, by Catherine Dolto.

Comme un million de papillons noirs“, byLaura Nsafou.

Josephine Baker“, by Isabel Sanchez Vegara.

Ruby tête haute“,  by Irene Cohen-Janca.

Quelle est ma couleur ?“, by Antoine Guillopé.

Horacio ne veut plus aller à l’école“, by Thierry Magnier.

Peau noire peau blanche“, by Yves Bichet.

Yozakura la fille du cerisier“, by Mureil Daillo.

Le bus de Rosa“, by Fabrizio Silei.

Main blanche main noire“, by Jacqueline Favreau.

Rêve noir d’un lapin blanc“,  by Maria Machado.

“Tichéri a les cheveux crépus” is a book for children from 6 to 12 years old. It was written by Licia Chery, an Genevan artist of Haitan origin. It is a brilliant book against racism and prejudice.

Embrace Race put together a list of their favorite places to get books that talk about race. It even includes picture books. “Looking for Excellent “Diverse” Books for Children? Start Here!”.

Here’s another excellent list from the New York Times: “These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids“.

The Guardian has also recently published a selection of children’s books “No reader is too young to start: anti-racist books for all children and teens“.

Here’s an amazing list of children’s books that discuss race & racism by Time.com. Click here.

MOVIES AND SERIES

Apart from “The Princess and the Frog” and  “Moana”, do you know any movies featuring a main black character? There is also Kirikou, but it’s not that popular (although it is really good!). I swear I digged a lot but couldn’t find much.

The Voice of Black Cincinnati compiled a very resourcful list. Not all the movies they mention are on Netflix outside the US, but they can be found elsewhere. Read it here: “Best Black Kids Movies on Netflix“.

There is also this great website with 26 New York Times mini-films for students.

OTHER RESOURCES:

One of the places you can visit online for multiple resources is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Their website offers separate advise for teachers and parents, including tips on how to talk to children about race. They explain in detail many terms we hear often now, but we may not truly understand.

Multicultural Kid Blogs has compiled an impressive list of resources for teachers and parents. Subscribe to their newsletter, or follow MKB on social media, to have an easier access to all the articles they will be posting on that topic in the future.

You may have seen this link on social media, as it has been widely shared. The vast majority of materials shared in this Google file is for adults, but there is also a section for white parents to raise anti-racist children, that offers links to books, movies, and podcasts.

Last, but not least here’s how UNICEF tries to help parents explain racism to children qround the world.

EDUCATING OURSELVES

To teach children well, we must first learn a bit ourselves. It will also help answer the questions children will surely have. Nowadays, it gets just logging to any social media, to be faced with many resources, quotes, discussions, from which we can learn a lot. Don’t hesitate to ask your black friends to explain you the white privelege and racial injustice.

BOOKS

This book list from Time.com mentions many good titles. Chcek it out here: “Several Antiracist Books Are Selling Out. Here’s What Else Black Booksellers and Publishers Say You Should Read”.

MOVIES:

The Hate U Give, a film based on the YA novel offering an intimate portrait of race in America.

Becoming, a Netflix documentary following Michelle Obama on her book tour

Dear White People, a Netflix series about being black at a predominantly white college

Hidden Figures, a film about the brilliant African American women of NASA

Remember the Titans, story of a newly-integrated football team

I would love to hear from you!

Please, share with me books, movies, podcats, YT channels, and other resources that can help white people raise anti-racism, and not only not racist, children. For the better future.

Laustine Your Dreams pyjamas – a new brand in town

Laustine Your Dreams pyjamas – a new brand in town

Laustine Your Dreams pyjamas have a great story fueled by women on every step of the process. The designs are cute, the fabrics soft, the brand is as eco friendly as it can be (and has a plan to become even more eco!), and on top of that, their pyjamas are affordable.

Chicken nuggets

It all started with Laure and Faustine – two rockstar women, raised in Geneva and Megève, meeting in London and studying finance. They had lots of chicken nuggets together, watched Gossip Girl, and discovered London together. Since then, they’ve always wanted to do something together. It took a few years, settling back in Geneva, and having kids, to finally have the project they would pursue together.

We’ve been there

As motherhood kicked in, they realized that the kids’ clothes offer in Geneva is limited. Moreover it’s either affordable low-quality or overly expensive high-quality. They were certain there is a way to have affordable, high-quality, cute clothes for kids. And so they sat down, discussed designs, looked for fabrics, and factories, and voila! They’re ready with beuatiful pyjamas!
“We started to design styles that could fit boy or girl and made them all available in all of colours, so everyone can choose what suits them best.”

15 MORE

It took some time to find the right factory for their designs, because of the low volume production, but they did it! All Laustine Your Dreams pyjamas are currently made in a family-owned factory in Porto (Portugal) operated by 15 women – mothers and grandmothers. This makes it one of the most feminine brands I know!

