May for families in Geneva

May for families in Geneva

May is looking great! The weather is excellent and as always in Geneva with the start of spring, events are started to happen with a frequency that is hard to catch up. Especially on weekends many of us will have trouble choosing where to go. This is why I created this article so that you can plan!

This article includes just some highlights, particularly cool, important, or traditional events. There is much much more in Parentville’s events calendar, which you can browse via categories, dates, and locations. Click on the button below to find it.

Chateau du Vullierens

UNTIL JUNE 16

Chateau de Vullierens reopened for season late in April and will  stay opened till June 16th. Castle’s outdoors is renowned for incredible flower gardens, and interesting sculptures exhibitions. There is also fun for kids  – King Lezard’s Kingdom. It is a land of trees with sculpted faces, animals, and adventures! It is Parentville tested and recommended!

The castle also organizes brunches on weekends.

MORE INFO

In spring, the Gardens are open every day from April 21st to June 16th, 10 am to 6 pm. Last entry at 5 pm. Half a day is required to visit the Domaine. However, it is possible to visit in less time.

Les Jardins du Château de Vullierens
CH-1115 Vullierens / Switzerland

Castle’s website is here.

RACE FOR GIFT

MAY 26

Race for Gift is a unique sports event that takes place in Geneva.  It is a unique event adapted to all sports level (even my lousy one) with one condition: to enter the fun you need to fundraise for one of the organisations from the list! Parentville, aka the Sokolik family, will do the 5km family walk this year to support “Save the Children” – an NGO that creates “Save the Children Child-Friendly Spacea” in the conflict zones, where children can play and learn, continue being children. You can help us reach the entering amount of 300 by donating ANY amount here, every penny counts! It was incredibly hard for us to chose the NGO, so we asked our friends on Instagram to help us chose, and then asked Z for approval. Thank you in advance for helping us help the children in the least kid-friendly parts of the world!

MORE INFO

May 26
5km walk; 5km run, 10km run. Each team must raise the minimum of 300 CHF to enter the event. You can support my family’s goal to support an organization helping kids in the conflict zones, “save the Children”, by donating here.
It will all start at the Rotonde du Mont-Blanc in the centre of Geneva. You can find out more on RaceForGift.ch.

fete de la dance

MAY 2-5

The Fete de la Danse is a few days in May to dance together in 36 cities and towns of Switzerland. From hip-hop to tango, from contemporary dance to waltz and folk dances.
Take a class in a new dance, discover the work of choreographers and artists in the theatres, be surprised by performances in the public space or sketch out your first dance step: anything is possible!

And of course, many activities in the program are destined towards children!

MORE INFO

You can find out more about this Festival and consult the whole program on www.fetedeladanse.ch.

Salon du Livre

MAY 1-5

For families and children, the most fun part is the stand organised by Payot “L’îlot Jeunesse”! It is a playful stand with over 20’000 books waiting for the kids. Of course, many comfy reading spots will be offered to young readers and their adult company. On top of that, a vibrant entertainment program awaits! For example the yearly Prix Enfantaisie (Wednesday, May 1st) which will kick off the festivities: meetings and dedications with the favourite authors of children, including Silvan Borer (who illustrated the program leaflet). Many workshops are also on the schedule: philo chit-chats with Theopopettes, fun debates about food, ecology or robots, a concert by Gaëtan, gaming tournaments with Helvetiq, science, DIY, storytimes, and more!

MORE INFO

May 1-5
In Palexpo: Route François-Peyrot 30, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex.
The whole program for kids to be found here in a pdf.
https://salondulivre.ch/

festival la coursde contes

A festival of storytelling and theatre shows. Grab your tickets fast, and it can sell out quickly. There are shows in the program for kids of all ages. Most of them take place in La Julienne (Plan-les-Ouates), where before or after you can enjoy a meal/snack in the restaurant. 

MORE INFO

You can find out about the shows within the festival in the Parentville’s calendar. Also, of course, the official website of the festival is a great place to check the shows, too.

Marathon Geneve

MAY 11 – 12

The Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef is one of the most beautiful and fastest marathons in Europe. The beauty of the Geneva route, with the first part in the countryside and arrival in the heart of the city in front of the famous Jet d’Eau, attracts runners from around the world (113 nationalities represented in 2017). FOR KIDS: Six races of 1 km to 5 km will be proposed again for juniors aged 3 to 15 years. For security reasons, they will be organised on marked and grid courses by members of the organisation. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

MORE INFO

All you need to know is on the Harmony Geneva Marathon’s website.

FETE DES MERES

MAY 12

Swiss Mother’s Day this year is on May 19th. Around that date expect many workshops, brunches, and what not! Parentville’s Calendar will group them all in the “Fete des Meres” category. Hope you will find something nice for your family on that day.

HOPITAL DES NOUNOURS

MAY 13-19

Hopital des Nounours (HDN) is an event organised by medical students to introduce the children of 4 to 8 years to the hospital world in an original and fun way. How it works? Take our child and one of their stuffed animals that fell sick or got injured (stomach ache, cold, broken leg etc, you can come up with anything!). Upon arrival, they will be greeted by one of the Nounoursologists (eng. Teddybearologists) working in this hospital. After having established the diagnosis together, they will go to the different departments of the hospital to treat it (including surgery, a playful MRI, pharmacy, and more!).

 

MORE INFO

This year a prior registration is needed to take part in HDN. You can register here. If you remember the waiting time in HDN previous years, the registration system is a saviour!

Alice in Wonderland at Simply Theater

MAY 17-26

Another great production is coming up in the Simply Theatre! This time it is the magical world of Alice aka the Wonderland. Literature’s classic on stage will emerge kids in the rabbit hole and everything that lies beneath it. Tweedle twins, White Rabbit, and the Queen of Hearts await you with, as the official description says, the most hilarious-filled madcap fun!
As always with big shows at Simply Theatre, it is best to book asap!
MORE INFO
Simply Theatre: 23a Centre Choiseul, Avenue de Choiseul, 1290 Versoix.