PYJAMAS

Their nightwear is timeless, soft, confortable and easily washable. These clothes embrace classic lines and simple details. They are made with 100% cotton interlock, which is why the fabric is amazingly soft and stretchy at the same time.

They have several styles, each available in the same range of colors. This allows parents to create perfect combinations. The summer and winter models remain the same. The light pink and the light blue line will also stay forever, as a part of  the permanent collection.

What changes is the print. twice a year Laure and Faustine sit down to draw a new pattern, and choose additional colors. This, I am sure, will simplify shopping for pyjamas for years to come: whenever we go their website everything there will match, what’s already in our closets (assuming it’s Laustine Your Dreams).

Sadly, my daughter has just outgrown her last Laustine PJ set. I keep my fingers crossed the brand’s size range will soon go beyond kids of the age of 6.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Since the very beginning, they’ve wanted to grow the company while respecting our fragile planet on every step of the way.

The packaging, they gave it a thought too. They don’t use poly bags. The tissue paper used for packaging is is completely acid free, FSC Certified, and printed with soy-based ink (it makes it easier to recycle paper). All clothes are sent in 100% compostable packaging made with corn.

They have also introduced organic cotton to their range. The entire summer collection (“Summer tortue”) is made with soft, organic cotton (GOTS cotton)!

IN GENEVA

I asked them to share their favorite family-freindly places in Geneva. Here’s what they come up with:

– the patisserie Mage in Malagnou, for a nice coffee and pain au chocolat. From April to October you can sit outside and kids can play. A perfect plave for Sunday mornings.

La Maison de la Créativité in Conches, and the Signal de Bougy which are just perfect places for kids;

Swiss Vapeur Parc in le Bouveret – a great destination for a day.

Petit Lay restaurant in Megeve – food is good, place is kids friendly with a big garden and games for the kids.

Is this article sponsored? Kind of. I received one set of Laustine Your Dreams pajamas to try, fell in love with it and wrote it. No other gifts or payments were involved.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Prêt à Parler: Making Geneva feel like home

Prêt à Parler: Making Geneva feel like home

Paid partnership with Prêt à Parler.

There is one word that describes the process of getting comfy in a new city or country – integration. Yes, folks, I’m sure you hear this word now more frequently than ever before. It’s a journey that won’t look the same for everyone and will vary from location to location. Many cultural differences play a significant role, but there is also the language. Yes, this bloody French. (But don’t worry, Prêt à Parler can help).

SCRABBLE

For many expats, French looks like it may have been invented by someone playing scrabble with their eyes closed. So many combinations of letters that make the same sound, so many letters we don’t pronounce… A language with so many rules and exceptions, that head starts to spin. And then, there’s this bloody “r”.

LE CORNET

Here’s a funny thing: French is not the same everywhere. You may know the French café au lait but… that does not exist in Geneva! Here we say un renversé. In a shop in France, when asking for a bag, you’d say le sachet but… Surprise, surprise! Not in Geneva! Here it’s a un cornet – but don’t use it in that context in France unless asking for an ice-cream waffle. The list goes on. Phew!

BANK ROBBERY

The bad news is, without French, you will never feel 100% at home. For those coming here only for a short time, it won’t feel like a vital skill, but one will soon conclude how practical it is! It is even more useful for parents with kids in public crèches and schools. Being able to speak with the teachers, other parents, will prove to be a useful, anxiety-busting skill.

I remember how stupid I felt when my 4-year-old daughter invited a friend over. I had no idea what they were talking and giggling about. For all I knew, they may have been planning a bank robbery. (They weren’t, but one can’t risk it, right?)

PRET A PARLER

This leads us to Prêt à Parler, a Geneva-based French online school for busy people like you and me. Isabelle Nicolas-Johnson, an expat herself, started this brilliant company a few years ago. Even though her mother tongue is French (born and raised in Quebec, Canada), she also needed to learn new expressions to better communicate with the locals.

POLITENESS

As she explained to me recently, French in Geneva is exceptionally polite in comparison with the French spoken in Montreal, where she has lived for over 7 years. I’m also sure you noticed that every invoice you receive, even the simplest, is composed with more text than needed. That is because they are packed with polite expressions which are important to understand in order to respect the way things are done here. Think Permis C, Swiss naturalisation, and that kind of thing as you will have to send a formal letter sooner or later!

BONJOUR

There is a French-Swiss movie, “Bienvenue en Suisse”, which is about French people coming to Switzerland to claim an inheritance. In one scene, they need to ask a question to a local stranger, but they start with “Excusez-moi” – wrong! The stranger quickly interrupts them by saying “En Suisse, on dit bonjour”.

FIDE EXAM

All of the “Super Profs” at Prêt à Parler have been thoroughly trained to prepare people to pass the infamous FIDE exam – don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds, and they even make it look easy! For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a mandatory French-language exam for everyone requesting a permit C or Swiss naturalization. The exam is divided into 4 parts: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Its content is based on everyday life situations, which people need anyway while living here!

My husband is currently preparing for his FIDE exam with Prêt à Parler and he is very happy with his lessons and the progress he made since he started. I already wrote about the advantages of their great French online programs in this article.

COVID & FRENCH

Since Covid-19 arrived in Switzerland, it became clear to me how fundamental French is when living in Geneva. Had it not been possible to quickly find the correct local info on the COVID-situation, because of the language barrier, I’d probably be covered in grey hair by now! Being able to watch press conferences of the Swiss and Geneva authorities really made me feel safe and at home in Switzerland. Reading local newspapers also gives me the same comforting and reassuring feeling.

NETFLIX

And now, after Prêt à Parler posted about it on Instagram, I am diving into French Netflix series! I hope I will learn more everyday expressions and get to the next level by dipping my toes into… French slang! Netflix is my oyster!

How about you? Do you feel that you need French to make your life in Geneva easier? Or maybe you already speak French and would like to share how it changed your Swiss-life experience? Don’t be shy; share your experience or questions in the comments!

I will soon be launching a giveaway with Pret a Parler on my Instagram account.
Don’t miss it, the prize is big!
Follow Parentville on Instagram.
Summer camps – Geneva 2020

Summer camps – Geneva 2020

What a year! We’ve had two additional months to spend daily with kids. Two months! 2! I feel your pain! Another two months are coming, so whether you need them or just want them, I have prepared this list of what I think are the BEST summer camps in Geneva. I explained more about the selection process at the bottom of the page.

Companies listed below organize the most inspiring, adventurous, and quality summer camps!

Ready? Let’s cut to the chaise.

SPELL LANGUAGES
PLAINPALAIS AREA
ages 3-14

Every year the Spell team goes the extra mile to design language camps in the form of unforgettable adventures! This year they have prepared some of their camp weeks in collaboration with the Natural History Museum in Geneva!
You can choose between 5 languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Russian) and 21 themes. Parentville is particularly excited about the ABC Geneva theme, that is based on « ABC Geneva » children’s book. During the summer camps with Spell, your child will play, learn, discover the region, spend time outdoors, and go on trips! During that time Spell’s devoted, energetic, and always-smiling teachers, will make sure every child is having a good time!

Price:
From 450 CHF

Contact:
Browse through all their adventures and find out the details on Spell’s website.

GYMBOREE
GRAND-SACONNEX
ages 3-6

Gymboree’s BILINGUAL SUMMER CAMP is non-parent participation classes for 3 to 6-year-olds. It is time for children to have fun and make new friends. It is also an opportunity to learn French and English. Activities include art projects, play and movement time on our specially designed equipment, music and songs, imaginary play, tactile time, story time and more. A healthy mid-morning snack is provided.

Price:
from 285 CHF for a week of half-days.
530 CHF for a full week of full-days (lunch not provided).

Contact:
You’ll find all the details on Gymboree’s website.

BUBBLES KIDS CLUB
EAUX-VIVES
Ages: 4+

Bubbles Kids Club had a spot-on idea for this year’s summer camps! They will take kids on imaginery trips around the world! Each week has a different country as a theme, and all activities will help kids discover new cultures and new places on the map. These multi-activity camps offer a vast range of activities: outings, creative fun, and outings. Bubble seeks to promote the development of social and emotional skills: courage, respect, empathy, and forgetting self-confidence and guarantees a caring and positive atmosphere. Your child can join the camp on a full day or a half day basis.

Price:
590 CHF/full week of full days
80 CHF/half day

Contact:
Visit Bubble’s website.

TOT UP
LANCY
ages 3-6

TotUp is one of the few places in Geneva that offers camps for kids below the school age (ages 3+). They take place in TotUp centre in Lancy, where they have not only playful areas equipped with everything needed to spend fun time, but also a full-on sports center for families! The camps go throughout all the weeks of summer holidays; the hours are adapted to busy parents’ schedules – a rare gem in the region! Using a code Parentville2020 you can get a 10% discount upon booking more than 2 weeks with TotUp.

Price:
500 CHF/week of full days (7h-19h)
350 CHF/week of half days (7h-14h30)

Contact:
info@totup.ch
More info: here.

ESPACE COLIBRI
PLAINPALAIS
ages 4-10

Eight weeks of high-quality camps designed by passionate professionals, who always assure kids’ emotional wellbeing and fun! This year Espace Colibri offers a unique program, with a different theme every week and yoga every day. All the great fun is provided by high-level education professionals. Small groups allow for engagement and meaningful connections. I am certain children will leave with full heads and hearts!

Price:
295 CHF for a week of half days.
490 CHF for a week of full days.