Nuit des musees

MAY 18

This year’s theme of the Night of the Museums is “the secret”.  There will puzzle to solve, unseen things to see, secret places to visit,  escape games, and more! The program should be announced soon on Facebook. You will also find all the family0friendly events related to the Night of the Museums in Parentville’s calendar (by browsing the museum category or searching “Nuit des musees”).

MORE INFO

More details will be announced any minute now on this website and here on Facebook.

Semaine du livre petite enfance et famille

MAY 22-26

Every year, in May, children are invited to discover the world of books. A series of activities related to books are proposed to familiarise toddlers as early as possible with the written (and illustrated) words.

MORE INFO

The program is intended for the general public on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at the Maison de la Creativite, and all week at the library of La Cité. The whole program will soon be announced on this website, and will immediately be ulpoaded to Parentville’s events calendar.

OTHER EVENTS

THE WHOLE MONTH OF MAY

So many things will happen in May, that it would almost be impossible to list them in an article and keep it easy to read. You can always check Parentville’s events calendar, but also here’s a small list of other events that will take place in May (for some of them no program was available when I was preparing the article):

Animals in Geneva

Animals in Geneva

Spring is perfect to visit animals and get to know the better! There are some hidden gems in Geneva and around where your children can enjoy some time with fury (and not only) friends.

PARC CHALLANDES

It’s an animal refuge in Versoix. They are doing an amazing job saving many animals from misery and helping them thrive. Currently the park is home to felines, to monkeys, marmosets and tamarins, to birds such as parrots, sparrows, pheasants, ducks, peacocks, and owls as well as wild boars, squirrels, guinea pigs, rabbits and the occasional fox, wolf, or deer. Most of these animals can be released back into the wild once they are strong enough.

The park is fully funded by the generosity of its members and sponsors. You can easily become a member of its association to participate in their humble goals. Currently, they desperately need our help, any penny you can donate can make a difference!

DETAILS

The park is open to visitors every morning, including Sundays, from 9 .30 am to 12.30.
The first visit is free of charge. For any further visits, guests are requested to kindly become a member of association.

MORE INFO:
website (also in English).

ADDRESS:
33 Route de Valavran
1293 BellevueTPG: Bus V, stop “Valavran”.

SPA BERNEX

Another refuge is located in Bernex. It’s where you can come and adopt an animal looking for a home (dogs, vats, rabbits). But it is also where you can come three times a week to walk a dog for an hour or two! It’s a perfect way to teach children respect and show them responsibility before getting a dog, or simply to offer them outside with dogs for some reason, you can’t have one at home.

MORE INFO

Monday, Tuesdays, Fridays, from 2 pm till 5 pm.
Here’s the SPA’s website with more details.

ADDRESS:

Société Genevoise pour
la Protection des Animaux
Refuge de Vailly
5, Avenue de Cavoitanne
1233 Bernex

VIVARIUM

Reptiles anyone? Snakes maybe? Crocodiles, lizards, and other monsters (like spiders) await you in Meyrin in the Vivarium. It’s important to notice two things: you can organise your kid’s birthday party in Vivarium (hugging with lizards, carrying snakes included), or enrol your 8+ kid into a reptile school, where kids learn how to take care of these creatures.

MORE INFO
Opening hours: Mon-Tue: 14h – 17h; Saturday & Sunday 10h – 17h.
Tickets: 10 for adults, six CHF for kids aged 6-16.
More info about the exposition, birthdays, and the reptile school on Vivarium’s website.

ADDRESS
Rue du Cardinal-Journet 32A,
1217 Meyrin

Bois de la Bâtie

Adored by families in Geneva, Bois de la Batie is a small zoo. It allows visitors to observe many species of local or barnyard wildlife throughout the year. Spring is exceptionally spectacular in Batie as many residents of the park give birth to their babies. From the zoo, you can head out to the forests by the river, or a big playground nearby (paddling pool in summer), or to the barbeque areas.

MORE INFO
Opening hours from November till March: 8h – 18h.
Opening hours from April till October: 8h – 20h.
You’ll find details on this website.

ADDRESS
Chemin de la Bâtie 28, 1213 Petit-Lancy
TPG: Bus 2 et 19, stop “Clair-Vue”.

Ferme La Gavotte

 

La Gavotte is a non-profit organisation with the central goal of promoting the discovery, approach and knowledge of animals by children. The access to the site is free, and it is open every day of the year. Don’t mistake it for a zoo. In La Gavotte animals are spending time behind a fence but everyone can open the gate and go in to meet them in person. Animals to discover there are: horses, poneys, lamas, alpacas, Vietnamese Pot-bellied, sheep, goats, rabbits, hens, and more!
Also important to note is that the pony rides are organised every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday!

 

MORE INFO
Open every day.
Here’s the website of Ferme La Gavotte.

 

ADDRESS
Chemin des Verjus 138, 1212 Grand-Lancy
Accès par TPG : Bus 22 ou 42 – Arrêt Les Bruyères
Coordonnées GPS  : N 46°10.465′ –  E 6°06.015′

JARDIN BOTANIQUE

Famous for its playground, carrousel, boutique, and the views, Jardin Botanique is also a home to many animals. The animal park is dedicated to the preservation of ancient livestock. These animals cohabit with other unusual and exotic animals such as peacocks, flamingos and a large number of breeds of poultry.