Contact:
Find out more on Espace-Colibri.ch

KIDS TIME CLUB
EAUX-VIVES
ages: 4-8

Kids Time Club camps are the perfect mix of sport classes, creative activities and lots of fun! With easy access in Eaux-Vives they´ll make sure kids enjoy their time in a safe environment while making new friends.
Their program was designed seeking balance between exercise, play time and imagination to recreate children’s stories and making crafts. Some creative activities will help children identify their emotions. They´ll also learn about plants and fossils with fun science experiments and will create easy and delicious snacks. A weekly outdoor activity is also in the agenda! Join us in Kids Time Club for a summer full of adventures.

Price:
From 275 CHF for a week of half-days.
No full day option.

Contact:
More details about this new fascinating place and about their summer camps here.

ADDICT LAB
Ferney Voltaire & at home
ages 7+

AddictLab is organizing 3 weeks of half-day STEAM camps in its fascinating Lab in Ferney. All activities are evaluated and linked to the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGS) of the United Nations. Addictlab’s mission is to mix creative disciplines. Design, draw in 3D, 3D print, paint in virtual reality, learn about solar panels – and so much more. But that’s not all. There are also online camps, 1h courses, and fun kits to take home, with AddictLab staff always ready to help via Zoom if needed. If you follow Parentville on Instagram, you may already know that we are massive fans of AddictLab – a place where creativity meets technology and sustainibility.

Prices:
75 CHF / half day.
from 295 CHF/ full week of half-days
25 CHF for 1h Lab Workshop

Contact:
To get more details about these brilliant options, visit Addict Lab’s website.

PEP ENGLISH
VEYRIER
ages 5-18

PEP designed three different camps, for three different age groups, and they are looking great! Their Creative English camps for children 5-10, combine crafts and nature in a playful and educative way. Teenagers can boost their public speaking skills on another camp, where they will be debating, discussing current affairs.

Price:
350 CHF

Contact:
To sign up and discover our complete programme for the summer: https://www.pepenglish.ch/stages-d-ete

PLANET CLIMBING
LANCY
ages 6-14

From the beginning of July to the end of August – fun weekly camps to let your child explore and enjoy his/her natural attitude towards the verticality with a fun approach! Your kid will enjoy guided and fun activities from 08h30 to 17h00. Extra child-care hours on demand.
Fun climbing related activities at Planet Climbing will be followed by outdoor animation in collaboration with external partners (“acro-branche”, parkour introduction, fluo sport room and more).
Groups of 8 kids per week max.

Price:
136 CHF for a single day
590 CHF for a full week (Mon-Fri).
*Discount of 15% on the full week price for at least 4 bookings at the same time (family / friends).

Contact:
Details, booking instructions and more on Planet Climbing website.

 

IT STEP ACADEMY
NATIONS
ages 5-17

IT STEP Academy is devoted to prepare children for the future world, where robotics, digital skills, and IT knowledge will be (probably) essential. Their camps are fun, playful and at the same time filled with IT and Tech. You can choose between many themes: coding, robotics, YouTube, game design, 3D-printing, VR, AI and drone. They are always adapated to the age of participants, so don’t worry it could be too much. Even small kids can excel in tech!

Price:
600 CHF

Contact:
More details here.

Ecole Vivante
Meyrin
ages: 4-15

The Ecole Vivante invites you to discover the workshops that have been most successful with members of the school. During a week, in small groups of maximum 8 children, they will be able to participate in up to 4 workshops per day, supervised by the team of the Ecole Vivante. The workshops offered: Japanese calligraphy, painting, theatre, pastry, board games, wargame, folk dance, DIY, outdoor game, and more.
Children will also be able, for those who wish, to offer an activity or share their passion. The Ecole Vivante team will support them in order to organize the setting up of their workshop.

Price:
400 CHF for a week of full days.

Contact:
You can find out more here.

KIDS ENGLISH WORLD
CARTIGNY
ages 4-10

Kids English World partnered up with JujuHandcraft to bring one of the most summer-like camp in the city this year. Well, not in the city but in Cartigny, but still close. During the camps various attractions will surprise the kids: a visit to the local fire brigade, petting at the goat farm, police dog show, walk around the village farm, or making own pizza with an authentic pizzaiolo. All this accompanied by sports and games, pick-nicks, a treasure hunt, picture rally, visits to the nature reserve.

Price:
From 490 CHF

Contact:
Check out the details and their website.

ILL Campzone
Lancy
ages: 3-12

CampZone is an extension of Institut International de Lancy. Welcoming children from all schools, CampZone has a wide range of activities for children ages 3 to 12, including:  horse-riding, indoor climbing, basketball, football as well as Theatre & Song, mountain adventures, and much more. For the younger ones , multi-activity camp and Bricks 4 Kidz are offered.
CampZone also offers unique ½ day language booster camps in English and French where children 8 – 12 can have a fun and feel more comfortable with the language.

Price:
Prices vary per activity for full day and ½ day camps (8h30 – 18h00)

Contact:
You can find out more here.

MUSIC TOGETHER
ages 4-7 & 0-5

This summer, Music Together summer camps and parent-child classes. Whichever option you choose, you will have the opportunity to discover the magic of the harmony of sounds and movement, in total freedom.
For older children (4 to 7 years old), Music Together prepared a few weeks of music and dance. Various activities will await them and guarantee unforgettable moments!
Smaller children (0-5 yo) can come with their parents for a summer music course. Family dance and music classes are filled with singing, dancing, drums, and lots of other fun.

Price:
From 490 CHF

Contact:
For summer camps click here, and for the summer family classes check here.

Lovell International Camps Gstaad
Gstaad
ages: 2-18

 

‘Back to Nature’ Lovell International Camps AG have been offering family run summer camp programs in Gstaad for children, since 1973.  Four separate camp programs are offered, based upon the age of participants. They offer boarding and day camper options, combining language instruction, in English or French with a wide variety of sports, excursions and outdoor activities in order to provide a well-balanced holiday and learning experience for each child. Lovell Camps promotes programs through outdoor education, physical education, environmental education, water and mountain programs. There are a wide variety of sports and activities offered including, tennis, golf, horse riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, football, dance, arts and crafts, etc. Campers will also participate in a numbers of excursions and special events including; rafting or canyoning, scuba diving, high ropes courses, wake boarding, hiking, cookouts, carnival nights, crazy water days and discos.

 

Contact:
For more information on our programs visit www.lovellcamps.ch.

The camps presented above were carefully selected by Parentville. They were all contacted and agreed to pay a little fee to appear in this article. Please, understand that Parentville needs starts generating some income – bloggers have bills to pay, too.

The camps listed below are good camps, too!

OTHER CAMPS

Bricks4kidz Geneva. All about Lego.

Ferme la Gavotte. All about animals.

Blackyland Bernex. All about poneys.

Ecolint. All about sports, crafts, and other activities.

College du Leman. All about multi-activities.

MusicTogether. All about music.

La Bull d’Aire. All about music.

Simply Theatre. All about performing arts.

Ask Bilingual INCLUSIVE camp. For kids with special needs and not only.

Ecole d’Opera. All about music and theatre.

MSM Camps. All about sports.

TechLabs. All about STEM.

Les Enfants Terribles. All about self-development.

Geneva’s reopening schedule for families

Geneva’s reopening schedule for families

After 8 weeks of everything being closed, Geneva starts reopening shops, restaurants, museums, sports structures, and other fun places.  Below, you’ll find a list of places that are already open, and those that will open soon. For those of you, who still prefer to practice social distancing there are still forests, mountains, rivers, and self-picking farms!

ALREADY OPEN

Self-picking farms (fr. auto-cueillette) – we have plenty of them in the region! The rule is simple: go to the field and pick flowers/vegetables/fruit on your own. A great way to spend time outside while easily keeping the social distanc of 2 meters. Here’s Parentville’s list of self-picking farms in the region.

Kids Time Club (Eaux-Vives) – their downstairs incrdibly beautiful playarea is already open! New rules: no shoes allowed in the playground, and only 5 adults can stay there at the same time.Everything is disinfected twice a day. For more details please contact KidsTime Club directly.

Elisa Gassert play space –  as it’s partly a cafe, it is already open, but attention. It will close again between 18th and 24th may. If you haven’t yet heard about this place, check out what I had to say about it here, and check their Facebook page for even more detailed info.

MAMCO –  open as of May 16th! The museum limits the number of simultaneous visitors to its rooms (10 square meters guaranteed per visitor), payment by card only and disinfectant available at several points in the museum. A new morning offer is set up, certain Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., in order to allow vulnerable people to discover the exhibitions safely. During these time slots, spaces will be exclusively reserved for them. You can read more details on safety measures in Maco here.

Centre d’Art Contemporain –  Open from the 16th of May. Online activities will still be available for those who don’t feel safe just yet. The number of simultaneous visitors will be limited and disinfectant will be made available at various locations throughout the building. Full details of our sanitary measures are available here.

OPENNING SOON

MAH (Musées d’art et d’histoire) – The MAH opens on May 21, 2020, with the exception of the regional archeology hall and room 2-15, which remain closed due to works and assemblies. The upper level of the fine arts collection and that of Archeology now impose a unique sense of visit. Access to the rooms on the ground floor will be limited so as to comply with the imposed gauge. More detailed info here.

MEG (Musée d’ethnographie) – it will open on May 21. You can find their detailed safety plan here (in English).

Natural History Museum will be open to the public again on Thursday, May 21. However, access to the Natural History Museum will be limited to the permanent galleries on the ground floor, 1st and 2nd floor only, further accompanied by the implementation of route restrictions and a limited number of people per gallery. You can find more information about their restrictions here.

Science History Museum will open its doors to the public on Thursday, May 21.  You can find more information about their restrictions here.