MORE INFO
Free entry
From October 25th till March 31st: 9h30-17h00
From April 1st till October 24th: 8h00-19h30

ADDRESS
Chemin de L’Imperatrice 1,
1292 Pregny-Chambésy

Jardin Alpin

 

Located in Meyrin, it is a wonderful parc with magical and mesmerizing places. The villa in the parc hosts many different workshops and activities, and the park itself organizes very good exhibitions. The Chèvrerie is a little part of the parc with animals, two species to be exact: the Appenzell hen and the booted goat. In times of calving and broods, guided tours are organized by appointment.

 

MORE DETAILS
Much more info about the parc on its website.
Opening hours:
From May 1st till September 30th: 8h30-21h00
From October 1st till April 30th: 8h30-18h00

 

ADDRESS
Chemin du Jardin Alpin
1217 Meyrin

How many of these places have you already visited with the kids?

Moms-friendly French course with Spell

Moms-friendly French course with Spell

The first thing you need to know before reading this article is that I worked for Spell Languages for a year in the past and witnessed how amazing this school is no matter which teacher takes the class, no matter what age kids are, and no matter which language they are learning.

ABOUT SPONSORED ARTICLES

So yes, this is a sponsored article, one of those that pay my bills, but as always on Parentville, even a paid article appears here only because I believe the service or the product is worth sharing with you. As a result, every month, I turn down several paid collaborations. Either the brand does not meet my values, or I don’t think it will be useful for you.

Back to the topic.

Back in the past, I thought the one thing that was missing at Spell was the parent-child classes. But what I had in mind were lessons for kids. The idea could have not been realized back then. Now that Kasia, the founder of Spell Languages, is a fresh mom, she understood my idea and, as usual with her, took it to another level!

As a result, Spell now offers French classes for adults with kids!

MOMS WITH KIDS

Let me explain. You take your baby or your toddler, and without needing to find a creche, a nanny, or booking the grandma, you can go and learn French!

I participated in one of these classes the other day. It was wonderful! All adults and kids sitting on a colourful flow, pillows available, toys and children’s books in the middle. The teacher started revising passé composé and l’imparfait (blah), the moment she would see kids needing more attention she would switch to a kid-friendly activity – a song. Not any song though, but one that would be fun for kids, and bring new vocab to parents. A perfect mix!

Parents will also learn to read, acquire new vocab through children’s’ books that they will be asked to read to their children.

It is just fantastic! I remember advising some of my friends to start learning French via simple kiddy songs and books. They’re simple yet rich in new words, and you can find a children’s book probably for all grammar problems!

This is how the lessons go. Moms are learning, kids playing, walking/crawling around the room, bubbling with one another. Worksheets are involved, and occasionally some voluntary homework.

The end of the lesson takes the form of a casual conversation.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

There is one more important thing for moms/dads/nannies in this course. Lessons happen three times a week, but it is totally up to you how often you will come. You purchase a “pass” that will be valid for a certain amount of time (a month – 110 CHF, a trimester – 320 CHF, a semester – 420 CHF) and within that time you come to as many lessons as you’d like! You can join once a week for a while, then come three times a week, then change again. Alternatively, you can purchase 1 lesson at a time (for 25 CHF).

It takes so much stress away! You are not obliged to come, and will not lose the money if your baby was up all night and you can barely think in your native tongue, not to mention a foreign one. Your toddler gets sick; it’s still ok – stay in, take care of yourself and your kids and come back when you’re all in good shape again!

Current groups work up from the intermediate levels, but a beginner’s French group will start soon as well.

THE STAFF

The staff is gentle, helpful, used to working with small munchkins so they will never be disturbed with a child crying, singing, or making a mess. They will even assure your kid is safe and sound while it’s your turn to solve a grammar exercise.

LOCATION

The Spell Language centre is located in Geneva Old Town, at the Place de Bourg de Four. It is an old building without a lift or a place to leave the prams downstairs, but do not worry! A smiling Spell employee will come down to you and take your pram up and then down again. No hustle.

This is how it is at Spell: smiles, help, flexibility, and a solution to every problem small and big.

I wholeheartedly urge you to try these classes and be better prepared for when your child starts school or any form of a French-speaking social life. That is not even to be able to talk to the teachers and other parents but to avoid not understanding your kids talking about you their friends… (they will turn into teenagers sooner than you expect).  😉

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

Petit Marché, second-hand shopping made easy

When Anna moved to Switzerland with her two kids, she started searching for what she knew from Denmark – an easy way to buy and sell children’s second-hand clothes, toys, and gear, in other words, an app.

Searching

She found many ways to do it, but none of them seemed really easy. Facebook groups are difficult places to browse what we really need, posts get lost in overly long feeds, scheduling payments, appointments and reserving items can become a hustle. There are some websites out there, but not many people know about them, so the offer they propose is limited. She wanted a nice, easy to use app aimed at local families.

The solution

When she realised nothing like that existed here, she decided to try and do it. As a result, you can now download (iOS only for now) a beautifully designed app – Petit Marché, designed for the Geneva region families.

As it is designed by a Dane, it is as Hygge as an app can be. Nice, clean, friendly, easy to use.

Not only do we need to get rid of our kids’ too small clothes as no basement can hold it all forever, but we can also save money and our planet by buying second hand. Anna knows buying second-hand doesn’t seem the safe/cool way of shopping for everyone. That is why she created an app that answers all these doubts.

Buying & Selling

Within the app, you can browse through categories, buy and sell. The app solves many problems with already existing second-hand-shopping solutions. For example, once you find what you want you can click on “buy now” – the money on your credit card will be blocked but not yet transferred to the seller, it will only happen once you receive the item. You can also contact the seller directly to schedule other forms of payments.

Quality & Pricing

The app assures the high quality and reasonable prices of items being sold there, as Anna goes through every new selling post to approve it. This way you won’t waste time on going through worn off low-quality t-shirts put out there for a price of almost new.