Musee Ariana – the reopening  will take place on Thursday May 21, in compliance with the sanitary measures dictated by the Federal Office of Public Health to protect visitors and collaborators. Here’s the link to all the measures Ariana will practice.

Maison Tavel – it will open on June 16, after the completion of electrical work. More details here.

EXACT DATE UNKNOWN

Maison de la Creativite – everyone’s favorite place for playtime! sadly, for now there is no information about reopening. Given that this special and creative space place is all about free movement, tactile play, and filled with children AND adults, it can take some time before they figure out how to restart the fun.

Exploracentre – sadly no info yet about their reopening. I am sure the info will be announced soon on Exploracentre’s website.

BIO PARC GENEVE – one of the most precious and valuable animal parks in the region should reopen on June 8th. They need our support to survive and help the animals they take care of, so please, plant to visit them! Here’s Bioparc’s website, and more recent news here on their Facebook page.

Ferme la Gavotte – the farm remains closed. Cuddles with sheep and poneys may again become possible around June 8th. Stay informed by visiting their website from time to time.

Jardin Botanique – it should reopen on the 8th of June (if Covid-19 numbers allow), and until further notice, we won’t know what measures will put in place, if the carousel will turn, and how many kids will be allowed to play in one of the best playgrounds. Here’s the website of Geneva’s most beautiful park.

Bois-de-la-Bâtie animal park is still closed. If everything goes well it will reopen like all other Zoo’s around June 8th. Here’s their website if you’d like to track the details yourself.

CERN (exhibition sites) remain closed until further notice. There is no indication on when the Globe and Microcosm could open again (you can read their full information here).

PARC AVENTURE in Evaux is also one of the places that remains closed and can’t yet give any information about possible opening dates. Here’s the Park’s website.

THEATRES

Theatre des Marionnettes de Geneve (details); no information.

Theatre AmStramGram (website) – shows are cancelled for this season. Fingers crossed for 20/21!

Simply Theater (website) – all shows for this season are cancelled, the courses may restart after June 8th. Enrollments for summer camps have begun!

 

SWIMMING POOLS

The Federal Council will permit the opening of the swimming pools on June 8th if the situation allows it. There is not much information about how it will look like and what protective measures will be put in place.

An adventure at home: DIY escape game for kids!

An adventure at home: DIY escape game for kids!

There are three things kids miss the most when they can’t go out: friends, sports, and adventures. While I can’t help you with the first two, I have an idea of how to turn your place into an adventure field! It’s called an „escape game”!

Below you’ll find instruction and printables to a game I did for My daughter, plus a link to an online shop with ready-to-print games for ages 7+.

ESCAPE KIT

You can organize an escape game for one child, more than one, or even groups of several kids. There are websites from which you can buy ready adventures with printable puzzles and even some deco. Our website to go is Escape Kit, with games in English and French. They come with colorful puzzles, an elaborate backstory, and even decorations and accessories.

But as it turns out, a simple escape game is not so hard to DIY. We did it, tested it, and now we can share it with you!

EQUIPE SUPER-MICRO

For this game, I used some activities we have been trying out at home (for example this one with paper towel), plus some inspiration from the Activity-Mom website. For the moment the opening letter is available in French only (thank you Spell Languages for proofreading!), but the puzzles should be doable for English speakers as well.

The goal of the game is to find a tablet and crack its new password, but you could easily use an old smartphone. In the beginning, they receive a letter from the head of the Super-Micro team, with an explanation of what happened and how to proceed.

Each puzzle gets kids closer to the location of the tablet and reveals the password’s numbers. You’ll find detailed instructions in this downloadable pdf.

 

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • an egg,
  • paper towel & markers;
  • baking soda;
  • iron;
  • two blank a4 pages;
  • toilet paper roll.

PRACTICAL INFO

Recommended age: 4+ (with adults’ help), 7+ (supervision recquired with ironing);

Language: French.

Downloadable here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Back to school: wash your hands experiment with bread

Back to school: wash your hands experiment with bread

Clean hands are the best protective weapon against most microbes. With this bread-experiment your kids will understand why! It takes 10 minutes to prepare but 5-7 days to get the best results. In case you don’t want to wait, we prepared a video showing how it all goes.

Soon, shops will open, restaurants will too, and kids will go back to school. Now, more then before the strict hygiene rules will be important.

We had a lot of time to teach kids good habits: cough in your elbow, wash your hands, keep distance when outside etc. But do they really understand why? I’m sure that kids learn better if they know why and what for.

So, here’s a simple yet eye opening experiment you can do with kids now – a week before the school starts. It takes 10 minutes to set up and 5-7 days of observations.

Attention: risk of puking at the end of the experiment.

THINGS YOU’LL NEED:

  1. Sliced loaf of bread (eg. toast bread),
  2. Tweezers (not obligatory),
  3. 5 plastic ziplock bags,
  4. Soap,
  5. Disinfectant,
  6. Laptop/smartphone.