Conciergerie

If you’re faced with Marie-Kondo-style pile of clothes to get rid off and don’t have the time/energy to photograph it all and manage the selling process, Anna can do it for you within the “Conciergerie” service! She will pick up the items, photograph them, put online with descriptions, meet up with buyers and coordinate every details od the selling process (commission: 25%).

Security

To assure people buying and selling within the app are serious and real, we all have to put in our banking details (IBAN) and the credit card number to start. Financial transactions are carried out by a professional payment provider securing the data and against fraud, so using the app is safe for everyone. If you only want to browse, no problem you can do it. Paying directly within the app though will financially support the app to grow further and assure even better service in the future with a tiny percentage of the sale going to the app’s owner.

I would be really grateful if you could spend a few minutes to download the app and check it out! Let me know what you think afterwards!

(And in any case – see you at the Petit Marché! I’ll be soon selling there Z’s clothes (sizes 5-6 years old) and looking for spring/summer clothes in sizes 6-7/122.)

This weekend in Geneva

This weekend in Geneva

When you guys tell me this website could serve you better, I always do everything I can to meet your needs. This is why Parentville is now equipped with an events calendar – perfect for planning weekends, Wednesdays, and all other days of the week.

You can search via dates, locations, and categories (including ages of children). There is one particular category with charity events and occasional categories such as “Easter camps” for example.

The calendar shows one-off, ponctual activities, festivals, and workshops.

If you hear about any event not included in the calendar, or are hosting one – let me know! I will happily include it (and yes, it is absolutely free).

Zero waste parenting in Geneva

Zero waste parenting in Geneva

In this Zero-waste-series I will share with you projects, ideas, and places, that can help you create a green and healthy planet for all of our kids. This time I’ll focus on all-about-kids zero waste solution.

 

One of our goals as a family this year is to decrease the amount of waste we produce. We start by decluttering, being more detailed recyclers, and more conscious consumers.

The more we’re into it, the more I see how in our busy lives there is hardly any place for making own granola, dishwashing powder, jams, and buying food only on farmers’ markets and in “en vrac”(eng. in bulks) shops. In response to that, I did what I love doing – I researched and put together a list of more or less simple solutions. I genuinely believe every small step matters.

The zero-waste journey’s goal is not to become 100% zero waste in a month or even a year. Each family can find its own pace, compromises. There are things each one of us can easily let go (like plastic straws, plastic food foil) because replacements are affordable, easy, and nice.

CLOTHES

The smaller the kid, the more clothes they need (at least what many of us are told at the beginning of parenthood) and the faster they grow out of them. We buy, use, dump/sell/donate. Constantly.
Solutions: buying second hand (Kidsadress or a new app Petit Marche) and renting (Les P’tits Louent or Biboutic).

DIAPERS

Back to crap… Kids, diapers, waste. Nappies from supermarkets are easy to get, easy to put, and easy to dispose of. But they also take ages to decompose. What if I told you there are (almost as easy) solutions that are planet-friendly at the same time?
Solution: Reusable diapers. Definitely not for me but maybe for you? It’s just an option, check it out and then decide. Who knows, maybe you won’t be grossed out and find it practical. Reusable diapers are better looking and easier to use than 40 years ago. In Geneva, there’s even a company that can deliver a clean, fresh set of 35 nappies to your home every week (Eco-couches).

TOYS

How many toys do kids play with? And how many do they own? Toys take a lot of space, become dull too quickly, and cost a fortune. In Geneva, there is a way to have toys, change them as often as one likes, and save money at the same time.
Solution: it’s called a ludotheque. You can read about it in this short article on Parentville. It costs 30 CHF a year to be enrolled and borrow toys. Nice?

Baby BOX instead of a cradle

Yes, there is even a solution to replace cradle in a zero waste friendly way. Let’s face it; cradles take space, are not used for a long time, to then retake a lot of space in the basement. How about an easily transportable “cradle”, that can later become storage for baby’s firsts, or toys?

Solution: Baby box, the Scandinavian style but in Switzerland. It’s called Baby Nids, and it is lovely.

BOOKS

This one is pretty obvious, but damn so easy to forget: good old libraries. Even small libraries in the region have a selection of books in languages other than French. It is mostly: English, German, Spanish, Portuguese. If you find a Polish section, please let me know!

OTHER

What if in the end we still end up having quite a lot in the recycling bin? It can all be used for bricolage, DIY and fun for kids (e.g. bowling with pet bottles). The master of that art is Recrecrea, organising kids workshops across the canton, mainly in La Julienne, Mamma Lisa de Puplinge, and Bibi Cafe.

How to not the waste in the house is the key! Start with decreasing your interest in leaflets or business cards (grab a photo of them with your phone), don’t accept free crap, samples, kinder egg toys. Think about if you need all the newspapers and magazines. Every item for each you no-thank-you is a win!

In the future articles from this series, I will try to tackle food, shopping, bathroom, kitchen, and other areas of our daily lives. Stay tuned!

February agenda for families in Geneva

February agenda for families in Geneva

The mountains are currently the main direction for many people, but if you need suggestions to what to do when you stay in Geneva, voila! Here I am with plenty of ideas.

 

I know that this super long article is not very easy to read, but rest assured a solution is on its way!

 

If you need a super short version, it is available on ThingsToDoInGeneva.ch.

 

This time the agenda is divided into highlights, libraries, museum exhibitions, theater shows, and February camps.

HIGHLIGHTS

31.01 – 03.02
ART GENEVE
Palexpo

No age limits. Entry fee (details here).

Artgenève is an art expo that has been taking place in Palexpo for several years now. It is a chance to visit local and international galleries in one place. Both public and private collections have their place. Every year there is also a children’s area where they are invited to play and create.

1-23.02
ANTIGEL
Various locations

The annual Antigel festival does not aim at kids, but here a selection of events and shows that might suit your family or older kids.

“Feu Au Lac” a possibility to visit the plage des Eaux-Vives before it opens for the public in summer. The visitors will receive torches that will create a show of lights. Might be difficult with prams, but overall sound like a nice family outing! 2.02, 17h30.

“Le Corridor” – a basement of a school transformed into a world of David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick, so definitely for older children or those fearless. 20-23.02, 19h&21h.

“Hocus Pocus” – a dance show of thousand and one full adventures, twists and surprises. A show for the whole family, though it starts at 8 pm. 11-12.02, 20h.

24.01-15.02
EXPOSITION MONDES VIRTUELS
La Julienne   

Free entry, minimum age: 7. Details here.      

Two installations in augmented reality for young audiences (from 7 years old). The first is “Ko’Ko’s Curse”, an interactive ecological tale co-produced by the RTS. The second one is Adventures-Mat, a play mat to discover the human body.

These installations are accessible by using applications for smartphones and tablets.

Opening hours: Mon-Wed 9h-19h, Thu-Fri 9h-20h.

2.02-3.02       
MUSEE VR DU GIFF
La Julienne   

Minimum age: 12, free entry. More info here.

The first weekend of February, the VR (Virtual Reality) Museum of GIFF (Geneva International Film Festival) will be moved to La julienne. The program includes works in virtual reality that reproduce famous paintings realised by contemporary artists. The opportunity to immerse in paintings by Hodler, Vallotton or Böcklin.

Opening hours: Saturday 11h-19h, Sunday 11h-18h.

3.02, SUNDAY
DANSE EN FAMILLE
Maison de Quartier de Carouge

For ages 2-4, fee: 5 CHF, reservation required. More info here.

The + Dense association invites you to experience an approach to contemporary dance through Danse en famille workshops. Guided by two dancers-teachers, they offer the opportunity to explore the different paths of the dance world.

Touching, carrying, hugging, dancing and laughing in an artistic setting, under the direction of professionals, are all actions that create new links between the child and the adult.

Reservations at : culture@carouge.ch or 022 307 89 08.

3.02, SUNDAY
GRAND BAZAR
Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève

No age limits, no entrance fee.

Every first Sunday of the month MEG becomes a place filled with activities for kids of all ages. There is a baby bazar for those aged 0-2, guided tours for families, music activities, and more.

14h-17h Make your pair of poï-toa before and dance to improve reflex, flexibility and coordination (places limited, no reservations, free).

Starting at 15h, every 30 minutes till 17h, a baby Bazar will take place thanks to Espace Musical. Each session lasts 20 minutes and is destined to families with kids between 0 and two years of age (places limited, no reservations, free).

At 15h and 16h an exploration of the exhibition in a very playful way will wait for all kids age 2 and more (places limited, no reservations, free).

More info about these activities and even more taking place that day at MEG’s website.

3.02, SUNDAY
FESTIVAL DES ENFANTS
Saint Cergue

No age limits.

A ski festival for kids with fun activities including fun with sledge dogs and Ecole Suisse de Ski. The main event of the day is a slalom for kids attending classes 1P-6P. You can enrol via this document.  The festival will take over the whole village of Saint-Cergue, the slopes, the ice rink. It all starts at 13h30. More information here.

3.02, SUNDAY
PETITS RENDEZ-VOUS, « SAVOIR FAIRE ET DÉFAIRE »
MAMCO

Ages: 5-10, free. More info on Mamco’s website.

Guided visits for kids in MAMCO are worth your time! They’re funny, playful, and educative. Each tour lasts 45 minutes, is held in English and French. Children must be accompanied by an adult during the activity.

Also on that day, a workshop for kids age 7+ will be held from 15h till 17h, in French. For this workshop, please book your place at visites@mamco.ch, as the number of participants is limited.

6.02, WEDNESDAY
ATELIER PHILO FOR KIDS
STUDIO SOHAM

Alexandra Célérault, an author of the philosophical children’s book “Je Suis Une etoile et Toi Aussi”, hosts regular workshops for kids and families. This one is in the form of a debate on topics chosen by children themselves. It is designed to help kids be more conscious, active, and respectful human beings, learn to listen to others’ points of view. They will work on critical thinking, tolerance, and benevolence.

For children aged 4-7, the workshop will start 14h30, last 45 minutes and cost 20 CHF. For older ones between 8 and 12 years old, it will start at 15h30, last one hours, and cost 30 CHF.

For bookings and more details, please check on this website.

6.02, WEDNESDAY
TROI PETIT COCHONS
THONEX

Free entrance, minimum age: 4.

A well-known tale about three little pigs and the wolf as a theatre show is awaiting you in Carouge. Inscenization created by Théâtre Couleurs d’Ombres. One house builds with straws, the other with wood and the third one with bricks. Then the wolf comes… it ends happily (at least for the pigs). You can find out more here.

9.02, SATURDAY
THE LAUNCH OF PETIT FAVORITE
LIBRAIRIE DE L’ÎLE

Free entrance. No age limit for the event. 3+ for the workshop.

Petit Favorite is the new Swiss fashion brand for the whole family! Created by a lovely “Genevoise”, Julie Parenthoux, the brand will soon offer clothes for moms, dads, kids, but first – the socks! Soft, nice, and with a neat print! The event will start at 14h and go on till 18h. Some workshops will be waiting for you (though better to reserve your spot now at julie@petit-favorite.com): silkscreen printing on tote bags, cupcakes decorations (for 3+).

More details about the brand here, about the event here.

9.02, SATURDAY
STORY TIME
PAYOT, RIVE GAUCHE

Free entrance, no age limit.