BAG 1

Very carefully, best using tweezers, take the first slice of bread and put it in the bag. The best result will be if you don’t touch it at all. On the bag write: “control”.
Done.

BAG 2

Find a pair of dirty hands (not washed with soap/disinfectant for a few hours). Give those hands a new slice of bread And ask to rub it for 30 secs. Into the bag. Mark “dirty hands”. Done.

Bag 3

Another slice of bread another task – wipe the laptop keyboard or a smartphone with it (for around 30 sec). To the bag. Mark it “laptop” or “phone”. Done.

BAG 4

Ask a pair of hands to have a wash with soap – but not a pandemic detailed wash, just a quick-in-a-hurry-old-school splash. Dry them thoroughly. These hands will rub a new slice of bread for 30 sec. Slice to the bag, and remember to mark it, eg “soap”. Done.

BAG 5

Now, with the same or different set of hands – wash them with a disinfectant and ask to rub a new slice of bread for 30 sec. To the bag, mark “disinfectant “. Done.

You can add more slices and more places to check: a toilet seat, floor by the entry, floor in the bedroom, door handles, elevator button etc.

You are now entering the observation phase of this experiment. For this purpose place the bags in one place. We used tape to hang the on the wall. Every morning check the state of slices, note down which slice grows mold first, then continue.
On day 5 you will see horrible things, yucky things, unimaginable disgust. Explain to kids that mold represents the microbes on each surface the bread touched. Compare the “dirty hands” with “soap” and “disinfectant”.

Just make sure that children understand that the amount of mold represents the amount of dirt and microbes each slice touched. It’s really disgusting, awful, and convincing.


I’m wishing you all a stressless, and healthy last week of quarantine and a safe come back to a more normal life!

Prêt à Parler – expert in online French courses

Prêt à Parler – expert in online French courses

What do you get when a French-Canadian opera singer lands in Geneva? (No, it’s not one of those jokes!) Quick answer: an expat-oriented, 100% online professional French language school. In other words: Prêt à Parler.

FYI: yes, your feeling is right – this is a sponsored article . But, as always, it is about a company/product I know, tested, and trust.

You know the story: you arrive as an expat in Geneva on a “short contract” only to realise 10 years later that you’re still here and still don’t really speak French well enough, especially when it comes to all those online forms, doing your taxes and even applying for a Swiss Passport. Add to that the stress of finding the time to get out of the house the same time each week to attend a French-language class, and of course getting through the notorious Geneva traffic, hunting for parking or navigating TPG. All while balancing the laundry, groceries, a job and a kid or kids at home. 

This is where Prêt à Parler comes in. My husband, P, has been using it and it has been brilliant. He can go about his day, work, child-care – you name it – and once a week he simply logs in for one-hour of French lessons. On the other side of the screen is one of the ‘Super Profs’ as they call them, waiting to start a lesson that will feel more like a conversation than schoolwork, where grammar finds its way in without you even realising it.

But hey, didn’t you say there was an opera singer? What’s that got to do with teaching French?

Ah, oui! The opera singer in question is Isabelle Nicolas-Johnson, the founder of Prêt à Parler. Her opera background has helped her become an expert in articulation and pronunciation, as she attended many diction classes (French, English, Italian, and German) as part of her studies. 

Over the years, she has developed special French pronunciation tips – and I don’t know about you, but this is where my husband and I struggle the most, especially with that French ‘r’.

About Prêt à Parler

Prêt à Parler brought digital education to Geneva way before COVID-19 forced everyone to move online. Isabelle launched her online programs back in 2017 when the word “corona” was only associated with a bottle of cold beer. (Don’t you miss those days?) Before she knew it, she was training a team of top bilingual teachers as well as her communication and IT support experts. 

Prêt à Parler is a local expert in online French courses. It offers one-on-one classes, webinars, and preparatory courses for the FIDE exam (soon-to-be obligatory for those applying for a Swiss C permit, or a Swiss passport). They also developed their own learning platform called French for Everyday Life and share a ton of tips and mini-lessons on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram (handy for someone like me who spends a lot of time on those sites!), so you can give the idea of an online French class a try. 

Benefit 1: Personalisation

Isabelle always knew that a one-size-fits-all approach would not work in education. We all have different styles of learning, interests, and reasons to learn a new language. Each course is personalised and adapted to your needs (meaning no two classes are the same!) 

Need helping writing a formal letter? They will turn it into a class. Didn’t understand the programme you watched yesterday? They can turn it into a listening exercise. You basically get to turn REAL life into a useful learning exercise.

Benefit 2: The teachers

All Prêt à Parler teachers have been carefully selected for their professional, technological and personal skills. Plus, they know everything there is to know about that (in)famous FIDE exam.