Once a month, on Saturday, Payot organises an English story time for kids! It is held in the English section on the first floor (where you can also find “ABC Geneva”). The February session will include timeless classics like Gruffalo, The Little Mole, and the Hungry Caterpillar. It starts at 10h30 and lasts 1 hour. You can read more or less the same info here 😉

10.02, SUNDAY
MOVIE: MON VOISINE TOTORO
MEG

Minimum age: 4, free entrance, adult’s presence required, no reservation, a limited number of places. More info here.

Mei and Satsuki move to the countryside with their head-in-the-clouds father and their sick mother. To be cured she needs to get away from the stress of the city. Arriving in their house on the edge of a vast forest, they discover the existence of mysterious creatures. The girls develop an unusual, unique friendship with these supernatural beings! A heartwarming beautiful children’s movie.

10.02, SUNDAY
ATELIER DECOUVERTE
ESPACE COLIBRI

9h-12h, for 5-10-year-olds (no parents’ participation), 50 CHF

Espace Colibri has a special place in our hearts; we adore their workshops be it painting, yoga, music, or school support. The educators working in Espace Colibri are amazing, passionate, and with heads full of ideas.

Improvisation, movement, dance, singing, listening and percussion are at the rendezvous to explore the different facets of a sound universe. The opportunity to practice music in a group and in a fun way without any prerequisites. More information and enrollments here (be sure to check their other courses!).

12.02, TUESDAY
SWISS FOOD ACADEMY WORKSHOP
ESPACE 99

An occasion to create a healthy relationship with everything kitchen-related. Swiss Food Academy hosts many workshops across the canton, including these in Charmille. Each time a different activity with a different theme awaits little cooks and gourmands. If Charmille is not convenient for you, check Swiss Food Academy’s website for workshops in other areas. Enrollments: contact@swissfoodacademy.ch.

14.02, THURSDAY
LIRE AVEC SON BEBE
Bibliothèque du Saint Jean

For babies and toddlers (ages 0-2), free participation, enrollments required.

A great program by the city libraries! You come with your kids to enjoy books and reading in an intimate setting of a library. Librarians will accompany you in the discovery of children’s literature, present their favourites and offer you personalised advice. And don’t worry if you don’t speak French, many picture books await you there too! More information here. For enrollments call 022 418 92 02 or email: saintjean-jeunes.bmu@ville-ge.ch.

14.02, THURSDAY
VALENTINE’S DINNER FOR FAMILIES
Bibi Cafe

No age limits, reservation required.

Bibi Cafe came up with a brilliant idea! A Valentine’s dinner for parents and kids with a special menu, and a nanny to make the kids busy! Reserve a table asap as all events like that in Bibi Cafe get sold out fast. For more information about the dinner check this Facebook event, for more information about Bibi click here. Psst: “ABC Geneva” is available there too!

23-24.02, WEEKEND
MUSEOMIX & AMUSEN EXPOSITION
La Julienne

No age limits, free entrance.

AMusEn is an association that aims to build a children’s museum in Geneva. Over the February school-break, together with Museomix, they organise a bilingual camp for kids 8+, during which they will ask kids to imagine a museum of their dreams. Based on the dreams children will be building prototypes of their ideas, using traditional materials and modern technology. After the camp, all the prototypes will be exposed in La Julienne! #parentvillerecommended.

OTHER EVENTS:

1-3.02, Disney sur Glace (details)

 

2.02, 10h & 14h; workshop for kids ages 5-7 at Ariana Museum (details)

2.02, 10h30 for ages 4-6. La Petite Lanterne at Pathe Balexert. Details.

 

6.02, 16h; Atelier Bricks for kidz in Bibi Café (details).

6.02, 15h, for ages 6-10 activities at MAH (details)

6.02; 16h15; activities for ages 2-4 and 5-10 at MAMCO (details)

 

8.02, 10h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details).

 

9.02, 10h, 11h30, 15h; workshop for ages 2-5 at Ariana Museum (details)

 

10.02, 15h30; activities for ages 6+ at MAH (details)

10.02, 14h; activities at MEG for ages 8+ (details)

 

13.02, 15h, activities for ages 6-10 at MAH (details)

13.02, 10h30, 14h30, 15h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details)

13.02, 11h30; music activities for ages 0-2 at MEG (details)

 

15.02 10h; Comment booster le système immunitaire de votre enfant en hiver at Bibi Café (details)

15.02, 18h-20h; Disco enfants, ice rink Carouge (details)

 

16.02, Disco sur Glace, Vernets (details)

 

17.02; 10h; yoga for kids at MEG by Espace Colibri (details)

 

20.02, 15h; activities for ages 5+ at MEG (details)

 

24.02; 11h; Visites dansées for ages 3-5 at MEG (details)

24.02, 11 h& 14h & 17h, Petit Ours Brun, Theatre du Leman. (details)

 

27.02, 10h30; activities for ages 3-5 at MAH (details)

27.02, 15h; activities for ages 6-10 at MAH (details)

MUSEUM EXPOSITIONS

This month be sure to visit:

Roulez les Mecaniques -> details.

Tender is the night, bilingual -> details.

Faites comme chez nous -> bilingual details.

Expolarcentre (and their workshops not listed above) -> details.

Ariana Museum is always a good choice as is MAH, MEG, MAMCO, Centre d’Art Contemporain – their kid’s activities are all listed above.