After a trial lesson (super helpful), my husband was certain he had finally found a program matching his needs. He scheduled his lessons at 9 pm. Yes, you read that right, 9 in the evening. What!? How!? Well, it turns out his teacher, Sandra, is a native French-speaker who currently lives in New Zealand. 9 pm here – 9 am there. That is the beauty of online training programs – both the teacher and the student can be anywhere in the world.

Benefit 3: Comfort and flexibility

We are all different, with different lives, and different chaos (aka work-life balance), yet many language schools are set up as such so that you have to adapt to their schedule. Prêt à Parler offers a flexible solution (side note, it’s also great for introverts like me who don’t love the idea of group classes with strangers each week!)

My husband’s lessons each last 1 hour. Not 1 hour plus 40 minutes commute each way. Not 1 hour plus anything. There is no stress about traffic jams, the bus being late, or finding a parking spot. Not only does he have his lessons tailored to his specific needs, but improving his French doesn’t interfere with his work-life or his family life. 

When it comes to scheduling your lessons, it can be late at night, early in the morning, or even on a Sunday. Your private classes can be rescheduled if needed within 24h. It means that no last-minute business trip, your child getting sick or vacation will be an obstacle in boosting your French! That is, as long as you have an Internet connection, of course. 

And this is all possible thanks to an opera singer from Quebec who moved to Geneva. After all, who better to understand and cater to expats than a fellow expat? 

PRACTICAL INFO

Geneva online during Covid-19 crisis

Geneva online during Covid-19 crisis

Everything, or almost everything is closed, but is it? Thanks to the internet and human creativity we can still enjoy some of Geneva’s places! Coronavirus has pushed Geneva online and it’s looking good!

Below you’ll find resources of Geneva online places for families, kids, adults, teens, singles, couples, and everyone else!

CINEMAS STREAM WITH CINEFILE

Missing Cine 17, Cinérama Empire, Cinema du Grütli and Cinema Bio? Cinefile is a Swiss streaming service, that has currently partnered up with cinemas all across the country, including some from Geneva. By renting certain movies (provided by the theatres) you can help these local cinemas survive the COVID crisis. You can rent each movie for 48h for 7.50 CHF (sometimes less). You can choose from films from all genres, countries, and age ranges (yes! Films for kids included!). It’s one of the most enjoyable types of support – watch good cinema and support local theatres!
Here’s for example what Cinema Grutli offers: https://en-grutli.cinefile.ch/

Museums

ARIANA
Musee Ariana prepared 3 propositions of activities for kids. There’s origami, bread baking, and a discovery booklet.
MUSEE D’HISTOIRE NATURELLE
Natural History Museum & The History of Science Museum are publishing one video a week on their Youtube channel! You can check them via their website or directly on YT.
MUSEE D’ARTS ET D’HISTOIRE DE GENEVE
Musee d’Art wt d’Histoire de Geneve has an interactive, fun and unique proposition for the public! It’s called „MAH Chez Vous”. It’s a smart way to make us want to browse through their collection. The goal is to choose one (or more) art pieces, take a photo of a place at ours we would like this art to be displayed. We send it all to MAH, and they reply with an edited photo – the art incorporated to the picture! Try it out here! And ask your kids to chose something for their room, too! MAH chez vous – Partagé avec nous vos oeuvres préférées
CERN
CERN made loads of resources available – activity books for different age groups, games, videos, and more! Cern Discover  CERN online | Visit CERN
RED CROSS MUSEUM

Croix rouge has an idea for original colouring. They turned some of the posters from their collection into colouring pages. You can choose whatever colours you wish or follow the original.  Home – International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

CENTRE D’ART CONTEMPORAIN

Workshops for families, children and adults no longer take place, but the Centre is convinced that creation must and can continue at home, so every week they post an interesting challenge for the kids. Practise of drawing and writing can nourish us in this period of isolation. Stay safe and draw.

MARTIN BODMER FOUNDATION
Martin Bodmer Foundation proposes text illumination as boredom fighter. It’s an old art dating back from the middle-ages – hand-made decorations around the text. Your kids can write a letter to a family member, or a friend and play with this type of art. Many wonderful examples to look at the Foundation’s website.

GRAND THEATRE DE GENEVE

Many, many shows – ballet, concerts, operas – are available to watch for free on their website. Each week a different program. You can access them here.

OTHERS

Many places we love, organisations we admire, and companies we have fun with have now moved online, where they offer challenges to keep kids occupy or online courses. Here are some of them:

Recrecrea with upcycling inspirations and challenges.

Kidstime Club with online courses for kids (art history, emotional intelligence).

Bricks 4 Kidz Geneva RD with free online classes and fun challenges.

Techlabs with many online courses for kids, including Easter camps (till April 17th).

Spell Languages with its brilliant Facebook group full of ideas!

You can also find many online events, challenges, and classes in Parentville’s calendar. The calendar is now filled ONLY with online fun. Check it out!