LIBRARIES

2.02, 14h; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Couleurs d’hiver (details)

2.02, 11h; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Lire et relire (details)

6.02, from 10h; Bibliothèque de Paquis, Lire avec son Bebe (details)

6.02, 15h30; Espace le 4e, Scratch (details)

9.02, 15h; Bibliothèque Eaux-Vives, L’invitée du mois : Fanny Dreyer (details)

9.02, 15h; Bibliothèque de Saint-Jean, Tâne petit âne en chemin (details)

9.02, 17h15; Bibliothèque Servette; Le Dernier Loup (details)

9.02, 17h15; Bibliothèque Servette, L’incroyable voyage (details)

12.02, 16h40; Bibliothèque de la Cité, Les nids d’oiseaux (details)

13.02, 14h30; Bibliothèque Servette, Couleurs nature (details)

13.02, 15h; Espace le 4e, jeux video (details)

16.02, 14h; Bibliotheque Servette, Les mains dans la terre (details)

20.02, 15h; Bibliothèque Jonction, La vie fascinante des animaux (details)

20.02, 10h30; Bibliothèque de Saint-Jean, Prête-moi ton oreille (details)

26.02, 17h; Bibliothèque Jonction, 30 minutes numériques (details)

THEATER

2-3.02, 7+, Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève, Tropinzuste (details)

2.02, 15h, Plan les Ouates, “Au Royaume de Zombly” for ages 4+, free entry, reservations needed. (details here)

3.02, 10.02, 17.02, Théâtre AmStramGram, 4+, “La Brioche des Mioches” (details)

6-17.02, Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève, 4+, “La Fille, la sorciere, et le fer a bricelets” (details)

6-10.02, Simply Theater, 3+, Storyteller Storyteller (details).

8-10.02, Théâtre AmStramGram, 9+, “Les Tactiques du Tic Tac” (details).

FEBRUARY CAMPS

Museomix and AMusEn (in Plan les Outaes, for kids age 8-12) – details.

Gymboree Geneva – details.

Bricks for Kidz – details.

Future Kids – details.

Espace Colibri – details.

Spell Languages – details.

Gymboree Geneva

Gymboree Geneva

Photo credits: Gymboree Geneva. (all pictures in this article).

A few weeks ago I was invited with Z to visit a familiar place that we had not been to in a while, a place beloved by us both; Gymboree Geneva. As soon as we entered, the familiar smell of babies and sounds of happiness brought back my memories of joy and exhaustion from the first years of motherhood.

Our story

Back then, when Z was little, my French was limited by a massive lack of confidence, and I did not know many other local parents, so when a friend told me about a play centre for English-speakers I didn’t think twice. Z was eight months old, and with each passing month I felt more lonely and addicted to my phone (and the mom-friends I chatted to within it). To cut a long story short, Gymboree Geneva ended my misery. I met my best friend in Gymboree, Z met her best friend there as well, and we learnt songs that we still sing today!

Gymboree Geneva

Located in Grand-Saconnex, Gymboree is a large soft-space area with many fun obstacle courses for babies and toddlers. It also offers several types of classes, including sensory, music, art, play&learn, for a multitude of ages, and there is a free COFFEE MACHINE!

And that is not all – there is also a preschool, the possibility to organise a birthday party within its soft, colourful interior, and countless occasions to hug a giant plush clown called Gymbo. Oh, and my first children’s book “ABC Geneva” is available in the little Gymboree boutique!

Gymbo himself

If, at first, you feel like it sounds a little bit like joining a sect who pray to a colourful clown, don’t worry, you’re probably not the only one (at least I hope I was not the only one!). Sitting in a circle each week with Gymbo sat front and centre, singing songs about him and to him, and then taking turns to kiss him might sound disturbing at first. Don’t worry though; it will pass, and soon you will be thankful for meeting Gymbo, his role in making your kid happy, and for a bigger circle of friends who will love to chat about diapers, sleepless nights, and developmental milestones.

It’s funny, now that I have written this it does feels even more like a sect, but a pretty damn good one: Gymbo the clown – The Savior of Parents.

PLAY GYM

What I love most about Gymboree is that even if you enrol only for one class per week, you still have access to the play area during the “free-play” hours called “Play Gym” (which is offered 2-3 times a week). This alone is brilliant during wet and cold months, or when you just need your child to let off some energy while you have a well-deserved (and still hot) coffee or tea.

I remember times when my new parent-friends and I, after a sleepless night, would take turns to keep an eye on the kids while some others chilled with one eye closed in the corner, fuelled by coffee and biscuits. It became our refuge, almost like Starbucks has done for a teenager eager to get out of the house.

The village

Gymboree definitely helped me create my own village (and I am sure we all agree that it takes a village to raise a kid, or us parents go nuts!). It was there that I met women without whom Parentville would never have come to life. It also helped me to speak English with ease, a bonus that we were not aware of, not we did we expect.

YOUR SOCKS

So, if you have a child or children to care for and are looking for a place to have both a coffee and an enclosed play area for the kids, Gymboree is THE place.  

There is just one thing left to do: put on your socks. Yes, socks! – Because you can only enter the soft-space with socks on. Learn from my mistake, and make sure you have socks on both feet, preferably the same pair, and without holes. Although Gymboree has thought of that and has some spares readily available for those days when even getting two socks on your own feet seems like a challenge.

If you would like to know more about Gymboree or my experience there let me know in the comments, send me an email or even a pigeon will work (just let me know what I need to feed it, and if it, too requires socks).

FEBRUARY CAMP WITH MUSEOMIX AND AMUSEN

FEBRUARY CAMP WITH MUSEOMIX AND AMUSEN

This one is for all of you looking for a February camp and those who wish a kids museum existed in Geneva!

Wouldn’t it be nice if kids were more involved in the creation of places destined for them? If we let them talk, be part of the decision process, not only will the world become more kid-friendly but more importantly we will raise a generation of responsible, innovative young people that know they’re voices matters!

Since Z was born, Geneva has been becoming more and more kid-friendly. So many places and initiatives have been started or launched! Among them the absolute best – AMusEn!

http://amusen.ch/en/AMusEn – Association pour un Musee des Enfants dans la region genevoise (Association for a Children’s Museum in the Geneva area).

AMusEn will be a museum for kids that will be created in Plan-les-Ouates. The founders have been inspired by kids museums already existing in the world. While travelling with their children, they discovered great places and started to think of creating something similar in the Geneva region. Thanks to their hard work, it will soon become a reality!

Amusen will be focused on kids, created with kids in mind. The title of the permanent exposition will be “Switzerland – a Country of Diversity”. It will address topics such as environment, economy, history, sport, arts, politics, demography, and more.

I am sure it will be a great place to prepare us for the Swiss nationality test 😉

THE CAMP

To be sure the museum will be a place kids like, AMusEn partnered up with MeseoMix to organise a brilliant “hackathon” winter camp for children aged 8-12. Special offers await families in a more difficult financial situation, so please do contact them if you need help – they are welcoming all kids no matter the economic status of the family.

During this camp, kids will imagine and create prototypes of games and installation they would like to see in a museum of their dreams. They will be using traditional materials (paper, scissors, glue, video) and modern technologies (animations, robotics, programming).

But it is not only art and hard-skills that will be the focus of this camp. Collaboration, problem-solving, co-creation, and innovation are the soft-skills they will work on as well.

After these five creative days, their prototypes will become an exposition opened to the public for a weekend in La Julienne.

DETAILS

 

FOR WHO:

Children from 8 to 12 years old (few months difference is ok)

 

WHERE:

Salle communale de Plan-les-Ouates

3, Route des Chevaliers-de-Malte

1228 Plan-les-Ouates

 

WHEN

18-22 February, 8h00-18h15 (activities from 9h00 till 17h00)

 

COST

380 CHF per child (10% off for 2 kids, 15% off for 3 kids).

Lunch, and 2 snack times included.

!!! If you are in a difficult financial situation please contact Jehanne Zaki (+41 76 388 80 39), to find out about special reductions Amusen and MuseoMix can offer your family.

 

LINKS

About the camp: click here.

AMusEn: click here.

MuseoMix: click here.

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Christmas gifts from Geneva

Is there any better period of the year to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses?

For the past few months, I have discovered many great projects started by women from our region. I can’t keep them to myself anymore!

This Christmas list includes presents mostly for children, but you will also find ideas to please other members of your family!

Socks for the whole family! Created by a Belgian mama in Geneva! Parentville family personally tested the socks: approved by Z, Daddy P, and myself. They are warm; they are comfy; they are soft. You can purchase them online here or for example in Bibi Cafe in Meyrin. An important notice: you won’t find any plastic in your parcel!

Created by the peaceful family, Bizzy is a beautifully designed, and a handy gadget with a meaning. It has been created for kids: to limit the screen time, teach about savings, and get families closer together. But at Parentville we are testing Bizzy not only with Z. Mommy O. also needs to work on screen time limits, though I do it another way around. Instead of using the coins to allow myself screen-time, I use them to set up off-screen moments – until it buzzes I do not look at no screens. So far, we’re happy (and spend more meaningful time together).

BOOKS

Something for everyone! This year was massive for local books! Three guides appeared on the market and they are all about Geneva: one for gourmands (“Aimer Genève“), one for kids (“ABC Geneva“), one for parents (Genève en famille).

We are making small steps towards a more eco-friendly home: more recycling, thoughtful shopping, all that stuff. On that planet-saving journey, I stumbled upon the Spirited Child, an eco-friendly online shop run by a mom in Zurich. So yes, not exactly from the region, but still close. I ordered BeesWax wraps and am so thrilled with them! No more foil. They are reusable, cute, and smell great! You can also find many other sustainable home products, including toys on spiritedchild.ch.

Magali aka Groseille is a local artist, who creates the most beautiful drawings inspired by nature and flowers (on tote bags, pocket mirrors, badges, etc.). She is also the author of the “Les Petasses” – a calendar with a provocative name (“petasse” means “bitch”) filled with charming drawings of women.

Many children, though especially those 3k/immigrants/expat children do not see their families a lot, other than on the screen on the phone (and thank godness for this valuable screen time!). This is why Monika has created My Tiny Prints, where you can order board books and a wooden memory game with photographs of your relatives in them. We can’t wait to finally choose pictures for the memory game for Z. I will keep you posted.

We had a pleasure to play one of the Escape Game Kit’s sets recently, and we had a blast. I bet someone more artsy-craftsy and creative could turn the whole house into a play area. I did the minimum, but still, Z was crazy excited to solve the puzzle and all the riddles. You need a printer, scissors, and glue, plus  40-60 minutes to prepare the game. It’s not another box, not another toy, it’s an experience you can enjoy as a family, or a cool activity for a playdate or birthday party. Check them out here. PS: by the end of 2019 all games should be translated to English.

Maria created this Montessori-inspired collection that can please babies, older kids, parents, and midwives. Her creations are cute and filled with love. Objects that will awake baby’s senses, objects to help older kids be autonomous, or hand-made breastfeeding covers for those who need them. #parentvillerecommended. You can find all Maria’s creations on her website and on Instagram.

LE PETIT CARIBOU

Le Petit Caribou (eng. little reindeer) is an exceptional shop with thoughtfully selected toys. No matter on what you decide, it will be a good choice. You can also experience a private shopping service with them – they come to your house to asses which toys and games will match your kids taste the most. In other words, it can be fun family time with a person who knows more about the toys than the kids themselves!

 

CULLY CULLY

A local brand of pins, tote bags, but also colouring posters, stickers passports, and travel maps are known under the brand of “mylittleswitzerland”. Some of the sets are accompanied by one of the best brands of crayons worldwide, that happen to come from Geneva – Caran d’Ache. It can make for a beautiful Christmas present, as well as entertainment for your end-of-the-year trip. Discover here.